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Old Jake (standard:non fiction, 1052 words)
Author: dcastleAdded: Dec 29 2004Views/Reads: 1829/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This is a story about some of the adventures of my dog Jake.

Old Jake 

I decided in the Summer of 1989 that it was time I got a dog. I was
looking for a small but tough little dog that I could take along on 
fishing and hunting trips. A dog that could keep all the squirrels and 
rabbits out of my garden yet would be gentle and protective around 
children. I researched all the different breeds of dogs for a few weeks 
and really didn't see anything I liked. My daughter Angela came home 
one day just before she was to leave for her freshman year at college 
and told me that a friend had several puppies they were trying to give 
away down on Cambridge. Cambridge is a four block long street just 
outside the main gates of Sheffield steel on the Northeast side of 
Kansas City. 

Angela said the pups weren't purebred. Possibly a mix between a cocker
spaniel and a terrier. There were six of the black, eight week old pups 
in the cardboard box when we looked inside. All the pups looked fat and 
healthy except one. For some odd reason, his tail was only a stub and 
he was clearly the runt of the litter. He apparently didn't realize he 
was small as he bulled his way right up to the front of the box so he 
could get his fair share of our attention. I remembered my father 
telling me many times that the runt of the litter always made the best 
dog and a mixed breed would make a better dog than a purebred in most 
cases. We took the little guy home and named him Jake. 

Jake only grew to the size of a beagle but he had as much courage and
heart as a pit bull. Some say he could whip his weight in wildcats and 
I would have to agree with that. The dog simply would not back down 
from anything or anyone. The only fight I ever saw him lose was to a 
much bigger dog at the lake. Never saw that dog again but to this day, 
Jake searches the area where the fight happened. No doubt looking for a 

They say cats are great at catching mice and birds. Well, I'd put old
Jake up against any cat. We have a shed at the lake where I keep my 
riding lawnmower and other garden tools. Field mice love to build nests 
in an area like this and my shed it no exception. When I unlock the 
door, the dog is right there beside me with his little stub of a tail 
waging so fast you can hardly see it. Sometimes I think he is going to 
burst with excitement. Just like when he was a pup, he bulls pass me 
franticly trying to catch as many mice as possible in the three or four 
seconds it takes them to find cover. I remember one time when one of 
the little rodents managed to scramble down a hole in the ground with 
Jake a half a step behind him. Two hours later, Jake was still trying 
to dig the same mouse out. I think he would have tried all night long 
if I'd let him. 

I was working in the garden when I noticed a weathered half sheet of
plywood lying in some weeds next to the garden. I thought I might as 
well pick it up and throw it on a pile of tree limbs to burn later. As 
I raised one side I noticed a huge snake. Just my luck, Jake saw the 
snake at the same time and before I could let go of the board he was on 
the snake like a mongoose. I tried to call him off the four foot long 
reptile but he wasn't about to quit this new challenge. Around and 
around they went with the snake at times completely wrapped around 
Jake. I was afraid to get to close because I didn't know what kind of 
snake it was. The lake was only 50 feet away from where the fracas 
started. The fight slowly moved in that direction with me circling them 
screaming for Jake to come to me. Nothing doing. This was a fight he 
was going to win or die trying. As I was just about to risk my hide and 
wade into the middle of it they tumbled into the lake. That did it. The 
snake took off swimming as fast as a snake can swim and Jake ran along 
the bank probably wishing he was a Labrador retriever. 

Jake hates squirrels more than anything in the world. He takes his job
of keeping them out of my gardens very seriously. Once, just once, I'm 
sure he would love to catch one. He use to come very close when he was 
younger. Those days are gone now. His speed and quickness are no match 
any squirrel now. Instead, he tries to use his wits to out smart them. 
I have several walnut trees in my back yard. They are about 30 feet 
apart. In the Fall, Jake will sit and wait on the porch until he sees a 
squirrel stop between two of the trees to grab a walnut off the ground. 
At that time he decides to run as fast as he can towards one of the 
trees in hopes that the squirrel will choose that tree to run up. It 
actually works about ten percent of the time and that's good enough for 
Jake. Makes the chase real close again like the old days when he was a 

The beautiful shiny black coat is gone now. Grey is now the color of
most of his fur. His eyes and hearing are getting worst by the day. Our 
other dog, Milo, who is half his age now does her best to be his eyes 
and ears. He still makes his morning security check of our one acre 
yard. It takes three times as long now but he still enjoys it. I've 
noticed this Fall that he is spending more time smelling the air and 
sitting while he makes his rounds. His fighting days are gone now and 
he is quite content to just sit in the warm sun with Milo and watch the 
world go by. 


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