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Bones the Jack Russell

Updated on January 5, 2018
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Donna wrote for the Durban Mirror back in the 80s when news had a lifespan of up to 30 days. She now writes because that's what writers do.

Borders and Boarders

Changing countries is traumatic. I haven't yet come across anyone who has moved from one land mass to another without experiencing a degree of pain. Rehoming my dogs was one of the saddest things about my move from South Africa to the UK. I swore that I would never have another pet in this lifetime. My husband promised me that he would bark and even chew my shoes if I was ever tempted to bring a ball of fur into our lives again. I think he was as heartbroken as me to leave Shane, Rusty and Sox behind in Zululand as we flew from space and sunshine to hanky sized yards and frozen skies.

We knew why we were trekking. We knew what we were leaving and why we were doing it. I never knew how much it would hurt. The sting of leaving my dogs was sharp and cold. Knowing they were happy in their new homes somehow made me feel worse. The sting felt like a sharp bite that went through my flesh and right to the bone. I don't know how human emotions work, I just know that I never want to feel like that ever again.


Bones at rest
Bones at rest | Source

Rescued Runt

We'd been living in the UK in a flat for a few years. The choreography of life being what it is, Bones arrived soon after we moved into a house. My young cousin had rescued Bones and took him back to his family home. Terriers are characters, and Bones fitted snugly into his new family of caring actors. My aunt was a stage artist and my uncle has written and acted in a few pantomimes. They are both happy and expressive people.

The first week was perfect. The second week was purgatory. Three month old Bones killed the old household cat. There was something about Jessica's bell that triggered an ancient instinct. There was only one possible outcome. Bones was banned.

Bones comes Home

I was asked to look after Bones until my cousin could find him a cat free home. Despite my reservations, I couldn't let this skinny little puppy go into kennels given the bad start he had had in his short life. After careful thought I took him in temporarily. What harm could it do? We decided to feed and care for him as much as we could, while maintaining a healthy emotional distance.

About Bones and the mouse

Eight years on, Bones is still here. He runs the house. He still hates cats, and we have learnt that he is over confident on a leash. He can't be trusted around other animals, and he often growls at well meaning strangers who want to pet him when we take him for a walk. He isn't good with other animals, and despite our best efforts he remains quite antisocial. He wears yellow to let people know that he has trouble socialising.

We don't have other animals or small children in the house so it doesn't bother us enough to keep on trying to change him. We turfed the carpets out because his hair is like pine needles and the even short tufted mats look like fur rugs within a day. He won't let us cut his nails, so we keep them manageable by letting the pavement file them on his walks. He has trained us well.

On the bright side, he fills the house with laughter because terriers are real characters. Bones, like most dogs, is a unique and special pet. It is hard to imagine our home now without our Bones and I hope he enjoys being around us as much as we enjoy having him in our lives.

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Entertaining Terriers

Terriers like Bones were bred to work. Although they are quite small dogs, they often don't know it. Owners are often surprised at how active they are. Bones is typical of the breed in that he gets bored easily. They are quite like toddlers in that they can behave badly (to the point of being destructive) if they don't get enough physical and mental exercise.

Terriers need to be walked at least daily. Walks should allow them some time off the lead to explore and simply to be dogs. They are curious, and love sniffing around and marking where they have been. They are keen to learn, and are real people pleasers. This makes them great playmates for. humans!

When they are not provided with tasks and fun things to do, they are inclined to make up their own games - Like seizing and destroying post. My seasonal 'flu resulted in every one of my Christmas cards being modified. Cards can be tricky to display when missing a bottom corner.

It's not always possible to walk a Jack Russell as much as the dog would like. I have a friendly church nearby, and the caretaker is quite happy for Bones to explore the grounds. This wasn't an option at the house I lived in before.

Lively little dogs sometimes need stronger collars and leashes / harnesses than you might think. A good quality one is cheap in the long term as they last for many years.

Toys are handy for keeping terriers busy between walks. Bones loves his ball. He does go through quite a few of them if left to his own devices so I take it away from him when we have finished playing The size and texture of the ball is important and it can take time to find a suitable one. Ideally, it should be durable enough to survive long teeth, big enough to avoid the risk of swallowing when playing catch, but small enough to be carried comfortably in the mouth.

Pulling games are popular. Any rope will do. A variety of purpose made rope toys prevents boredom. Fortunately they are inexpensive.

Some dogs like toys that dispense treats or rewards, like kongs. Bones doesn't like these much as he loses patience and tries to rip into these shape toys to get treats rather than roll them around. Every pet is different, and it is worth experimenting.

The life of Bones

© 2017 Donna


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    • bloggermelive profile image

      Donna 3 months ago from East Yorkshire, UK

      Louise, they sure do! Bones livens up the house and can always make me smile. I have used to reading my torn up mail in 3 installments, and the dog hair on my clothes :)

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      Louise Powles 3 months ago from Norfolk, England

      Jack Russells indeed make lovely pets. I love mine to bits. They've got such lovely little personalities, haven't they?