The Dog of Many Collars - Part II
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Jezzie turned out all right but at the beginning, I think we were starting to wonder what was wrong with her. For awhile she wouldn’t even walk down the hallway into the other room; I had to carry her. She wouldn’t walk much at my work either. She wasn’t the easiest dog to pick up and carry, since she was already pretty big with really long legs that she never knew what to do with. And the stairs? She had a lot of trouble with the stairs but it was absolutely hilarious. She’d start at the top, and walk down normally with her front paws, but she’d just let her back legs drag behind her, flopping down each step.
Jezzie also wouldn’t play with toys for awhile, which was defeating considering the amount I had spent on them. Eventually she got the hang of it. She had a lot of interactive toys that involved stuffing treats, peanut butter, and yogurt in them to keep her busy. She loved toys that made noise, like her pink laughing cupcake and the creepy bunny that said a prayer in a child's voice when you squeezed it (both very scary things to hear in the middle of the night). She was like Luke though and would eventually chew up and destroy every toy, and de-fluff any stuffed toy. There was one special toy though – a little rubber hamburger, that I think we had before I adopted Jezzie. She never destroyed that toy. And over ten years later, I still have it.
After getting Jezzie, I soon learned that having a puppy, and me being the only one (mainly) to take care of her, was a lot of work. Especially when I was finishing my senior year of high school, getting ready for college classes, working 20-30 hours a week, going to prom, Tulah getting surgery, my dad traveling, and trying to fit my friends and boyfriend into my life. She became a burden to me quickly – having to get up to feed her, walk her, clean up her poop, take her to puppy class, board her if I wanted to go somewhere, etc. Also, I began to get really sad about not paying attention to Luke. I started to feel bad about not playing with him as much, not bringing him places when I had Jezzie, and not taking him for as many walks. Though I would never admit it to anyone who told me that I shouldn’t get a puppy at that point in my life, I was seriously regretting my choice to get a puppy.
One night my boyfriend was over, and we couldn’t go watch movies in the basement because of Jezzie, so we were just sitting in the living room. I think we were trying to cuddle on the couch but Jezzie was being a problem (she was actually just being a puppy). I got angry and upset and ended up sitting on the floor trying to play with her to keep her occupied. But she just came over and curled up on my lap and went to sleep.
The thing about dogs is, no matter how angry you are or how sad you are, they always seem to make it better, without even trying.
I don’t know exactly when or how, but the feelings of frustration quickly passed. It’s funny to me to look back on it now, knowing how angry, sad, and regretful I felt at that time, when ultimately she became my best friend. And I don’t regret any of it, even now knowing how much harder it would become.
The High Maintenance Dog
One of Jezzie’s first vet visits revealed that she had worms, and several different kinds. This meant she had to be de-wormed, she couldn’t go outside with other dogs at daycare, and all her poop had to be scooped up in a plastic bag, while wearing gloves, tied up and thrown away, and then I was supposed to bleach the area. This lasted for what seemed like months. I remember being so excited to find out she was clear of worms and could now just poop in the woods like the rest of our dogs. And she could finally go to daycare with other dogs, which was also really exciting. It might have been around this same time that she had a urinary tract infection too – the first of a few.
She also had an upset stomach most of the time. When I went to change her to adult food, I started feeding her what the other dogs were eating, but that didn’t sit well with Jezzie. I tried a few foods, and through trial and error, we eventually found a winner. But whenever Jezzie and Luke got their pig’s ears or any special treats, Jezzie would have the worst bathroom problems. And also after daycare, after she sucked up all the treats that got thrown in the daycare rooms.
Speaking of sucking things up in the daycare rooms... let’s not forget about the famous poop eating. I won’t get into too many details here, but let’s just say Jezzie had a very bad habit. Probably her worst behavior. It was disgusting, and I don’t know why dogs do it, but she was notorious for it, and every employee at my work knew it.
At some point in her young life, I started noticing that there would be wet spots on her beds after she’d been sleeping on them. I knew at that point that she wasn’t having accidents, because she always went outside and would never just sleep through it without going to the door. I figured it was another UTI. Yet another vet visit revealed she had a loose sphincter. Yes, a loose sphincter. I remember being completely shocked, horrified, and humored by this strange diagnosis that I had never heard of. But, as weird as it was, it was what was causing the dribble on the beds. So, a daily chewable tablet was prescribed.
She absolutely hated getting her nails clipped. At first, I was going to attempt it myself. When she was a puppy, she was not so uncooperative, but when she got a bit older, she would not tolerate it. So I always had to ask a coworker at work to do it. When Jezzie saw her coming with the clippers, she’d huddle up in the corner and look sad and horrified, and when the clipping started, it was the end of the world and Jezzie would whine and cry and yelp like she was being tortured. She was a bit of a drama queen.
She was weary of new people, especially men and kids, and also sometimes timid and nervous with people she knew. She was terrified of the vacuum, hair dryer, and several other things, including big trucks.
Okay, so maybe she didn’t completely turn out all right...
Jezzie had many collars. She had puppy collars, holiday collars, summer collars, fall collars, winter collars, bright collars, big collars, matching collars with Luke, cheap collars, dirty collars, and expensive collars. Luke also had many collars. They had a lot of matching leashes and some different colored harnesses as well. Granted I got a 40% discount at my work, which is mostly to blame for this insanity. It was always a joke at work when I got another collar. Like, “Surprise surprise, Haley’s buying a collar!” Or I’d come home and my mom would say, “Another one?”
(I continue to have this collar-buying addiction with my current dogs. Some of my favorite shops are: Sirius Republic, Paco Collars, Crazy Rebels, Gray and Hound, and Collar Town).
Jezzie was a leaner. She would seem to put her whole body weight into your legs, and just lean there, whether you were sitting or standing. So you better had hoped you were standing against a counter or something so you wouldn’t fall over, since she weighed about seventy pounds. At some point, I joked that her name should have been Eileen (I Lean). So I guess that ended up being her middle name – Jezebelle Eileen. My mom used to sometimes also call her Jezzie Binks because she thought she ran like Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars, all gangly and awkward with flapping ears. She had many names – Jezzie, Jezebelle, Jezebelle Eileen, Jezzie-belle, Jezzie Binks, Jez, Jezzie Wezzie, freak, dork, brat… I laugh now when I think of how I used to call her a brat when in reality she was the furthest thing from a brat.
I always thought it was funny how if I got mad at Luke or Jezzie, their “full name” would be used, like a child. Luke would become Lucas Nosler, and Jezzie would become Jezebelle. She seemed to know though. She’d be outside at night and I’d call her and call her to come in, just saying “Jezzie!” After awhile of her seemingly ignoring me, I’d lean out the door and yell, in a very demanding way, “Jezebelle!” And sure enough, she’d come running right in after that. She always came back.
Jezzie was soon given another nickname by my dad – Jezzie Flubber Lips. She would take a drink and then walk away from the water dish and make puddles all over the floor, almost like whatever she took into her mouth she didn’t even swallow at all.
Of course, Luke used to drool all the time if food was involved. And Jezzie was exactly the same way. I’d have them stay while I filled their food dishes. All the dogs were supposed to lie down in their spots away from the cupboard while I filled the dishes, and stay in that spot until I had set the dishes down and said to go ahead. Scruffy was too senile to do this most of the time, Luke did it but stayed as close as he could to the cupboard, and Tulah used to lay down but then when I wasn’t looking she’d creep closer. But Jezzie would lie on the rug by the deck door and not move until I set her food down. And the whole time, she and Luke would have long strings of drool hanging down from their mouths almost touching the floor.
Even though they didn’t beg, they were given their fair share of human food and other treats. If I made grilled cheese, cheese was always divided up between all the dogs. At night I’d make myself some crackers with peanut butter and go up to watch TV with Luke and Jezzie in my room. If I got too full, I’d give my remaining crackers to them. Or sometimes I’d purposely make too many cracker sandwiches so they could each have one of their own. And then every night my dad would open my bedroom door to say goodnight and give Luke and Jezzie their treats.
One time in the bank drive-through, where we went together many times, Jezzie was behind me waiting for her expected treat. When I looked back there was this foot-long string of drool hanging down right by my head. I put my hand on my steering wheel and pushed and twisted myself back and around to shoo her away. As I did, my hand pressed on the horn and my car let out this long, loud, obnoxious honk for all the bank employees to hear through the microphone.
My dad also called her Grace a couple times, which he also called me occasionally. If I ever tripped or fumbled over something he’d say something like, “You okay, Grace?” So it sort of transferred to my dog too, since though she was quite elegant looking, she had her moments. If she tripped over the stairs, he’d call her Grace.
But I guess that was just another way we were alike. Sometimes people say that owners and their dogs look alike. That doesn’t always work, but with Jezzie it kind of fit. We were both long and lean, with tall legs, blonde and red hair, with black around our eyes. Both clumsy. Both a little shy. Both a little high maintenance. Both connected.