A year ago, we brought our sweet Jake home from the Healdsburg Animal Shelter. We were still missing our Chocolate Lab, Bailey, but we swore that we would not compare this new guy or say, "Well, Bailey never did that." In the last year, Jake has certainly become a member of the family, with his own quirks and attributes.
Jake the Hunter
Jake loves to hunt animals on the vineyard, which is a big plus for us. Jake will chase birds up and down the rows, ducking under the irrigation and trellis lines with lightning speed, pounce on moles and gophers erupting from the soil or grab lizards skittering through the wood pile. Having a dog to chase birds out of the vineyard is really important. Other options are netting, recordings of booms or of injured birds or shooting shotguns in the air, none of which appeal to us. A dog will leave his scent in the vineyard. Jake also likes to chase the turkey vultures. Keep in mind that they're about 100 feet in the air. Jake looks at us like, "They’re never going to land, are they?” but it's still funny to watch how earnestly he keeps them away.
Jake the Friend
Our old dog, Bailey, was a favorite of all the family dogs. He was the old man of the group, shaking his head solemnly at the youngsters running and barking and playing incessantly. The other dogs got used to not including him, seeming to laugh and shake their heads at the "old guy on the porch". When Jake came along, it was obvious that they expected the same thing. But all of a sudden, the gang was working hard to keep up with the new kid on the block. Jake welcomes them all to his ranch and then proceeds to try to run them into the ground.
Jake the Patient
Bailey was a big dog and as he got older, every trip to the vet was expensive. We thought that Jake – smaller, younger and a mutt – would give us a break on the vet bills. Well, he was healthy, but we seemed to be going out of our way to break him! In the first few months, he was in and out of the vet with kennel cough, poison oak, timber tail from too much swimming and a seriously upset stomach after he got a hold of a hamhock bone. He was at the vet so often that I bought the doctor a coffee cup that says, "It's All Fun and Games until Somebody Ends up In a Cone.”
Jake the Family Member
Jake is fiercely protective of the property, barking at anyone who passes outside of the gate. But once he gets the okay from us, he is as loving a dog as you could ever imagine. All of our grandkids have adopted him as their vacation dog, and all of our friends are as happy to see Jake as they are to see us when they come for a visit. I remember the moment we brought Jake home, he ran several laps around the property as if to say, "Mine! All mine!" but never made any show or attempt to find an exit. That evening, he curled up on the sofa, head in Clay's lap and sighed. Of course, we speak for him all the time, so we're sure he said, "Home."