In August 2006, I had just moved into my own apartment after graduating university and was living on my own. I had grown up having dogs and I wanted to get one of my own so this seemed like the perfect time. I knew that I wanted to get a rescue dog so I went on Petfinder.com and came across a local rescue group. I immediately emailed them and they sent me photos of Jackson and his siblings and told me that I was welcome to stop by if I was interested. The next day after work I decided to go check out Jackson and his siblings.
I was greeted by the representative who conducted a brief interview with me about my living situation and how I would care for a dog if I did adopt of them. After our interview, they showed me five Black and Tan Coonhound/Beagle Mix puppies. They had come from Alabama where they were found abandoned in the woods with their mom. All the puppies were playing in a fenced yard and as soon as I entered, they came running over. I spent a few minutes playing with one of the male puppies who was particularly friendly (Jackson’s sibling) but could not help feeling that I was being watched.
As they were briefing me about Jackson’s brother, who was available, I saw two big brown eyes peering at me under a ramp. I immediately went over to see who staring at me and without any hesitation pulled out Jackson. He let out a little growl but I knew he was just scared. I looked into his big soulful eyes and he looked right back into my eyes. I recalled my Dad telling me that you can always tell a good dog from their eyes.
When I looked into Jackson’s eyes, all I saw was unconditional love and someone who wanted to be loved in return. They were surprised I wanted Jackson and repeatedly told me that he would be a lot of work. I explained to her that I had the time to give him and that everyone deserves a chance. I knew Jackson was going to take time but all I could think of was if I did not take him, than who would? I tried to get him to play but he was more interested in snuggling in my lap which still holds true today. I completed the adoption paperwork and then Jackson was mine. When I got into the car, the song “Jackson” by Johnny Cash came on and that is how he got his name.
The first couple months of owning Jackson was a challenge because he was scared around strangers and unfamiliar noises. At the time I was working at a show barn so he was forced to deal with sensory overload between the horses, people and noises. At first, he would bolt into a stall every time he would become uncomfortable and curl up the hay. However, over time he gradually got comfortable with familiar faces and learned that it was best to stick with the other barn dogs who taught him about staying on the property or who he could trust. I had help because everyone was very patient with him and he got spoiled by my co-workers and clients. Today he will go up to anyone and have a cuddle with them.
Jackson has had a pretty adventurous life: he has traveled along the East coast going with me to horse shows, lived in Cardiff, Wales for two years, traveled around Europe, and moved to Toronto. He even has an Irish passport (like Fergus)!
I often get complimented on how Jackson has such a loving and gentle nature. People find it hard to believe that he used to be terrified of people. The truth is I just loved him. We do not always get to choose the people who come into our lives or the things that happen to us but Jackson is the definition of unconditional love as are many rescue dogs. They rescue their owners just as much as we rescue them. – Michelle