Every dog is special. Special talents, special qualities, an interesting personality or... JD rescued.
Meeting JD was no accident because Willy found him for us. We were playing fetch in the yard at my parents, a game Willy loved to play endlessly until your arm was sore and you were unable to throw anymore and then he'd go find someone else to play with. Suddenly, nose in the air, Willy went off at a run and I followed. Marg saw me running after him and came to see. I went around the corner and there was Willy, nose to nose with JD's father and there was JD's mother, his sisters and brother, and JD himself.
Fortunately, all the dogs quickly made friends with each other through copious sniffing, tail wagging and nose licking.
JD. One hundred percent Golden Retriever, people lover, yard protector and rescuer. Willy insisted we bring JD home despite my wanting to veto the whole affair―he appealed to a higher authority and Marg wrote the check. JD came home with us and he was not one day older than six weeks. As far as puppies go, he rated high on the cuteness factor and I was unable to put my foot down (out of fear of stepping on the little bugger.)
Willy took JD under his own personal wing and began teaching his protege immediately, including how to sit on the very day we brought him home. Waiting for his dog biscuit, Willy looked over at JD and saw him standing there, so Willy put his paw on JD's rump and sat him down, then looked up at Marg and wagged his tail.
"Okay Mama! He's sitting now! Cookie please!"
JD learned fast with Willy teaching him. He learned how to steal Willy's cookies, drink from the water dish between Willy's legs, munch the Big Guy's food or use him for a pillow. JD would play with Willy until he dropped and then that is exactly what he did. He'd be running for another attack on Willy's ankles and just stop, plop and sleep.
JD grew and began to show an amazing quality that made him especially special. He rescued.
Willy was a powerful swimmer. He always swam as if in a race for the finish whether in a current, in a wind, against high waves breaking over his face or through skim ice on the marsh. He would even dive to the bottom to retrieve some accidentally dropped object (and sometimes objects no one knew were there but him.)
JD was the complete opposite. He only entered the water from shore, rarely got his face wet and swam with the grace of a synchronized water ballet. His tail would gently sway back and forth in rhythm with his swimming.
If we were swimming in the lake and went too far, he would come out and get us. Swim out, nudge us and whine and even take our hand gently in his mouth and tug.
"Come on Mike. Come back to the dock to the shore. It's too deep out here and I can only see your head and you should come back right now. Right now come on. Please? Here hang on to me, I'll save you. I will!"
If he came out to get you, he would continually look back to make sure you were following and if you stopped, he went back for you. In this he never failed. You could hang onto his collar and he would tow you all the way back to shore. If you let go of his collar, he would immediately circle around so you could grab on again.
On the Fourth of July, he was terrified of the fireworks. Absolutely, hide under the couch or the bed or the end-table or under MJ Terrified with a capital Tee. If I went outside to watch the fireworks or smoke, he would come out and literally drag me back inside. Being outdoors on the Fourth was impossible around here because from sun up to sun up, the fireworks go off and JD refused to allow any family member the chance of being blown up by some errant sparkler, bottle rocket or nuclear missile.
Even though we never really needed rescuing, JD thoroughly disagreed and made sure we made it safely back to shore or into the house or away from whatever danger he perceived. We never discouraged this and always thought that someday, JD would rescue someone.
JD was about four or five when friends went with us to the family cabin and brought along their German Short-haired Pointer. Maggie. Maggie was a pretty dog, half the size of JD and like most males, he was fascinated by the pretty girl. Maggie didn't want much to do with JD, but he was hard to ignore.
We were standing on the dock and Willy was playing fetch with himself (a story for another day) and we were all talking and just enjoying the cool lake air and late afternoon sunshine. Someone decided that Maggie should go for a swim, something that she'd never had a chance to do before. Maggie appeared to want to jump in the water with Willy, but was reluctant and after much failed encouragement, she was helped.
This turned out to be a mistake. Maggie was immediately disorientated and swam in circles. Despite calling her and trying to help her from the dock, the poor dog continued swimming in circles and was gradually getting further from shore and from the dock. We did not yet have a boat in the water and I prepared to go in after the dog who, after ten minutes or so of frantic paddling in circles, was beginning to tire.
I was about to take my shoes off when JD decided it was time to end the whole fiasco. He went in (from shore, of course) and swam out to Maggie. He swam a circle around her and nudged her, then headed back to shore. The first time, Maggie did not follow and JD went back for her. This time Maggie followed and JD made sure she followed every inch of the way.
They climbed out of the water together and Maggie ran to her owner. JD proceeded to show off by rolling in the dirt, and then running to show Maggie, who was still unimpressed.
Finally, JD had his chance to go on a real rescue and he performed with flying colors, fur and water droplets, along with enough dirt in his fur to ensure several hours of coat brushing in addition to plenty of treats and even more importantly, copious praise. JD was our rescue puppy, but we were not the rescuers. That was his job.
A true story by MJ Logan
All photographs by Michael or Margaret Williams.
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