I have something special to share with you regarding Jack. He’s learned a new trick, and you’ll never guess what it is. First, though, let me tell you a story. Jack lived most of his life with an alpha female chocolate lab named Lucy as an older sister. Lucy was 4 when we brought Jack home, and she never got over the shock of it. She didn’t like to share our attention or affection, and if she heard Jack getting some love, she always came and intruded. Over time I learned to be quiet when giving Jack love-me-ups to spare him the indignity of being pushed aside. I did my best to keep things equal, but Lucy always wanted to be best and first. She was a fierce lady lab – 65 pounds of attitude and swagger. Lou had her right knee replaced when she was six and the left one almost exactly a year later, both times without complaint or self-pity. She was angry that we forced inactivity on her. She was ready to run again after a few days post-op and it was a struggle to keep her quiet for 6 weeks. So our Lucy was a lot for Jack to contend with, which brings me back to Jack’s new trick.
Have you made a guess yet? There’s a clue in the story. For most of Jack’s life, I was quiet when giving him affection, but Lucy’s been gone for over 2 years now, and at some point, I started making affectionate noises with him. Silly noises like hum,hum,hum and har-bar-bar with the occasional argle-bargle and hubba-bub bub thrown in for variety. Well, about 6 weeks ago, Jack started making noises back at me, and for all the world, it sounds like he’s purring. His chest vibrates, and he makes these throat noises that flow out of his upside-down open maw (he’s on his back and wiggling when this happens) in waves with the steady rhythm of a cat’s purr. It’s quite remarkable and very endearing, and it seems to be a persistent new behaviour. I think I may know why. I’ve been considering getting a cat. Our last cat died about the same time Lucy did, and I miss having a feline personality around the house. It seems that Jack has been reading my mind and is trying to convince me that “we don’t need a cat, Silly Mommy.” Jack can do anything a cat can do, even purr it seems.