It was so much harder to get over her death than I would’ve imagined.
Shannon and I both walked through each day in a kind of grief-stained fog.
Inevitably, walking alone on the same path I had walked daily with Tatum, I would meet others in my neighborhood who would ask where Tatum was, and the tears would flow again.
Months later, we were at dinner with Shannon’s cousin when Tatum’s breeder called. Uncharacteristically, Shannon took the call. Maybe she felt God tapping on her shoulder…
You see, months before her death, Tatum birthed a litter of 7 puppies. The very first one to emerge was Jack, and as is the case with all registered wheaten terrier puppies, he had been sold before he was born. At 8 or 9 weeks, Jack went to live with his new family.
And they loved him.
They loved him enough to give him up a year and a half later because they had moved into a retirement community, with a common area but no private, fenced yard, and Jack — like his mother, Tatum — loved to run. Boy, can he run.
There was never a question, a doubt, that we would take him once he was offered. He’s a part of Tatum.
He’s a part of our family.
How do you thank people you don’t know for sacrificing part of their happiness with such a gift? We’ve tried. They love to hike Colorado’s foothills and mountains, and Jack loves the hikes too, so sometimes when they go hiking they ask to “borrow” Jack, and, of course, we share him for the day.
But there’s not a day gone by since their gift that we don’t thank God for them and for Jack.
So, meet Jack the puppy:
and Jack today, in this Hitchcock-inspired shot:
He loves TV. He loves all animals on TV so now he has his own folder on our DVR, which he watches when we have to leave him alone: