At the end of November 2008, my ex-husband kicked me out of our apartment. Before doing so, he took my dog and my cat to my mother’s house and said his good-byes to them and left. Soon after, I joined my boys at my mother’s house.
Mom has a dog. Gabriel. He is a Maltese and it’s always (in his life) been just him and mom.
Enter me, Barkley, and Jack. Barkley seemed to be the only one that Gabriel didn’t detest. Who knows why? Maybe because they were both dogs, white dogs? Gabriel detested me but, I believe, recognized that I am much, much larger than he is so his attacks on me were subtle – peeing on everything I owned was the favorite.
And then there was Jack. Jack is not much, much larger than Gabriel thus making him fair game. Now Jack has never been on the prey side of the predator/prey relationship. When Barkley joined our family, Jack was fully grown and Barkley could fit in the palm of my hand. Thus the dominance was established.
And Barkley LOVES Jack. They would play and have a great time together. The only rivalry was for my attention and even then there was no hostility, merely a race to see who could get to me first and smother me with love. Most often, Jack would step back and allow Barkley to win these races and he would give me this look. The look said – He can have you now but we will have our special time together later.
Well, mom’s house is crowded and it was difficult for Jack to make some places his own. But he did manage. He claimed the window sill in my bedroom and the back of the recliner in the living room. But the trek between the two was a dangerous one because if Gabriel spotted him, the chase was on.
Now, Jack is a cat. He won’t get caught if he doesn’t want to. And he didn’t. But the pursuit worried me nonetheless. So we tried to keep Jack in the bedroom with the door shut most of the time. And he, honestly, didn’t seem to mind much. But on occasion, he would sneak out to wander.
Well, one night I was in my room reading with the door closed. Suddenly, I heard the sounds of a pursuit. The distant barking getting closer. The newspapers in the hallway (Gabriel doesn’t really like to potty outside) crinkling under paws. And then a resounding THUD. I looked around and there was no Jack. I ran to the door and there he was at the door. When Gabriel saw me, the chase ended and he retreated but there was Jack at the door looking up at me like – Woman, why would you close the damn door? He looked a little dazed and I picked him up. Imagine all the speed that keeps a cat from getting caught propelling you full force in to a door. I was distraught.
I love that cat and could not allow him to be tormented. This was much different from the games Jack would play with Barkley. Jack did not seem to be enjoying himself at all. Something had to change.
But I was basically unemployed, still recovering from the stroke, totally broke, and overall in a bad way. My options were limited.
So I reached out to those who never let me down. I sent an email to my friends asking if anyone could foster my Jack until a better living arrangement came about.
Enter my amazing friend Jen.
Now, Jen doesn’t really like cats. Definitely more of a dog person. And most of our lives, Jen was terribly allergic to felines but somehow age has helped that ailment. And even though Jen was going through her own difficult struggles, she offered her home to my cat. Knowing this was truly a sacrifice for Jen and a terrible burden, I promised to try to find an alternative as soon as I could. But she insisted that it was all good and I needn’t worry.
And then the test came. How would her 4-year-old son like Jack?
As it turned out, Harwood adores Jack. Jen had to keep reminding him that Jack wasn’t always going to stay with them, that he would return to Ms. Missy’s house at some point. When Jen demonstrated to me the look on Harwood’s little 4-year-old face when he acknowledged that fact, my heart broke.
So I casually mentioned that Jack could stay there as long as it was okay.
I love that cat; don’t get me wrong. He’s been a part of my family since February 1999. But how can you break the heart of a 4-year-old? It’s not in me. And Jack is happy there. Sure, I think he misses me when he thinks of me but I know he loves Jen and Harwood. You can’t help but love these two.
So anyway, that’s the story of Jack’s new home.
Jen describes Jack’s introduction to their family in her blog here
She’s so funny and a great writer! You’ve got to check it out.
Thank you, Jen and Harwood, for taking Jack in, saving him, and loving him so much!
In loving memory of my sweet Jack