Miz Shoes regrets she will be unable to recap today. She and The Renowned Local Artist had to take the Noble Dog Nails (aka Lt. Commander Nails, Retired, Sah!) across the Rainbow Bridge. He was a good and loyal companion for fourteen years and will be forever in our hearts.
The Noble Dog Nails was a Jack Russell Terrier. When his vet first saw him, he warned us that JRTs tend to die early, because they are suicidal: jumping out of moving cars to chase a dog spotted in another car, running into traffic, running away, going down a hole only to never be seen again… Nails did many of those things. It took longer to train the RLA that a Jack can NEVER be off-leash anywhere without a good fence and adult supervision than it did to train Nails to sit.
Nails graduated at the top of his puppy training class, accepting his biscuit and carrying it back to his spot before he ate it. We were also thrown out of agility classes after a couple of sessions because the trainer felt that Nails “didn’t want it enough”. Which was probably a fair assessment of the situation. Nails fought an Akita and later a Golden Retriever, and came out ahead with the Akita and slightly the worse for wear with the Golden (known forever after around these parts as Cujo). He field stripped a banana tree, leaf by leaf until we had no banana tree. He caught birds, possums and bufo toads, and was smart enough to find the RLA after the first two bufos caused him to end up at the vet’s office for anti-toxin. Toad. RLA. Mouth wash. No vet. Smart dog. Nails was not afraid of thunder, nor was he afraid of fireworks, as our friends who were with us the July 4th when he seized a lit firework and tried to kill it can attest to. We got it out of his mouth before it went off.
When my father passed away, Nails jumped up on the bed, sniffed Daddy from one end to the other and then stood guard over his body, like a little terrier version of Anubis, escorting the Egyptian dead to the other side. I’m sure that my old man was waiting on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge for Nails, greeting him with a gruff “Hey, Dog.”
Nails was able to destroy indestructible dog toys. He could, and did, climb trees. He was a fearless and grouchy companion, who swam in our pool every day. He would sit like a little old Jewish man on South Beach back in the day, on the top step of the pool, with the water coming up to his chest. Then he would launch himself off the step and swim in doggie laps, a circle about 4 ft. in diameter, before going back for another sit on the step. He hated pool noodles. Whenever they were in the pool, they were the enemy and had to die. He would dive in the pool, and grab the noodle in his teeth and wrestle it out of the pool, where it was rendered harmless and could be ignored.
Our very favorite game that we played together was “Hunting Lubbers Out in India”, where Miz Shoes would wander about the back yard, a long stick in one hand and a martini in the other, Nails close behind. Once a giant yellow lubber was spotted decimating the foliage, Miz Shoes would beat the leaves with her stick, and when the lubber leaped for safety, Nails would pounce upon it, and with a quick shake of his head, kill the lubber. Miz Shoes would sing the great Bonzo Dog Doodah Band classic “Hunting Tigers Out in India” as we hunted. It was cracking good sport, and Nails was in full Lt. Commander Nails, Retired, Sah! mode, all empire and duty.
Good dog, Nails. Smart dog, Nails. Brave and loyal and fierce and handsome Nails. Sail on, little old man.