Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jazz: The Miracle Dog

Today marks the 4-year anniversary of our family's adoption of my favorite dog in the whole wide world:

I never thought that we would be able to own a dog because My Man is terribly allergic to animals.  He had childhood asthma which was often made worse by exposure to animal dander.  I told my kids that they wouldn't be able to have any pets with fur on them.

Hairless cat = YIKES!
When my daughter was in third grade, she started to beg for a dog.  We had been through the wringer as a family around that time with Hurricane Katrina and all that entailed: leaving the only home my kids had ever known, living in an apartment for almost a year (my son and daughter had to share a room for the first time), and changing schools and towns a few times.  We were looking for a way to break the sadness that we all felt and establish a sense of normalcy again.

Once we bought a house, My Man started to investigate hypo-allergic dog breeds.  I didn't hold out much hope that it would work for him, because once when we were single and I was house-sitting for a friend, he came to visit.  Within a half hour he had hives all over his face and arms, and he was wheezing badly.  I knew that his allergies were very real and nothing to mess with.

But My Man wanted to make his little girl happy.  He suggested a Bichon Frisee or a Poodle.  My old college roommate has a Bichon, so I sent her one of my husband's t-shirts so that her dog could lie on it for several weeks.  When we got it back, my husband wore it for several hours to see if it would bother him.  Miraculously, it didn't seem to cause any issues!

So he scoped out PetFinders, and one day he found an adult Bichon Frisee that needed to be adopted.  On that Saturday four years ago, my daughter and I drove to an animal shelter about 20 miles away to inquire about the Bichon, but I feared that he might already be taken by the time we got there.  I remember praying on the way down that if it was God's will, we would love to have a dog but not at the expense of my husband's health.

Jazz was in a cage with lots of other dogs when we got there.

I remember him jumping on me, and I was a little concerned about that habit.  My daughter, Jessica, though, was already smitten.  Another thing that concerned me was that the shelter couldn't guarantee that Jazz was a purebred.  I called my husband, and he said that we should go for it.

The rest is history.  We took this little dog home.  The first thing we did was give him a name, and we all decided we wanted a name with a New Orleans' connection.  Biscuit?  Saint?  Beignet?  Finally someone shouted, "Jazz!"  Music to our ears!

Jazz Band in New Orleans' French Quarter

And so it was.   And it has turned out to be a very apt name for our lively, spirited and personable little furball.

Jazz around the time of his adoption in early 2008
Jazz was so thin and dirty when we got him.  We suspect that he was on the streets for awhile, but it was clear that he had been someone's pet in the past.  Unfortunately, when I brought him to the vet a few days after we adopted him, he was diagnosed with heartworm.  Great.  More sadness and strife?

I called the animal shelter and questioned why they didn't share this huge bit of information with us, and they claimed to have run out of the testing kits and didn't know.  Yeah, right.  They told us that we could bring him back (and they would probably put him down) but they wouldn't help us to pay for the expensive (and dangerous) treatment (we're talking $700 and 6 weeks of peace and quiet in a household with 2 kids who had never had a dog!).  How could I tear Jazz away from my kids?!  He was already a part of our family!

All ended up well, and our Jazz's presence has been priceless.  He has added so much laughter and joy to our lives.

Jazz after playing with the kids in the snow
He is expressive and lovable and cuddly.

 He is part of our family.  Our kids sometimes accuse us of loving the dog more than them!  Ha ha!

My Man and Jazz--No sniffles, just smiles!
Me and the Best Dog Ever

Thanks for the unconditional love, Jazz!  Back at ya, buddy!

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