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Published on October 15th, 2013 | by Kate Elisha


I have Two Men in my Life and One of Them has a Tail

The first thing I did upon graduating from college – ok first I indulged on endless mimosas while wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life – but after that, I adopted a dog. I had grown up with animals and had been counting down the days until I was finally done with the dorm room life and could get a dog of my very own.

When that day came, I went to the local shelter and saw so many adorable faces looking up at me. But there was one pair of eyes that I couldn’t seem to look away from. These eyes belonged to a very shy and terrified, 4-year-old black lab/border collie mix, and I just knew that this dog needed me. After talking to the shelter staff and agreeing that I was up for the challenge of caring for this very timid and fearful dog, I headed home with my new dog, Jackson.

When I got Jackson home, it became quite apparent that he had never lived inside a home.  The television terrified him, as did most inanimate objects, lights and sounds.  I did discover that the one thing Jackson loved more than anything was a tennis ball and a game of fetch:)

It didn’t happen overnight, and it took a lot of effort, but eventually Jackson decided that, while he didn’t understand or fully trust the world, he was going to put his trust in me, and I vowed to show him just how good life could be.

Jackson and I were inseparable. Everywhere I went, he came with. I spoiled him rotten, trying to make up for the awful first 4 years of life he spent as a stray. Jackson was the most important “man” in my life, and boy did he know it.

And then I met a guy. His name was Stephen, and when I first started dating him, I felt like a single mother. I’d cut dates short to get home to Jackson, and I felt guilty for not spending enough time with him. I promised Jackson every day that he was still my main man. As Stephen and I began getting more serious, I knew that the two men in my life had to meet. I was terribly nervous because, honestly, I didn’t know how I could be with someone if they didn’t get along with my dog.

I guess it was a testament to how much Stephen liked me because he sure did his best to win Jackson (and thus, me) over.  He showered him with toys and humored my endless stories about every cute thing Jackson did.  Jackson, on the other hand, was not so sure about this new man in my life. It had been just the two of us before I met Stephen, and Jackson was having a hard time adjusting to sharing me.

When Stephen started staying overnight, the bed became a bit crowded with the two of us and a 50-pound dog accustomed to burrowing under the pillows. (Remember, one of the endless things that scared Jackson was the dark.) Jackson also became very protective of me, following me everywhere and conveniently placing himself between Stephen and me whenever possible.

Once when Stephen and I were feeling “frisky” and just beginning a good old-fashioned make-out session, Jackson leapt out of the closest (one of his many hiding spots) and jumped up on Stephen, making sure to separate the two of us.  As if this wasn’t enough, Jackson also head-butted Stephen right in the crotch! (In Jackson’s defense, he just happens to be about crotch-high when he stands on his hind legs)

Needless to say, the mood was killed.

For next few months Jackson made it his personal mission to make it completely clear to Stephen that there just wasn’t room for another man in my life. He became my shadow and held “guard” over me wherever I went. If I went to the bathroom, Jackson was there. When I took a shower, he sat as close to the shower door as he could without actually getting in with me.

I think I knew Stephen must be “the one” when, instead of running to the door, he laughed with me at Jackson’s ridiculous behavior.  We eventually learned that if Stephen wanted to kiss me, he first had to check to make sure Jackson wasn’t around.

Eventually things did get easier, and Jackson finally came to accept the man in our life. Believe it or not, Stephen and Jackson became very close. It’s been three years since Stephen and I met. We are happily married, and Jackson now shares our affections with one more dog and a cat. For the most part, we are all just one big happy family. Despite the “hoops” Jackson made Stephen jump through in order to join our family, not once did Stephen ever give me an ultimatum, and that is one of the things I love the most about him.

Image credits:

Kate Elisha

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Kate Elisha

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