Monday, January 12, 2009

japhy ryder reincarnate

Jazz is different than other dogs. There is something that is instantly familiar about him to people meeting him for the first time. It's something you recognize, but it's not at all canine. Meeting Jazz is like seeing an old photograph from the 1940s. People always tell me he reminds them of someone, but never another dog. My friend Kayo in Idaho, said he reminded her of a movie star. My friend Brian in Tennessee called Jazz one of his favorite people he ever met. For some reason, this calm boy reminds people of someone dynamic in their lives.

Jazz doesn't bark. He rarely grows. He is generally silent. He doesn't care about toys, and ignores other dogs when they appear on the scene. He isn't interested in food, and abhores loud noises. He isn't scared of them, just annoyed, and he makes that clear by trotting into a quieter room when a fiddle is played or a movie comes on. He has more important things to consider, you see.

It is near impossible to get him overly excited or overly tired. When he runs on the dogsled it is with the focus of the all. His head low, his body always taunt on the line. Unlike Annie, (who certainly reminds me of a dog) she lopes along like a heavy puppy - Jazz pads evenly as if he is keeping a beat of music in his head. Yet through all this focus Jazz is genuinely compassionate. He loves to keep me company, to nuzzle his big wolf head and half open yellow eyes into my ribs while I am reading, or half awake at 4AM. He likes to jump up and place his giant snow paws on your lap and have his ears scratched. But when he's done with you, he'll slowly (always slowly) back off and head into another room. perhaps take on the couch. He loves those quilts.

He is better at being a dog than I will ever be at being a human. He reminds me of one of the old Zen lunatics. The mountain monks who went through their lives writing poetry and living haiku to haiku. Affected by nothing, but affecting everyone around them. When you meet Jazz you get a sense of relaxation, like someone is finaly on top of things. Jazz is on it. He's always on it. He never left it, so don't be silly and stop your fretting.

If Jazz was the only reason (and certainly, he wasn't) but if he was the only reason I lived in Tennessee, my time there would've been more than worth it. I can't imagine not having this dog in my life. Don't mistake this post as not loving, or caring for Annie as much, of course I do. But Jazz was my first away-from-home dog and will always be the most impactful. I don't know any other person who instantly makes me feel like the world is in a proper order. Even if I don't understand how or why. Yet he does. Jazz trots on. He is on top of it.


Blogger Mare said...

It sounds like Jazz is very special. I feel that way about my dog Zebedee. And i know what you mean about loving Annie too. It's just "different". I had Zeb and his two half brothers for 13 years and on, and still, it was Zeb who was my special one. He's gone now, and i currently have 3 dogs, but he is still my most special of all...

January 12, 2009 at 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the quilts. Reading your previous post about recieving them has inspired me to begin quilting again. I have a stash of flannel that will soon become a warm blanket for either my son or myself.

January 12, 2009 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Leiflet said...

This really made me smile. Of course i think Annie is a trooper, but yes, truth be told, Jazz is my favorite too. Some dogs just sit there and let you have their way with them, but when i would pet Jazz, it always felt like he was taking it all in. Just enjoying it fully. Maybe he really is a person in a dog suit.

My uncle told me about a native american belief that we get 8 lives to get it right. Maybe jazz is on 6 or 7.

January 12, 2009 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger sara amber said...

i have to say that for the few nights we were up there, jazz made some seriously excellent (and WARM) sleeping company.

January 12, 2009 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger The Old Man and His Dog said...

Jazz is my fav too and REMINDS me of mine, Nala. And as it turns out they are the whole reason I was turned on to your blog in the first place. I did a search for those that liked Malamutes and here I am more than a year or two later reading your blog and book. What a long strange trip.

January 13, 2009 at 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jen, One line got it exactly right.....he slowly moves away. Jazz is never rushed, not can he be rushed. For a dog that can move as quickly as he can, he is always deliberate, always thoughtful and always calm. Perfect.

January 13, 2009 at 1:49 PM  

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