Farewell, old friend

“How lucky I am to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard” - AA Milne


This past Sunday I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my constant companion for over 13 years.  While it was hard to say goodbye knowing that I would never again have my pre dawn and 4pm alarm clock, my sous chef / dishwasher, my reason we could never kill a fly in the house, and my best cuddle buddy... I just can’t help feeling so lucky to have had the privilege of his friendship.   Many of you knew and loved Jack and will share in mourning his loss as well, so my hope is that this note will be a bittersweet send off to one of the greatest dogs I will ever have the pleasure of knowing.  


Jack came into my life in December of 2005, the second I saw him, I knew he was the dog I wanted.  I can remember doing a kettlebell workshop at a park in Atlanta and I had him tied up to a tree near where we were working. He was young, maybe 5 months at the time and the next thing I knew he was right next to me with a fragment of his leash dangling from his collar.  He had chewed right through his leash to get to me and he spent the rest of the workshop sleeping or playing right next to me. That was pretty much how he spent the rest of his life, right by my side. When I opened the gym in the late fall of 2009, Jack was on duty and ready to scare away all of the stray cats, dogs, deer, vagrants, and UPS delivery men.  He took his job very seriously, and while he waited for danger to present itself he was always more than willing to let you throw a tennis ball for him or give him a treat. On his work breaks, he had the amazing ability to make the couch look like the most comfortable thing in the world. 


For almost 5 years it was pretty much just me and Jack.  We must have celebrated a lot of birthdays because somewhere in this time, Jack developed a strange affinity for the song Happy Birthday.  Man, he loved to sing that song and if we started to sing it, he would run in from another room and join right in. Not any other song… just that one.  Around the same time Jack earned the nickname, ‘The Dalai Lama’ because he would become absolutely insulted if we attempted to kill a fly or cockroach, sorry Palmetto bug that found itself in the house.  He would literally get up, leave the room, and not look at you for about an hour.

When Tat and Noki came into the picture, though he seemed accepting of an addition to our duo, this is about the time that he learned of his magical ability to open up bags, cabinets, and garbage cans.  Seriously, people always assume that the locks on our cabinets and closets are for our kids… nope, 100% for Jack.  


  Our family grew again when Tucker arrived in our house in 2013.   Jack quickly realized that this little blob was a virtually unlimited source of food.  If Tucker was eating, Jack could always be found right under his chair. This arrangement only changed when Oliver was introduced, after that, Noki got Tucker and Jack got Oliver (Tucker is a much better eater than Oliver).   Jack quickly became a pillow, chair, assistive walking device, and crash pad for both of our children. He took his job seriously and was thrilled when Tucker learned how to throw a tennis ball!  


Jack retired from duty at KORE in 2017 when the family moved to Mississippi for Tat’s job.  In Mississippi, I worked from home so he and Noki would help me walk Tucker, Oliver, and Tat to work every morning then retire back to the house for some long mid morning, noon, and afternoon naps under my feet.  


Just last week Jack made an appearance at KORE for what we didn’t know was going to be his farewell tour, he positioned himself right next to his treat jar (a mason jar with a lid) and anytime someone would come over to say hello, he’d look them in the eye and tap his treat jar with his paw.  


There are so many little things about Jack that I will miss, but I am so thankful to have been lucky enough to have earned the right to call him my best friend for 13.5 years.  I am also so grateful to all of you, who loved him so much as well. I am fairly certain that there are a very few amount of dogs out there who have been loved so well, by so many.   

Jackson Matthews (10/28/2005 - 8/4/2019)

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