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Jack died this past Thursday in the early hours of the morning. A windstorm raged through the area, causing damage and power outages. Soon after midnight, lying next to his owner on the bed, as the storm raged, Jack died. My friend, his owner, had her arm over his chest and at the same time the power went out, Jack's great heart stopped beating.


Jack was a border collie. Even though he wasn't mine, I loved him as though he were mine. I can't picture a world without Jack, but then I couldn't picture a world without his father, Pete, or his sister Flick.


The children who grew up around him, now grieve, as they would the death of a sibling. In the wake of his death, Jack's left a lot of broken hearts. His owner held him years ago, in the same house, as he took his first breath. She held him a couple of days ago as he took his last.


Jack was larger than life. He was handsome, personable and drew attention wherever he went. Between his looks and personality, he had quite a fan club, and once he met someone, he never forgot them.


Jack was the benevolent ruler in the household, even to the end, and dogs coming in knew it. The only one Jack ever conceded to was Pete, his father. My friend and I would watch in amazement each time Jack would lick Pete's muzzle. No other male dog did he ever do that with.


Jack, who was a split-faced boy, went to work early. Once, when he was 9 weeks old, he got loose from where he was tied up in a pasture when he saw a yearling bull a ways off. He made his way toward the bull and when he got close his 9 week old puppy body hunkered down as stylish as any border collie and backed that bull down, this pup, who looked like a cartoon character, a fraction of the size of the bull. And that was Jack for the rest of his life.


My friend's granddaughter lived with her for a while. Jack was her friend, her nursemaid. My friend found them one time together in Jack's crate, sharing a hot dog. Jack thumped his tail when my friend asked them what they were doing. This kid, who now lives in another state with her family, is taking the loss of her childhood companion pretty hard.


Jack was the most like his father Pete. Shortly after Petey's death 4 years ago, I went to visit my friend. I was still numb from the loss of Pete. When I walked into her home, Jackie boy ran up to greet me. I stopped, just for a moment, sort of had a lapse of reality. When Jack ran up to me, I almost thought that it was Pete, that his death was a cruel joke of some sort. I knelt down an hugged an ecstatic Jack. I guess Pete did live on in him, in a way.


It was around that time that my friend had some pretty serious surgery after which she was sent to a nursing facility for a couple of months. When asked what she wanted, the only thing she asked for was to see her Jackie boy. They got the clearance to bring him. A relative brought Jack in. Jack was the image of dignity and manners, but when he saw his owner, it momentarily gave way to ecstatic joy when he realized who was in the room. But Jack knew the difference between the times for acceptable behavior and for wild and joyous abandon. They had a wonderful reunion that day.


My friend, who has had heart problems in the past relied on Jack in the management of a small flock of sheep. One ram tended to get particularly nasty. He cornered her one day. She was frail and didn't have a lot of strength, but she had Jack. She called Jack just once and he was there, backed the ram away and back into the barn.


In rereading this, I realize that words just don't do it, or at least it's not in my capacity to bring to life, with words, this remarkable dog. There is so much more to Jack. My friend could flesh out a description, but even so --- you'd would have had to have known Jack --- and Flick and Pete. I know too well the grief my friend is working through right now. It's beyond pet. It's beyond even dog. It's two souls intertwined. I know because I had the same with Pete and Flick. We've both lost our "go to" dogs. She told me today, she feels like she lost an arm, when she lost Jack. I'm not surprised. I felt the same when Flick died. And as much as I'd like to think that maybe someday ..... but for me, I feel that I lucked out not just once, but twice with two heart dogs. And my friend, well, she'll never have another Jack. Thing is, what my friend and I shared with these dogs of ours, death can never take away.


They'll live on forever in our hearts, our memories, and the hearts and memories of those whose lives they've touched. That's more than you can say for a lot of people.


Rest in Peace, Jackie boy. You were my best boy too.


8 wk old Jack:


with daddy Pete:



Jack relaxing on a summer afternoon:




There is also a book that came out a few years ago -- The Working Border Collie by Marjorie Quarton. Jack is on page 165 of that book, as an adorable 9 week old pup.

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I can hardly believe that it was only a year ago this past month that my friend and I took the old timers, Jack, Flick and Sligo for a winter run in the park. Who would have known that less than a year later, two would be gone. We've got some great memories from that day. I'm glad we did it.



Jack from that February day a year ago:






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I'm so sorry for your loss. Jack was a beautiful dog, inside and out.


I think I understand how you're feeling. When my friend's Golden was dying, she called me one day to come over for moral support. As I walked in the door, Angel came running to greet me (she hadn't moved in days), and I got down on the floor with her and stroked her fur and talked softly to her, tears streaming down my face. I even got her to eat a little food. I loved that dog as if she were mine and when she died a few days later, my heart ached. They touch our lives in so many ways, even the ones that aren't "ours."


Rest in peace Jack. And peace to you too.

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Fare ye well, Jack.


He was a stellar dog. Give your friend a hug from me and get hers in return. Losing our great old dogs is so hard. Unfortunately, it's the price we pay for having them so long.


But nothing can take those memories away -- and in Jack's case, those beautiful images. Thanks so much for sharing them.

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thank you Vicki.


I can hardly write for the tears in my eyes. He really was a beautiful boy, both inside and out. He also had a tremendous sense of humor.


I will miss him forever and ever.




You're welcome Donna. I was bawling too, as I wrote that. You know what I think is interesting? The fact that both Flick and Jack died during or in the direct aftermath of a bad windstorm. There must be a significance in that --- that they both went the way they lived?


Significance or not, I miss them terribly.

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I cannot say, and I will not say

That they are dead - they are just away!

With a meow or bark, and a wag of the tail,

They have wandered off to an unknown vale,

And left us dreaming how very fair

It must be since they linger there.

And you - O you, who the wildest yearn

For the old time step and glad return,

Think of them faring on, as dear

In the love of There as the love of Here;

Think of them still as the same, I say:

They are not dead - they are just away!


Via con dios, Jack.

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I just wanted to add a few things about Jack. He was born in my bedroom. I took him out of the sac and wiped him down with a towel. He fit into the palm of my hand and drew his first breath in my hands. I KNEW in that first instant that he and I would be best friends forever. Thirteen and a half years later, he would die with my hand on his rib cage feeling for a heart beat.

I've had bcs for many many years but none that meant as much to me as Jack did. We were a team and I swear he could read my mind at times.

My daughter called and asked if I remembered the time we were watching " The Shining" ( Steven King movie) and Jack .....at one of the suck your breath in moments , seemed to fly through the air to land up on the couch and huddled against me as if he understood the scarey part had arrived. He was a dog and I KNOW he didn't really understand but it sure seemed like he did sometimes.


My grandaughter, at four years, was very sick once with a fever of 104. She was very lethargic and was on her way to the hospital. She wouldn't respond to us when we talked to her but Jack came to see what was wrong with her and she reached out her arms and clung to him. " Oh Jackie" she said with a smile. He brought that out in people. I know there won't be too many people interested in reading this but it will do me so much good to write about all the great things I experienced with Jack the wonder dog.


I remember once at a herding clinic, Jack went and picked up the instuctors pop can to throw away. It wasn't empty yet and the instructor was not happy. :rolleyes:

I remember when he was a puppy. We were invited to a puppy class that was to be televised. All the women and their pups were sitting on the floor and the pups were allowed to approach any of us and get a dog biscuit for a reward. Jack went two or three people down getting treats at each person but when he saw another pup approaching me to get a treat.......he ran back and chased them off.


I swear that he had a sense of humor.


He didn't like other male dogs , especially if they were strangers but all I would have to do is whisper to him, " don't you even look at that dog" and he would avert his head and not look. Meanwhile his hair stood up on his shoulders until we were well past.


He had so much respect for people. He loved everyone. He had his favorites and would greet them like he was over joyed they were back to see him.

He was such a special dog. I never tried to teach him anything that he couldn't learn.

He wasn't the greatest herding dog but it just didn't matter to me. He wouldn't put on the speed needed to do a good outrun and even with professional help, we just couldn't speed him up. Other than the speed issue........he was willing to do anything I asked of him. He had HEART !


He was gentle with lambs and never bit a sheep that didn't deserve it. And even then.........didn't do any damage to the sheep. He was such a patient, gentle boy.


I wish I could paint a picture of how wonderful and unique a dog he was. I wish I was better with words.

I wish I could have had another 13 yrs. with Jackie boy.

His ashes are coming home tomorrow.

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