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First few pages of the Book

Jack the Dog: And His Boy

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Table of Contents

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Foreword

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………

1.         The Story Begins in the Middle……………………………………………………

2.         Sticks, Stones, and Hearts………………………………………………………….

Stick, by, a Dog……………………………………………………………..

3.         Magic Night………………………………………………………………………………

Sweet River……………………………………………………………………

4.         Saved!……………………………………………………………………………………..

5.         Saved, Tables Turned………………………………………………………………..
His Heart………………………………………………………………………..

6.         Jack and Baseball: Out of the Park………………………………………………

7.         Jack and Baseball: Dog and Boy Baseball…………………………………….

8.         Bad Dogs and Good: Among the Wolves………………………………………

Once a Wolf…………………………………………………………………..

9.         Bad Dogs and Good: The General’s Last Stand…………………………….

10.         Things Unstoppable…………………………………………………………………..

The Truth Is…………………………………………………………………..

11.         Un BEARRR-able!……………………………………………………………………..

The One Question………………………………………………………….

12.         Brian’s Story Begins…………………………………………………………………..

The Nose that Knows………………………………………………………

13.         Dark Winter………………………………………………………………………………

Measure of Time…………………………………………………………….

14.         No Christmas, Only Winter…………………………………………………………

No Trespassers!…………………………………………………………….

Oracle to Self…………………………………………………………………

15.         Let Go……………………………………………………………………………………..

Resolution……………………………………………………………………..

16.         The Edge of Time: Two Seconds…or less……………………………………………………………….

17.         The Edge of Time: The Drawing…………………………………………………………………………….

Over……………………………………………………………………………..

18.         The Edge of Time: The Last Chapter and the First……………………………………………………

Come to Me…………………………………………………………………..

Author’s Note………………………………………………………………………………………

Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………….

How the ever expanding book projects work …………………………………………..

Ways to Participate………………………………………………………………………………

Acknowledgments………………………………………………………………………………..

Other Works …………………………………………………………………………………….

Website and contact information……………………………………………………………………….

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There is no malice in the heart of a puppy. May you believe in his kind of heart and truly discover what every good dog already sees in you!

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“I am certain beyond all comprehension, that true love never dies, it only waits for you.”

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The Story Begins in the Middle

The story was too good for the world to miss. Occurrences like this are far too important, they should never go unnoticed, but often do. The boy did not know it, but his future and even yours, was hanging in the balance, it looked like an ordinary day. It was not.

A big yellow bus wound around the back roads of the countryside. In it sat a weary little boy who watched as first one then another stepped off of the bus; a pretty blond tow headed girl who walked like a cowboy, a gabby little boy whose words weighed more than he did, a bully, the school-wide famous jock, several sets of farm boys, and a tiny girl with a toothless smile. The ride jolted on and on enough to wear out any rider, but then came the more familiar home stretch; up one small sharp hill and down the next, a series of tummy warming dips proved the driver was rushing to finish his final stop. It must have been quite an effort to slow down such a large vehicle, the screeches where long and deep. The dust rolled up and over the back, a flopping of doors, a bouncy sounding squeak, and out stepped the boy. He was worn from the day, and drained from the noisy transport. I know all this well. That young boy was me.

A step off the bus, and in a split second, a roar of the engine carried the lone driver over the next big hill. Very soon it was quiet, all that was left was swirling dust. I turned to walk up the long driveway, relieved to be done with school for the rest of the day. I wondered what this day would bring. Little did I know that it would be a beginning of sorts, larger than I could ever imagine.

I cannot explain that day, was it one particular moment or a hundred of them rolled into one memory? There at the top of the wooded hill waited a creature much bigger than I, but he brought no fear because he was a familiar sentry. Today I would finally see him for who he really was, a loyal friend. Could it be he had waited for me a thousand times before I had really noticed him? I don’t know, but there he was, as always, just waiting for me to see. This was the moment! This was that wondrous, precious moment where real life began. I could finally understand what he hoped to say, it wasn’t with human words, but he spoke loudly and clearly with all his heart….

“It’s you! aha aha” he panted.

“My friend! Oh, oh, it’s you at last. I have waited so long! Oh, come to me; I will come to you,” he panted.

“Oh come to me my friend! ”

I ran to him, he ran to me.

“At last you are home, my friend! ”

A special magic had happened and now I saw that the big black dog had somehow worked his way into my heart.

“Home at last!”

Rolling in deep green clover, his large white teeth, thick black hair.

The two of us were laughing with all we had, so glad, so truly happy.

Two forever friends bonded in timeless joy.

As I now look back, no achievement life had to offer, no victory or accolades of others, could ever be traded for those precious days. It is my hope that somehow I can share those surprising gifts with you. Life has meaningful, priceless secrets. Such treasures could have easily been missed had it not been for one persistent dog, who would not stop hoping that I would call him “my friend”.

In all the years of my childhood I never knew, no, never even imagined a truer friend. If I can tell the story the way it must be told, you too will see there is something more. There is something more than even life itself. A great and wonderful mystery is about to unfold. To be sure, I was one of the luckiest little boys to walk the earth. You see with all the adventures and challenges that life brings, one thing remained constant. It came in the form of a big old black dog named Jack.

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Come to me

Oh, meet me there, at the top of the hill,
where the clover and blossoms so fill,
with scents and memories that hold my heart still.
Come to me, come when you will,
forever, I wait, for the moment until,
you come running to find me, at the top of the hill.

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Sticks, Stones, and Hearts

The stories that have been told about Jack for many years and occasions, really begin in a very quiet way. I was just an eight year old trying to figure life out but Jack was a Retriever. There were no doubts about it, he lived to retrieve. It was his all consuming passion which gradually drew me in. Throw out a stick, and he would run and get it. Toss out the stick again, he would get it, again and again and again. He would wear you out!

“Just one more fetch, I love it, I love it!”

The problem was, you could play fetch forever, you could throw your arm right off, and he would happily go get it. In the beginning Jack was just too much. His enthusiasm would leave arms aching. Besides this, I was not terribly interested in loving another dog. Duke, our first dog, had died not long before we got Jack, and though I was quite young, my plan was not to get very attached to any one pet. It is a dangerous thing; to love.

With a menagerie of small pets, there had already been a long line of funerals. Toilet bowl eulogies were nearly a weekly practice at our household. There were goldfish, guppies, bluegills, turtles, frogs and a toad (one toad was enough), salamanders, spiders and a wide range of odd creatures. Some, like the snakes and mice, got away before their appointed time. Many came and went. Then there was the silky soft bunny, an instant favorite. Real country life is a bit harsh: I was told that we might eat him. In a way it was lucky for me; he died first. Mr. Brown lasted only one summer. I sang a long, low, dirge for the cuddly little guy. A stone marked both his grave site and the point in time at which I determined that I would never again extend my heart so deeply.

“Never again!” Then there was this dog named Jack. I wanted his friendship, but then again I didn’t.

A great test of the Retriever’s passion began with an unexpected show down. We lived way out in the country on a big lake. One cold fall day I was standing in front of the lake when up came Jack in his regular mode. He was carrying a stick, which was one of the ways he would strongly hint that he wanted to play fetch. At the age of eight I had been warned to stay at a safe distance from the lake to keep from drowning. The rule was; if I were to go closer than 6 feet from shore I would need to put on a life jacket. There was no life preserver handy and it was a difficult walk back up the steep hill. I longed to be closer to the lake, so the next best thing came to mind. I took Jack’s stick and gave it a big heave into the distant waters. This was new for me, but not for Jack. The water immediately exploded with Jack’s dashing and smashing. Surely I thought one or two trips swimming back and forth, will utterly exhaust the dog. Jack had never watched the Olympics, but he was more intense than a gold medal winner and his dedication never waned.  Every muscle strained to burst into the water. Spray gushed up as he dashed forward! Finally, another lunge into the deep and he swam to it as though it were a frantic swim meet.

Still to this day when I hear a Retriever’s pounding rush into the water, my heart beats harder, it is an awesome thing of contagious joy. Soon the stick returned to my hand. There is one thing about Retrievers that they never seem to understand: they love the water so much that they cannot imagine how you wouldn’t. With all of the miles of lake shore he chose only one spot to shake off, right next to… boy-master.

“Oh that water’s cold!”

Jack simply loved it. I simply shivered, but the joy of fetch was too wonderful to ignore. I could not resist his excitement. Again I tossed the stick, this time it was as far as I ever could throw.  Again the water exploded. The story repeated itself in what promised to be an endless cycle, as I grew wetter and colder. It became more apparent that even with all that hard swimming Jack was never going to slow down. I looked around trying to consider my options and avoid further drenching. Running away was out of the question I could not quickly move up the steep hill that bordered the lake. In fact if I were not careful, I could stumble and roll backwards into the lake. Then I would really be in trouble, especially if I drowned.  A certain stone caught my eye, and I picked it up as a plan developed. As soon as Jack returned, a split second before the stick dropped in my hand, I threw the stone.

“GOOO Fetch!”

Sure enough it worked great, because without even shaking off Jack turned to mark the splash and dove into the next retrieve. This was when I stopped to think about the stone that now was at the bottom of the lake.  Did you ever do something without really thinking first? I realized that I hadn’t considered what would happen. It was wrong. I tried to call him back, but Jack circled around and around the area, determined to find what I had thrown. He stretched a little higher to look, then turned back at me as if to say, “this was where it landed, it should be floating right here.”

I knew what I had done – stones do not float. I looked down in shame. Then another idea came to mind, I picked up the first stick that he had dropped, but when I looked up, he was gone. Jack was gone! I had worn him out. I held my breath in awe of the horror. What was I going to tell Dad?

“You see ah, I ah, threw a rock instead of a stick, but Jack just kept looking, until, until he… drowned. Oh, Dad I didn’t mean to…”

I was about to cry for help when up from the deep came this great sea dragon spewing out water, snorting and gulping…no, no, it was Jack! It was Jack, and there in his mouth was the stone. I may have been a little boy, but I knew that there were lots of different kinds of rocks at the bottom of the lake – there were black ones and red ones, flat ones and round ones of all sorts, but the one I threw, looked just like the one in Jack’s mouth. He came to me and shook off again but this time the cold shower did not seem to matter. If you were there you would have believed it, too: it was the very same rock that I threw.

Jack couldn’t understand the meaning of “impossible”, so he just did it. I tell you there was a lot of special in that dog, and thanks to Jack, I started to look for it more carefully. Special is a lot more obvious  when you look for it, and Jack seemed to always be finding it. Love what you do, do what you love, and even the impossible is just another grand adventure.

Oh that I could live life as well as that dog!

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Stick
by, A. Dog:
wada stick!
I goda stick!
I lub dis stick!
What would I do
without dis chew?
All other dogs got no chance
they’d only drool and watch me prance!
Oh, it’s you!
…       …
You wannit?

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Permanent link to this article: http://jackthedog.us/stories-poems/

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