Happy Tails

Mrs. Jolley,

I just wanted to provide Russell Rescue with an update on Dempsey.

As with most Jacks, Dempsey has settled in and taken over the house. He has stopped jumping onto tables, but he moved on to learning how to open the closet door to help himself to shoes and dirty socks. We think Dempsey must've been ignored in his previous home, and given little in regards to toys. It took him a bit to want to play with any toy we gave him, and even longer to want to share and fetch with either of us. Now, he has amassed quite a collection, and proven that anything stuffed will last no more than 10 minutes in his jaws. His most peculiar habit, however, is when he sleeps. By 9:30 p.m., Dempsey is on his back, legs in the air, out like a light until we wake him up in the morning. I've never seen a dog sleep as hard as he does.

He still has a bit of separation anxiety, but he is really only left alone when we run errands or go out for dinner. Dempsey spends weekdays with my parents, and he has become especially attached to my dad. He sits in his lap while Dad has his morning coffee, and they spend the day in the backyard and playing the guitar. (My dad usually plays his guitar in the afternoons, and Dempsey either sits next to him on the couch and listens, or if it's one of his favorite songs, he spins in a circle and barks along.)

Healthwise, Dempsey has shown no signs of heart worm disease beyond the image on the sonogram. Our vet is very optimistic that when she tests him in January, Dempsey will be completely clear. Other than a tiny scar from the dog bite where the hair won't grow back, there's no evidence of the tough life Dempsey has lived.

Chad and I are so glad we decided to adopt from Russell Rescue. Dempsey is truly part of our family and filled the void our previous Jack, Bennett, left behind. During this holiday, we are thankful for your organization, the work it does, and the gift it has given to us.


Dena Abernethy

Hi Sandra, Linda, Doreen et. al.,

Here's a longish two-week progress report/testimonial you're welcome to use for any marketing or educational purposes, if it suits you.

My wife Laurie and I are long-time (20-year plus) Jack Russell Terrier owners who recently found two of the most marvelous dogs we've ever owned via Texas Russell Rescue.

Our previous pack had dwindled after the last cantankerous one of our old guys passed on, each of our gang having lived an average of 17 great years. The last old guy's antipathy to most other dogs meant we couldn't really supplement the pack until he moved on, which neither he nor we were in any hurry to see.

We had raised each of our previous gang as puppies, with all the joys and exasperation that entails. We recognized long ago (but were not able to act on it) that there are many wonderful JRTs who get abandoned through no real fault of their own and tragically, too many great dogs are put down for the convenience of society and lack of awareness of the joys and demands of this breed. We decided long ago that our next dogs would be Jack Russells and they would be rescues.

So, when the opportunity arose to find a new companion for our sole remaining gal, Callie, a tiny JRT mix we had rescued last year from northern New Mexico on a successful hunch she'd get along well with Brutus, we didn't hesitate to check regional Russell Rescue resources. We didn't see an immediate good fit for Callie in our state; but recognized our much more populous neighbor to the east would likely have more possibilities. Sure enough, the Texas Russell Rescue web site had several interesting dogs. We found the listings there to be appealing and full of the kinds of objective details any prospective adopter needs to determine if there might be a successful match in the offing.

After completing the adoption paperwork, which any prospective dog owner should take seriously even if you think you're a very experienced, "qualified" adopter, and spending time chatting with the delightful Texas adoption network coordinator, Sandra, we determined at least one dog, a two-year-old male named Okie, would be an intriguing match for our Callie. We also arranged to meet a lovely sounding 5-year-old female, Tiffi, who we thought of as a possible alternative if Okie and Callie didn't work out. Normally, we know from experience that two same-sex JRTs are problematic; but we saw behavior in both Callie and Tiffi that seemed positive. After talking with the respective foster parents, Linda and Doreen, we mutually agreed the likelihood of success was reasonably high and Laurie and I made the long drive from Albuquerque to Dallas with Callie over a three-day weekend.

I'm beyond pleased to acknowledge the warm welcome Laurie, Callie, and I received from Doreen and Linda who went out of their way to accommodate us. But I'm even happier to describe the two wonderful dogs they introduced us to that day, each of whom had had ostensible "issues" that Doreen and Linda had worked incredibly well to manage. We met Doreen's adoptee, Tiffi, first and initially thought that was the least likely successful match. Tiffi was a damaged soul, kept for years in limiting circumstances elsewhere in the state as a mill breeding female. She circled and paced exactly like a sad caged lioness; but she was gorgeous and most importantly, our gal, Callie, seemed to like her and she Callie. Doreen was incredibly patient and accommodating as Laurie and I carefully thought through possible issues we'd have to deal with to make this work. We didn't initially commit and, though obviously saddened, Doreen placed no additional pressure on us at all and was very respectful of our decision-making.

Okie arrived a little later, having been driven across the metroplex by his foster mom, Linda. Although he had been surrendered by a previous owner for allegedly biting a child, it was obvious at first sight that we were seeing a fantastically well-adjusted, fun-loving young guy. We had recognized in earlier conversations with Linda that it would be difficult for her to part with him and it was immediately obvious why. Callie went ape for him, shamelessly soliciting his attention from the first moment. We knew we had a definite match between him and our crew; but we were still thinking about taking on Tiffi, who had obvious extreme shyness and obsessions. We'd seen that behavior before and had successfully overcome it; but we're not spring chickens any more and needed to talk about the long-term investment in time and energy Tiffi would clearly require. We also carefully noted that Okie and Tiffi seemed to get along well. We took Okie with us to our hotel that afternoon and promised only to talk with Tiffi's foster mom, Doreen, later in the evening. Doreen was clearly saddened by our failure to also take Tiffi; but obviously purely for Tiffi's sake, not from a sense of personal disappointment. That meant a great deal to us. The parting between Linda and Okie was profoundly moving as each clearly loved the other very much; as we would shortly discover, with very good reason.

The rest of the evening with Okie and Callie was nothing short of spectacular. Unlike with a very young puppy, with a mature rescue, you have a clear idea very quickly what the dog likes and does not like to do. In Okie, we immediately discovered not only the most athletic and positive outlook we'd ever seen; but somewhat unexpectedly, the most overtly affectionate and gentle JRT we'd ever met. Okie bonded with us right away and very quickly seemed to recognize and respect Callie's minuscule and vulnerable size as well as her more mature status in the pack. He was a home run without a doubt, though Laurie and I did have a "what in God's name have we done?" moment when he unexpectedly leaped into my arms from a seated position at my feet.

But, as thrilled as we were with Okie, we still wanted to give Tiffi a shot at a great dog life we knew we could provide, if we could deal with her issues. Surprisingly to each of us, Laurie and I had initially thought the other had greater reservations; it didn't take long to sort that out over dinner. We both had been absolutely slain by her fantastic good looks and general health--she looked and acted for all the world like a big Steiff stuffed bear. She appeared to be very shy but sweet and though she wouldn't approach us, she would stand still and allow us to approach her and pet her. She appeared to be very gentle with little Callie and Doreen showed us solid evidence that she got along equally well with her other dogs, both male and female, no small consideration for us who were considering dealing with two female JRTs.

The bottom line for us was recognizing that we could deal with her issues while providing her a "forever" home in Albuquerque that she'd be unlikely to ever exceed. We called Doreen after dinner and asked if we could take Tiffi, too. Doreen rearranged her work schedule to meet us early the next morning, as we had a long drive back that day, especially now with three dogs. Both Doreen and Linda were more than generous in preparing familiar food and other treats for their new homes.

We've been home together now for two weeks and I continue to be astounded at our good fortune in picking up these two spectacular new JRTs. Aside from quickly discovering that my 7' fence didn't even slow down the super stud Okie in pursuit of a neighbor's cat and having to spend the next day--in record-setting heat--extending my fence, Laurie and I have "lucked" into the sweetest, most stable and fun-loving group of dogs we've ever met. Callie's gone out of her way to welcome and encourage both Okie--naturally enough--but also Tiffi, whom we've decided to rename Matilda in honor of the solid, sensible character that seems to be blossoming slowly in this great gal. Both new pack members were thoroughly worked over by our vet and both are in outstanding health, having been obviously super well cared for by Linda and Doreen. Okie's fit right in; but even Tilda has already made great strides, freely entering and exiting the house, learning to accept a leash, and having a blast wrestling with the other dogs.

Laurie and I couldn't be happier with our new additions to our family. While it might seem a foregone conclusion that a couple of long-time JRT owners such as us would find and successfully deal with two previously "unwanted" Jack Russells--we're more than aware of the unique demands and rewards of the breed--there's also an element of faith that people you're adopting "troubled" dogs from are good, honest, straightforward folk who have done their best to help the dogs adjust from previous trauma. I can say without reservation that the folks Laurie and I worked with at Texas Jack Russell Rescue--Sandra, Linda, and Doreen--are superlative examples of the best humanity has to offer. They are knowledgable, loving, selfless, and very easy to work with, no small consideration when you drive 12 hours on little more than good will and trust.

I'll forever be in their debt for having rescued these two incredible dogs and for helping Laurie and me hook up with them.

With great sincerity and regard,

Mark Cleveland