When we bought Juke Box (our surname used to be Box…it’s a long story…and so we always said our firstborn would be called Juke – hilarious..no?) 10 years ago, no-one ever told us that there were a million things you needed to know about owning a dog.
It was never mentioned that we’d fall for the runt of the litter, with doey eyes and the sweetest nature.
We had no idea that as a Boxer, Juke Box would be extremely lovable and intelligent in so many ways, yet absolutely ridiculously stupid in so many others. Read here if you don’t believe me!
There was no warning that as a puppy he’d keep us up half the night with toilet runs and whimpering, eat my brand new rather expensive leather high heels, among many other things, and escape so many times from our yard that the entire neighbourhood would know who he was before he hit his first birthday.
Juke even managed to escape the day I went into labour with Master Sporty. So there I was walking the streets, hanging onto random fences for dear life while I waited for my contractions to pass, looking for him. There was no way I was giving birth to anything until I knew he was safely back at our house.
We missed the part on Google that warned Boxers have many medical problems, our vet now drives a Porsche thanks to us and day trips to the Bahamas. We, on the other hand eat porridge three times a day to pay off our enormous vet bill.
Not a single person mentioned to us that the dog we swore would never come inside, would somehow make his way into our bed, onto our couch and stand guard at the end of our first babies cot when he was sleeping (that was kind of cute, the in our bed not so much given that he was a 27 kg hair shedding dog – ewwww).
We knew when we bought him that Boxers had some unique qualities, like a particular hatred for fire (they get quite distressed when camping and stamp out the sparks, kind of handy really), they think they are puppies ALWAYS and while they look like good guard dogs they will lick you to death first.
What we didn’t fully understand was that Juke Box was going to howl whenever our baby cried, would protect him from falling off anything he deemed unsafe and would generally treat our children like one of his well protected “pack”.
No-one ever told us that he would completely steal our heart and those of everyone who ever met him and then one day he would suddenly die and nothing would ever be the same again.
No-one ever dares to remind you that Boxers only average 10 years and don’t like to let on when they’re sick or in pain.
No-one ever warned us that losing your pet, your ‘firstborn’ child together, is like losing a human from your family. The grief is the same, the loss is the same, the big hole they leave behind is the same.
But in typical Juke Box fashion, he went out in style. Not any regular disease would do for our boy Juke, nope he had to go and get a rare salivary gland condition and go out as the “one in a million dog” he always was. Literally, a one in a million chance he’d get the disease that would kill him.
And to add to my grief, losing our much-loved Juke Box has meant we’ve turned into one of those families. You know, the families that can’t let go of their pets so they do this:
Now to explain to the three-year-old that her doggy is in an urn, and she’s not to knock it over. I seriously don’t want to have to suck him up in a vacuum cleaner.
Now that would be an awkward moment.
RIP Juke Box
16-11-2002 to 24-03-2013