Joker is part 2 of the Jennifer Anderson series! She does such a great job telling the stories of her furry family members that I want you to hear from the human’s mouth! So here’s Joker’s story!
How did you know Joker was supposed to be your family?
I went to the event, where you were able to choose the pup in the order you had arrived and placed your name on the sign-up sheet. I'm a big believer in fate, and as I watched the dogs get picked, I decided that if any were left from that litter, we were meant to have a dog that day. He had told me he wanted one specific dog, the one who looked like a Shepherd, and that one was first to go. After that, "just get any". I ended up chatting with the woman who was one in line before me. There were two puppies left from that litter remaining, and we were watching a man and his wife argue over one of the Lab mixes or a yorkie. The woman and I agreed that if there were still two Lab mixes left, we would each take turns holding them, and then I would let her choose who she wanted- after all, she was in line before me, and besides, HE wanted the dog; I had Kasey at home!
I apologized to her, feeling awful. "No no no," she said, "he chose you, I can't change his mind!" I remember looking into his little weeks-old puppy face a minute later and saying, "Wow, aren't you a little Puppy Jerk." I swear he smiled. His tail was wagging, and he licked my face. I constantly say now that he is a Velcro Dog- he doesn't even get up and go to the bathroom with the pack in the morning, but waits for me to get up. I suppose that's where it started!
I remember the day that I saw Joker climb up on the edge of the bed Kasey was sleeping on and think a bark-growl-snap combo was inevitable. All Kasey did was pick up his head and sigh. Joker curled up and napped in peace, about a foot away from his big bro. I thought it was just the sweetest thing. Then, I started seeing Kasey actually 'groom' Joker by cleaning his face for him. It was absolutely adorable. That's when I started to truly let my walls down more for Joker…(when I saw) Kasey let him in more.
(Joker) would quietly sneak up behind me and then just sit and watch whatever I was doing. He would "help" with other things, like digging up holes for plants in the yard. The day I told the ex he had to leave, there was no doubt who Joker was staying with. He sat in front of me, all 30-something pounds of him at the time (he's grown to 83), growling low.
When I finally took a good look at (Joker’s) paperwork from the adoption group, I saw that he had been born in a foster home after his pregnant mama was saved from a kill shelter. His birthdate was May 3, 2013, which was the very day I was driving home with Kasey Cane for the first time. If anything at all, those two were meant to be brothers.
What's a funny, interesting story you can share about your Joker?
Every year, I travel to at least two greyhound gatherings with my Kasey Cane, and of course Joker comes along. I joke that he is a "Greyhound at Heart"! For the most part, people love to see another breed there, especially since he is their size and tends to blend in well with them. He's so docile, and such a mush, and just wants to be friends with every dog he meets. Greyhounds by nature are very friendly, and even the ones who are unsure of other breeds are usually more curious about Joker than anything.
At most greyhound gatherings, there is what they call a Fun Run, where a "racing lane" is sectioned off so that the former racers can have a chance at a full-out sprint! Someone has a radar gun to capture speed, and a photographer captures action shots. The line for it is always long. Now, the common misconception is that greyhounds are high-strung. Not so. Most greys in the line were napping. Then there was Joker. Barking at his brother, barking at me, pulling on his leash, trying to eat a butterfly, barking at the air... I could see people getting annoyed, even people who had complimented me all weekend on how well behaved he was. I didn't want him (or I!) to be unwelcome the following year, so I knew I had to do something. I had a container of bacon flavored bubbles in my bag. Yes, you read that right: BACON FLAVORED BUBBLES. Joker goes nuts for them! I put my bag down to keep our place in line, handed Kasey's leash to my Mom, and stepped off to the side with Joker. We spent the next 15 minutes as crowd entertainment. He danced on hind legs, snapped his jaws around ascending bubbles like a hungry alligator, searched frantically for ones that evaporated before he had a chance to bite them, and spun in circles to attack the ones that had the audacity to touch his tail. The same people that had been getting annoyed were now laughing! Such a relief! Some of their greys even wanted to check out the bubbles! Since then, I always make sure I have those with me if I think I may need to occupy him.
And that Fun Run? He was the fastest non-greyhound runner at 27MPH!
Who is/was Joker's biggest fan, and why?
It has to be me and his baby brother Deuce. Joker is my baby, and he is my comic relief. Kasey Cane is my rock, my partner, my protector, and my best friend. Joker is my baby, my comedian, my silly boy, and my Velcro. Deuce is our chocolate Lab/Pit/etc. mix, and he just thinks Joker is the greatest thing in the world. He relies on him from everything from wrestling partner to snuggle buddy.
Any talents, tricks, hobbies, jobs, stunts your dog can do that you can share?
It was quite the time getting him trained well enough to contain his exuberance to pass that test, and the most difficult part was teaching him LEAVE IT. To this day, if you drop something on the floor and tell him it's okay to eat it, he still looks at you as if to say, "I don't believe you. I think this is a trap. Is this a trap? I'm supposed to LEAVE IT."
What else do you want me to know, other than what you have already shared? (favorite toy, activity with your dog, etc)
Joker's favorite toy is a blue Koi from a company called Fluff and Tuff Dog Toys. We discovered them on Instagram, and after contacting them, they assured us they were indeed durable and would withstand the "excessive love" that a young Lab mix would give. They weren't kidding! Koi gets tucked in with Joker every night, and spent the night at the vet after both of Joker's TPLO surgeries. Koi even travels with us!
Joker also has an incredible skill that I never trained him for, nor did anyone...I tend to sometimes have terrible nightmares, and Joker has taken it upon himself to wake me up from them. He usually sleeps in his bed near the foot of mine, or on the floor on my side; sometimes he sleeps in the bed with me. He starts to wake my up my hitting my hand with his nose with increasing intensity. If I don't wake up from this, he puts both paws on my chest and nuzzles my face and neck, eventually barking. He makes sure I'm awake, and he doesn't stop until I make eye contact and talk to him. He will then sit up for a few minutes, watching, then will lick my hand in an almost reassuring manner before he lays back down, either on the floor by me or back in his bed. It's all very surreal, and the first few times, I wondered if it was just a coincidence. But over the last few years, this has happened at least a dozen times. I always thank him for it and tell him that I love him and appreciate it. I know some people say dogs don't understand our words, but I believe they do. He most certainly does.
If rescue organization or breeder, please share their details if you have them.
PawSafe Pet Adoption, Patterson, NY
If you have a dog whose story deserves to be told (um, all of ‘em!) then send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.