This is part 2 of my blog series titled ‘My Canine Companions: A Blog Series’.
CHAPTER TWO: JASPER JONES
Jasper is my 13 year old German Shepherd. He was Scott’s dog (one of my very good friends in Los Angeles, California.) Scott found Jasper one night in the middle of the road. He thought he was hit by a car so he rushed him to the 24 hour emergency animal hospital where he then discovered this dog had not been hit, but shot in the chest instead. Miraculously, the bullet missed all vital organs, so Jasper had a chance. He recovered within a few weeks , but he was imprinted with fear whenever he heard loud noises, such as thunder of fireworks.
Scott lived in Hollywood Hills, but worked in Huntington Beach (about an hour drive depending on traffic), so I would watch Jasper for him during the day at my place. It was great, because he and Emme got along great and she enjoyed having a playmate around. Scott’s work hours increased and the days turned into overnight stays and then into weekend stays. One day, Scott and I sat down and agreed it would be best for Jasper to live with me permanently.
Having two dogs was easy enough. Jasper fit in as if he had been there from day one. He loved to do everything Emme enjoyed; car rides, daily trips to the dog parks, walks, sleeping and of course treats and toys. It was exceptionally nice that Jasper respected Emme’s toys and marrow bone baskets. She had one for every room. The baskets were filled with her favorite toys she had accumulated since she was a young puppy to date. I, of course, replaced the marrow bones with fresh ones periodically. I started a basket for Jasper and even though Emme tried at first to bring all of the contents to her basket, she eventually “got it” that it was Jasper’s basket of fun.
Jasper turned 13 years old this past March and is still very lively. Everyone loves him. He is great with kids of all ages, people and other animals…..even cats! His health is good for a dog his age and so far no problems with hip dysplasia. He gets a bit stiff in his back legs and needs a boost to get in the car, but I think that is just from old age. Just loud noises, as I mentioned above, so I make sure I keep a couple of bottles of “calm pills” around whenever there is a thunderstorm in the forecast. The pills are all natural with the main ingredients being Valerian root, ginger and chamomile. It minimizes effects of stressful situations and seems to work for him and us.
Although Jasper is old in years, I believe my other younger dogs keep him quite youthful. He still participates in playful activities and is always around for cheese….his favorite. My very good friend, Cindi, has a 5 year old daughter named Charlotte (Lotty for short) and Jasper just adores her. When she comes by to visit, he perks up with excitement yet he knows to be gentle with her. It is funny, because Lotty calls Jasper “Jaspert” and even though I corrected her and explained how to pronounce his name, she stuck with Jaspert because she said she liked it better. I find myself calling him that, as well, and I think I may like it better, too! As far as Jasper liking it, it does not matter either way. As long as you have a piece of cheese in your hand, he will answer to any name.
E.L./ June 2011