Once upon a time there was a boy
Justus, the wonder dog!
If memory serves, we immediately went up to the guy with the dogs and asked how to get one. I mean immediately. We would’ve done anything to give Jacob that feeling and foster that language. Turns out all you need to do is have most of your providers draft and submit letters to the board of directors at the dog training service for approval. Turns out it takes 14-16 months to train a dog and they don’t just hand them out to anyone. If you’re approved, you have to pay thousands of dollars for the dog. Then, spend twelve hours at the training center learning how to properly treat and command the beast. Once that’s done, four more hours are spent with dog and boy, making sure you can handle them both together. For the grand finale, you have to pass a public access test with the dog at the mall. Undaunted, we went for it. Success!
Justus and Jake became fast friends. Justus wears the harness, follows the commands, and Jake stays tethered to Justus. Jake was a huge flight risk and being tied to a 100 pound dog who would actually listen when spoken to was such a treat.
Over the years, Jake became calmer, less flight-risky, and Justus became utilized less and less. Don’t get me wrong, he still serves his purpose, but not as daily as before.
Annie, wacky redhead.
It’s the weirdest thing, but …
Jake loves Annie and Justus in much the same way I love my children. Each is different, each brings something very different to the table, but I can’t imagine life without them. Jake is completely nuts for his dogs. They’re the missing pieces that he was looking for. He mauls them, takes them for walks around the block, shares his movies with them, and even tries to get them to sleep on his bed. On this, he’s marginally successful. They both prefer to sleep on the floor in my room.
our two dogs came into our lives in very different ways, for very different reasons. They’re as opposite as two dogs can be, but are alike in that they love their boy. Jake needs to wear these Winchester shooting headphones to help him with the onslaught of sensory overload. One evening Jake was sitting on the couch and put a second pair of headphones on Annie. She handled it pretty well, so we got the idea to take the lot of them into the yard to stage the above photo. True to form, Justus ‘took it like a man’, and Annie was squirming so much I had to take eight shots to get one I liked.
They love their boy differently, too. Justus was trained to be a perfect pet. He goes about it in a controlled manner, stoic and safe. If we got to the beach, Justus acts like a border collie shepherding his flock. Jake can’t get too far away before Justus reigns him back in. Whether he’s wearing his harness or not, Justus is always working where Jake’s concerned. Annie is smitten. It’s the best way to describe it. He’ll pick up her front legs and ‘dance’ with her, move her mouth to make her talk, press down on the center of her forehead (why, I don’t know), and she just soaks him in.