Everyone’s best friend

I know there are people who live in the country who don’t have dogs, but to me, they’re an integral part of rural life. Walking through a paddock without a dog at your heels just doesn’t feel right. They’re also wonderful companions. They look at you as if to say ‘how can I help you? How can I support you? What can I do for YOU?’ They’re not just man’s best friend, they’re everyone’s best friend.


On the 18th August 2011, our beautiful, funny and loving Jack Russell terrier, Spencer, went missing. For days and weeks we searched and we cried. No, we sobbed. We stuck up flyers, we put ads in papers and on the radio, we made phone calls and we searched again, and again. Hubs and I held one another in our grief as we tried to keep up happy faces with The Kid. Weeks later The Kid asked me, ‘Is Spence still lost in the long grass? Will we see him again? We’re so sad aren’t we?’ Obviously we didn’t do a great job of concealing our loss.

We got Spence at a time when we thought we might not be able to have children. And so he was our first born. He filled a big hole in our lives and he filled it in a big way. He wangled his way into our hearts like red dye gets into a load of whites.

In the children’s movie, Skip, Kevin Bacon’s character, who’s resisting the pressure to let his son have a Jack Russell puppy says (in his delightful southern drawl) “a dog is just a heartbreak waiting to happen”. He was right. When Spence went missing, our hearts indeed broke.

While we hoped that he would return, and we waited for him to trot up our driveway, he didn’t. He hasn’t. It’s 10 months now, and perhaps one day we will get a call from a vet to say ‘we have your Spence here’ but we also might not. And so I wanted to get another puppy to fill the void. Spence was my companion when Hubs was away at work. He was my shadow and my confidante. His favourite time of day was when The Kid was safely tucked up in bed, and he and I were alone. He would stretch out in his bed and say ‘thank god, some peace and quiet – let’s enjoy it Bec’. We still miss him so much it hurts, it feels heavy.

And so to the task of finding a new pup. We considered a rescue dog. Particularly after Beautiful Sarah, who sometimes looks after The Kid, drove out of our front gate, and I noticed a bumper sticker on her car, ‘Don’t breed or buy, when shelter dogs die’. Ouch, I felt the pang. So we looked at a number of rescue dogs, but my ultimate reservation was getting an older dog whose background we didn’t know, when we have a 3 year old child. It was too much of a risk for me. Besides, there is something very special about watching a young child bond with a puppy.

Fast forward, and Jones the Jack Russell (yes, another one) has come into our lives and we have fallen head-first back into.. no, not love, yet, but the abyss of sleepless nights. Oh sleep, how I love you! With guests staying and not wanting to subject them to a night of control crying in the laundry (not the guests of course, Jones was the one in laundry), I spent Jones’ first night with us, trying to sleep on the couch in the TV room – with him. I slept fitfully, worried I was squashing him, but Jones was as Happy as Larry, so long as he could feel my warmth and beating heart. Operation Control Crying (actually I’m told it’s now “responsive settling”) begins tonight.


On the upside, Jones is adorable. He is cute. He is warm and cuddly. As I sit here typing this, he is curled up on his bed at my feet, puppy ear flopped over his head, exhausted, and having puppy dreams. My hand on his little body is enough to calm him sending those troublesome dreams packing. The Kid already loves him and he’s learned to carry him safely. He carefully puts Jones on his bed at night for story time. He was surprised to discover that puppies are more interested in your soft toys than they are in listening to Hairy Maclary, but we can work on that I told him.

While there’s been no ‘closure’ with our beloved Spence, hopefully Jones marks the beginning of something new. What I want to know is, is it possible to love another dog as much as we loved Spence? Will Jones work his way into our hearts in the same all-consuming way? I don’t know the answer yet. I’ll have to let you know in a few months. But I think I’m falling for him.

This entry was posted in Living with animals by Bec H. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bec H

A relatively recent refugee from the city, I live in the Manning Valley on the mid-north coast of NSW, Australia on 100 acres. I love my veggie patch, my burgeoning orchard and sunsets from our back verandah. I blog with another Bec at www.twobecsinapaddock.com

14 thoughts on “Everyone’s best friend

  1. Oh Bec! I feel like sobbing after reading that! Jones is so gorgeous! There will never be another Spence but I’m sure Jones will fill a lot of the gap. Love Kyls x

  2. Oh Bec Spence will always hold a special place just as everyone we lose does but that’s the wonderful thing our hearts are big enough for more! But I have to ask . . Does the kid sing to Jones? Xxxxx

  3. Jones??? I’m so smitten just by his photo – let’s call him Jones-y in true Aussie style! Welcome to the community Jones-y. Thomas and James will be there asap – run, puppy, run! They will smother you with adoration…

  4. I would like to say hi to Jones and encourage him to run straight through the screen door as soon as possible, x Bingo

  5. Hi Bec,
    I have been away and hadn’t caught up on the news! Congratulations! Jones-y [;-)] looks absolutely adorable and he is the luckiest pup around to have ended up with you guys! Hope he has settled in and is sleeping through the night now. Love Gordo xox 🙂

  6. Ok, ok I concede Jones(y) looks very cute. I’m just hoping he wasn’t called after Alan Jones or you both have some explaining to do!!!

    • You can be guaranteed that Alan Jones was NOT our inspiration! It was actually a dog on SeaChange (the ABC TV series) called Alfonso Dominico Jones. We loved the name, but thought it was a tad long, so just went with the Jones part.

  7. As our beautiful Lilly enters her twilight years the thought of being without her is too much… Yet we know it is ever approaching (far too quickly for my liking). We take heart that five years ago we took on a second dog and she has easily weddled her way into our hearts and our lives.. (I think it took about five minutes)… As to what happens when Lilly and then eventually Tammy pass…… Who knows. Enjoy your new friend and wrap yourself in his love..l he will never replace Spence but he will show you his own personality and will win your hearts n his own way.

  8. Pingback: Jones: Jack Russell terrier | Two Becs in a Paddock

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s