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So You Are Adopting a Jack Russell Terrier - the Good, the Bad, the Adorable

Updated on October 25, 2019

Looks pretty harmless doesn't she?

Maddie - The Happiest Dog On Earth

Of all my pets, mostly dogs, Maddie is the most remarkable. We got her as a puppy from a home that couldn't handle two Jack Russells. We soon found out why. Not having Jack Russell experience, there is no way we could have anticipated the incredible amount of energy packed into that little body. Never have I seen an animal move so fast. I have lived in Africa and I have seen cheetahs run in the wild but they are snails compared to Maddie. Apparently she comes with a two speed switch: off and on, no cruise.

Needless to say she captured our hearts. She is as sweet as she is fast. We men aren't supposed to use the word sweet but in this case it just fits. I don't know if all Jack Russells are like this but after three labradors, she is without a doubt the closest in disposition and smarts to my former favorites. The real benefit for me is size. I loved my labs but bath day was like taking both of us to the car wash. With Maddie, 5 minutes and we are done. Plus, she comes with a factory builtin blow dryer. Once released wet, she shoots across the house, outdoors and back inside at which point she is dry. The perfect dog accessory.

Leaving and returning home has also been a new experience. I mentioned she is fast but I didn't tell you about the springs on the bottom of her feet. To say she can bounce to eye-level is an understatement. Her happiness is expressed by popping up into the air, grabbing your attention, and then (i swear) she smiles. The emotion displayed by her body language is overwhelming. She just makes you feel happy.

My labs had many of her same attributes. They all have "the look" - those sad eyes which stare deep into your soul such that you will forgive any transgression. They all have that strong spirit and best-friend appeal, but this Maddie is a step above. My only concern is that if we were ever burgled, she would likely give the thieves a tour of the house and thank them when they left, especially for the pupparoni treats for which she will do anything. Nobody's perfect.

For those of you who choose a JRT as a pet, put on your speedy shoes and be aware that all your furniture will become part of the daily obstacle course running routine. AND don't believe those who tell you that they slow down with age. Maddie is now two and is an olympic hurdles contender. It's a part of their charm so don't expect it to change. If you think you can handle the challenge of a dog which never sits still, except when napping, then this pet's for you.

UPDATE 2016: Maddie is just shy of her eighth birthday now. Except for a recurring bit of shakiness in her hind legs due to being hit by a car in year three, she hasn't changed at all. (Thank you Texas A&M University Veterinary Hospital.) She continues to be the model for high-speed travel and still believes everyone who visits just came to see her. You can't go wrong with a Maddie.

UPDATE 2019: Maddie has finally slowed, at least in the house. Her hind legs now reflect her age as they shake while she stands. No pain, thankfully. Her outdoor squirrel hunting prowess remains, however she is more selective... choosing equally slower adversaries. She continues to be a valued member of our household and hopefully has a lot more time to share with us. You still can't go wrong with a Maddie.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2010 burning bush


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