By Carla Schick
When you’re sick or just feeling low, who makes you laugh? Who makes you chuckle like a child? Pets are often a wonderful source of laughter. Charles M. Schulz, famed Peanuts comic strip cartoonist, once said that “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Jack, a Husky-Gray Wolf mix, is my warm pup with a sense of humor. Here are a few examples of Jack’s idiosyncrasies:
Excuse you! After dinner at a local restaurant, my family and I walked out to our car. Jack was sitting in the back of our SUV waiting for a treat. We gave him a flour tortilla, and as a couple walked past our vehicle to get to the restaurant, Jack let out a very BIG human-sounding burp. The husband turned around and looked at us like “Well!” We couldn’t stop laughing.
Can you get that? Jack is a 105-pound dog; there’s nothing small about him. Unfortunately, because he is rather large, he has difficulty getting into vehicles by himself. What he does is stand up and place his front paws on the back seat of the car and then turn around and look at you with this expression that says, “Can you pick up my back end?” So, I have to pick up his rear and push him into the car so that he can go for his ride.
A friend in need. Sometimes the world is a very unkind place. I was having a bad day and I was sitting with Jack when, suddenly, the water-works started. He always knows when I’m low, so he just sat there with me and let me cry into his fur.
Hitting the wall. In April, I went rollerblading with Jack. I had this bright idea to put on my skates and have Jack pull me like an Alaskan sled dog. We got up to some ridiculous speed, flying down this asphalt road, when suddenly I realized that we had absolutely no way to stop gracefully. Long story short, I crashed into a concrete wall. After Jack realized that I was no longer trailing behind him, he made a u-turn and ran back to make sure that I was still in one piece. I couldn’t sit for a couple months, but the memory always makes me chuckle.
Garden party. Jack loves nothing more than to be outside with me when I’m gardening. Occasionally, he’ll help me dig a hole, but what he loves best is to play with the black plastic plant pots that usually come from the garden department at Lowe’s. He’s a hoot to watch because he’ll take one in his mouth, run with it and then throw it in the air — over and over again, prancing and sprinting like he’s a Jack Russell terrier.
Not-so-wise grasshopper. Jack and I were outside contemplating the universe one afternoon when my wolf noticed a spindly grasshopper jumping our way. I knew this was going to be a Kodak moment, so I ran upstairs to grab my camera. Upon returning, I snapped the picture you see above. The grasshopper didn’t have a chance.
Give me five. When Jack was a pup, I wanted him to be able to do something a little different than just “shake” my hand, so I taught him to give me a high-five. He makes me laugh every time he does it: I’ll say, “Jack, give me five,” and he’ll sit down and give me his left paw in a high-five motion. It’s our secret handshake.
You’d expect Van Halen. Jack is a tough-looking dog — rugged and really outdoorsy. I thought he would be more of a rock ‘n roll fan. Try opera instead. One night, we were watching an Andrea Bocelli concert on TV; Jack was lying down relaxing. When he heard Bocelli begin to sing, Jack sat up, leaned against the wall and literally watched the entire concert. I was stunned. Who would have thought?
These are a few of my favorite Jack moments. He never ceases to make me laugh or surprise me in some fashion. Whether he’s making tears roll down my cheeks from laughter or drying them with his fur, he’s always there to put a smile on my face.
How have the pets in your life made you laugh or lifted you up when you were down?