posted by Michel on Jul 23

Ok, I admit: guilty as charged! We simply couldn’t resist the sweet look on this little guy’s face. But being rational sort of people, there had to be some good reasons to adopt a second dog. So we started thinking. Company for the aging Tessa so that she would be stimulated a little. The chance to practise my recently acquired dog training skills. Give another somewhat older animal a good home. Well, these seemed like pretty convincing reasons at the time. Then came the doubts. But what about our 5 cats? Would they accept the newcomer? Max, the tomcat that was found wandering around the horse riding club that I frequent, is not exactly known for his kindness towards canines. His attitude became apparent when he scratched poor old Tessa over the eye and we had to treat her eye for weeks with a special ointment. Thank God that all turned out well. And how about our trips to the Philippines? It’s a doddle to find a good spot for our ever good and easy Tessa, but how about the new guy. Anyway, after having walked him a few times, tested him with a cat in the shelter where he was staying at the time, and test-driving him for a day in our home (where he didn’t chase the cats!), the decision was made. So here he is, Jackie!! He’s a Jack Russell Terrier that will turn 9 this August. How do I know his age? read on!

Jackie, our latest adoptee

Jackie, our latest adoptee

As nearly always, there’s more to the story. In the shelter (that shall remain nameless) they had told me that although he was chipped, they couldn’t trace his owner because the phone number listed to his chip was never answered or didn’t even work. Hence, after two weeks in the shelter, he formally became their “property” (I hate that concept) and thus available for adoption. So, after taking the little chap home, I wanted te re-register the chip to my name. Here in the Netherlands, there are a number of databases of these chips but fortunately there’s one web site that unites them all. I tapped in Jackie’s number (we were still calling him “Neo” at that time by the way) on the web site’s form and hey presto, a couple of mobile phone numbers AND the name “Jackie” popped up on the screen. “Hmmm, two numbers”, I thought, well it probably wouldn’t hurt to just try them, what the heck!

The first number was already BINGO! Here’s the conversation:

Me: “Hi there, this is Michel. I’m a volunteer for an animal shelter. I have here on the couch right next to me a Jack Russell Terrier …”
Lady: “That must be Jackie!”
Me: “Jackie. [as I said that name, Jackie's head turned towards me immediately, so I knew right away that was his real name] Yes, that’s the name the chip is registered with. So why didn’t you pick him up from the shelter or tried to find him some other way. He was there for 2 full weeks!”
Lady: “Well, he’s run away from home so many times, we decided that if he wanted to go, he should go. And he’s always come back so far.”
Me (astonished): “But, but, have you any idea where they found him?”
Lady: “Nope”
Me: “He was wandering around in a Metro train all by himself!!!”
Lady: “That’s not all that surprising really. One day we had to pick him up all the way from Schiedam.” (some 15km away from where she said she lives).
Me: “Well ok, but he’s officially mine now, so what do you want to do?”
Lady: “Well errrr, to be quite honest we had already started to say our goodbye and with two small children I guess he didn’t get all the attention that he needs here.”
Me: “I can imagine that is why he kept running off. He was probably in search of a bit of entertainment.”
Lady: “Yes, well we do miss him of course. We had him since he was a puppy. But you might as well keep him then, he seems better off with you” …

After that we chatted a bit more about his age, habits etc. and then I politely terminated the conversation. Imagine that eh! Looking after such a nice little fellow for 9 (!!!) years since he was a puppy and then simply lose interest … How often do you think this sort of stuff happens? I can picture the scenario right now. A guy gets a dog because he feels lonely. Then he meets a nice young lady and they get married. Too young still to have kids they wait for a few years, but as soon as kids (almost inevitably) arrive, there’s no more room for their little pal. How sad!!!

Admittedly, the shelter should have done their homework a bit better. If I can find a phone number that works first time, so should they. Having said that, perhaps the rightful owners would have picked him up and he would have felt compelled to run off again after a while. Perhaps he would have ended up in a far worse situation in that case, who knows?

Fortunately, Jackie has found a nice new home now. He’s turned out to be very playful for his age and he’s an incredibly cheerful animal. So far, he’s learned to respect the cats, ESPECIALLY Max ;-) and he’s been friendly towards Tessa who indeed has livened up. Welcome home Jackie!

Tessa and Jackie

Neressa, Tessa and Jackie on the beach

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