Sir Tiger is a Jack Russell with an impressive pedigree. He and his brother Sir Kodak were born in 1997 on a sprawling estate, as noblemen often are, in Republican Virginia, surrounded by thoroughbred horses. Sadly, Sir Kodak passed away at Christmas 2012, leaving the family in ashen mood for the year-end festivities and a good deal of the rest of 2013. He was an unforgettable dog, very handsome, who jumped over fences and ran after squirrels, mostly to chase them away as unwelcome intruders, but occasionally he caught one and left it proudly at the doorstep. In his unbridled enthusiasm, he sometimes miscalculated his reach and broke his leg one day.
His brother, Sir Tiger, came from the same esteemed litter, but always remained the “second brother”. Actually, Sir Tiger joined Sir Kodak because Sir Kodak couldn’t stand being alone in the backyard. As a little pup, Sir Kodak screamed and yelped to tell us he missed his brother, so we went back to the Virginian Estate, to get Sir Tiger. Sir Tiger was selected because he was all white, with one brown ear, and smart black eyes. A gentleman by nature, definitely less bossy and adventurous than his brother, and perhaps bisexual. But these alternatives were wiped out, because both were neutered. The vet said that would make their lives a lot happier, being liberated from the ever nerve-wrecking urge to go looking for the opposite sex and cause havoc in the neighborhood siring off-spring left and right, and be chased by furious neighbors, waving damage claims in their hands. On the other hand it was our impression it made Sir Tiger actively gay, as he was seen on top of his brother, licking him to climax and vice versa. Whatever. For privacy reasons, we did not take pictures.
Photo above: Kodak and Tiger awaiting “Mom’s” return from shopping (forever).
Photo below: Tiger keeping Kodak warm in his pen during his last days.
Kodak has written a biography of their lives, which I found in the yard, buried with a few bones he hadn’t want to share with his brother. This will be published sometime later and it’s quite a story. I never knew dogs knew so much and were such keen observers of human nature.
Photo above: Kodak and Tiger together on Christmas eve 2012.
Photo below: Kodak looking sad as he knows his days are numbered.
The shrine when Sir Kodak passed away, remembering how he was a puppy.
Back to Sir Tiger. While Sir Kodak jumped fences, Sir Tiger was a sprinter. You see those Jack Russells running after a fake fox-smelling cloth at horse shows: That was Tiger. He ran in large circles over the sports field near our house, literally flying through the air, and he sometimes still does.
He is now about 17 years old. 7 times 17 means 104 human years, an old man you would say. But no. He has a tumor somewhere in his body, arthritis in his hind legs, sees less then he wants to admit, still hears my whistle albeit after repeated trials, but otherwise keeps running with me in the field as if he were still a pup. Because he is small, people on the street , especially young girls, bend over and say, “Oh what a lovely puppy, may I pet him,” and then he growls like an old man, showing his teeth. You should see the terrified reactions, but they love him nevertheless. Until someone, thinking he is a puppy, grabs him from behind the fence in an unguarded moment, to take him home and appropriate him as their dog. This is what we thought had happened when we missed Tiger one late afternoon after coming home with the car from visiting our daughter, who lives nearby.
Joy, my wife, asked, “Is Tiger still in the yard?” I supposed she had let him out after we got back, to do the usual, and took a look, but he was nowhere. Puzzled, I searched for him, but didn’t see him anywhere. I went back and reported the strange event to Joy: all gates were locked, so how did he get out?
Five-star alarm. I jumped in the old Toyota our daughter left in front of the house because she bought a new car, to see if he was scourging the neighborhood for a friend or a left-over bone, which he never does (his brother did this repeatedly). No Tiger. When it got dark, I called the police: “Dog Kidnapped!”. They rushed by with huge torches and searched all over the yard, the neighborhood, even inside the house: no Tiger. Larceny report filed. I called all the animal shelters in the area, in case he was found or dropped when the thieves noticed he was not a puppy but old and sickly and no fun. A sleepless night, sometimes getting up to see if he wasn’t lingering at the front door.
The next day, I scanned a picture of Tiger, took it to a Kinko shop, laminated ten copies with a typed description of Tiger underneath, underlining he needed about ten pills a day for all his ailments and special soft food, and hung them on trees in the neighborhood streets. End afternoon, I crossed the cul-de-sac to tell our friends Mike and Tara, who are with the Alexandria Police, and they came over to have a drink and talk strategy how to find back Sir Tiger, and they sent out an alert with his picture to the whole force.
Nobody called. Tiger was gone. Everybody in hysterics. The house – and the yard – were suddenly very quiet. Since he has a rather shrill bark, some neighbors probably let a sigh of relief.
On the third day in the morning, I had to go somewhere and got into my Jag XK8 in the garage. And what??? There was Sir Tiger sleeping comfortably in my driver’s seat! He looked up, sort of smiling, a why-did-I-take-so-long face, got up and jumped out. Not a poop and not a pee in the car and not one bark for three days!
He had fallen asleep in the back of the car on the way back, and we had totally forgotten to take him out. That is, Joy thought I had, and I thought she had and then let him out in the yard, but in the end none of us had.
And so began the roll-back of the five-star alarm: calling the police, the animal shelters, taking down the signs, telling the neighborhood “Tiger was found.” As for Sir Tiger, he took his habitual place in the kitchen, after eating for three days, and went on with his busy dog-life. At present, he is still active, likes to run on the field, takes extensive naps, and loves car rides.
I’m sure this won’t happen again.