Everybody Loves Liam

For one thing he has the most expressions of any dog in my experience! Abashed, happy, loving, worried, nervous, hopeful, playful, the aggressor, sneaky, willing, ready, pick me! With the exception of getting his nails trimmed or going to the vet, there isn’t anything he isn’t ready for. He knows he’s special and he doesn’t lord it over – the others trust him to tell them when I’m doing anything related to a walk or feeding. Even though sometimes I try to trick them, he never does. He always shares what he sees and knows. All the dogs love him too.

I had been wanting a Jack Russell for years – I’m not afraid of Difficult! Paula and our vet – we were on the Vineyard – both said they would divorce me if I attracted a Jack into my life. So whenever I saw one – on the ferry, in an ad, on a leash – I craned my neck, listened intently, stared lovingly. On the ferry once when I wasn’t along, Paula saw this man who said he had just lost his Jack of 17 years. Paula asked how he felt and was so gratified and happy to tell me he said he felt great relief. She thought that would do it.

We were in the book store – Bunch of Grapes, great bookstore on the Vineyard or off – she came walking toward me with a small book, she was triumphant. Showing me the page where it said ” A Jack Russell can NEVER be around cats. They will ALWAYS harm them,” she thought she’d found the ultimate foil for Jacks in our lives. Cats in our household come first, no questions. I don’t argue that cats come first, but I didn’t believe the book’s version.

So one Sunday morning in winter both Paula and I wake up with the fear that a horse we had just sold was being mistreated. He is a beautiful Fresian who turned out to be way too wide for Paula’s failing hips. We had practically given him away in order to make sure he would have a good home! We ate hurridly – and we love Sunday brunch – bundled the girls into the car – they love to sleep on Sundays – and sped over to the barn. We parked the car and steeled ourselves for anything. Well, almost.

What we saw was our beloved horse Goliath under two long heating lights getting groomed and his mane washed. We practically pile into each other, so forcefully forward is our aim and he raises his nose, says, “check out the third stall behind you on the left.”

We wheel around, look over the side of the stall to find three baby Jack Russells. Chandrika pours into the stall, picks one up and says, “this is my baby sister who died in the orphanage!” He is the only male and handsome as can be. On the way home we name him Liam for he has come to the Island from Ireland by way of Declan, the trainer at the stable who, in visiting his mother once a year, has brought the best of the breed to Martha’s Vineyard.

He is my True Companion and we are all still together and still friends with the Vineyard vet! Liam is the great communicator – he does perhaps bark a bit much – and friend to all.

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