The story of our little Beagle, JoJo.

There probably would be no JoJo story from us if not for his little predecessor, A little mixed breed, mostly Chihuahua, named Friskey. Friskey came to us in 1988 from and Ex Aunt by marriage, she felt like she could no longer properly care for him and was looking for a new home for him. Friskey was not exactly what my wife Brenda had in mind for a new household companion and she kind of shunned him at first and I was told if you want him, fine, but you take care of him.

I was given a certain amount of time that I could return him and almost did a time or two there at first. He was very finicky eater and I would have to get up each morning and fry an Egg for Friskey for his Breakfast and then off for a days work after carrying him to stay with my Mother, as I was still working for the Propane Co.

I was becoming closer to him and missed him when I was away from him. About two weeks after getting Friskey, Brenda, Rodney and I took a trip to Gettysburg PA. and boarded Friskey at Carlton’s Animal Clinic for a week. I enjoyed the trip, but was looking forward to retrieving Friskey.

After returning home I could see this little fellow begin to work on winning Brenda over. At first when he would jump up beside her she would push him away, but he was persistent and finally won her Heart as he had mine. From there it was almost like Mama and Baby.

After leaving the Propane Gas Co. and Starting my own little Heat and A/C business, Friskey started riding with me most every day. Most of my Customers met Friskey and he became part of my little business. Many a time the Customer would come out to the truck to see Friskey when I would arrive and some would take him into the house with them while I performed my work. If he was not with me many would ask, where’s Ole Frisk, which became his nickname.

After a few years Ole Frisk started to have some health issues and was showing his age. He would have seizures and it was Heart breaking to see his little body contorting in pain. Finally in 2001, with Heart problems and a host of other problems, we had resorted to trying to feed him water with a syringe. After no longer being able to witness the pain he was in, on Dec. 3rd, 2001, Brenda and I held him in our arms while Dr. David Carlton administered the drug to eternally ease his pain. As he went limp in our arms we knew we had done the right thing, but it’s certainly not easy to take the life of something you love so much.

That same day we put him in his little Coffin, dug the hole, buried him and had a little service for him consisting of what family members could be there, Brenda, Rodney, my mother, Sister in law Dorothy and myself. Later we ordered a stone marker and built a fence around his grave.

Ole Frisk died 12/3/2001, his birth date we didn’t know, but he was about 14 years old. I know Brenda was hurt so deeply, they had become so close, but along with my hurt I so missed having him with me each day. We had stated that we did not want to go through that again. But a family that I did work for (also friends) had gotten a couple of Beagles that I would see when I did work at their home and I Kinda fell for them.

After finding where they got theirs, Brenda and I went to Bear Creek Kennels in Parson Tn. ( Mr. and Mrs Lemer Harris) to look at Beagles. This was on or about my birthday in 2002. (Feb. 4th)

We drove up the lane to their house and it was as if we were being met by a welcoming party. I have never seen so many beautiful little long eared creatures in my life, they were lined up along the drive, they were all around the house and we had seen nothing until we saw the actual Kennel behind the house.

We were met very warmly by Mr. and Mrs. Harris and Mr. Harris started showing us the different Beagles and types of Beagles he had.

As we walked there was an especially pretty little short legged Beagle that kept running around snorting and growling at us and he would not come close. He caught my eye right away and no matter which ones we looked at I would soon have my eye on him again. I kept asking about this little loner and found he was the off spring of a Little Miss Daisy and Little T Bird, Born June 29 2001, and had been specially bred to have the particular markings and the very short legs and clubby little feet.

I fell for him and with a nod of approval from Brenda, and, us being approved as responsible enough by Mr. Harris to have one of his prized Beagles, we had a new Baby. $125.00 later and a fond farewell we started for home. A name for our new baby was already in my head and in agreement with Brenda he was Christened JoJo. JoJo would be called a few other names before finally being tamed, some not so sweet.

He was a wild one, we had to keep him on a leash or he would run off to explore the world with no regard to calling or commands, it was as if he heard nothing.

On our first Camping trip in our little Trailer, he was trying to tell me he wanted out and I didn’t understand so after the lights were out he hiked his leg on the pillow and also peed on my head, I listened more closely after that.

One time he slipped out of my van out in North Jackson and I was running after him through people’s back yards, calling and begging him to come to me. It’s a wonder someone had not called the Police on me, but amazingly though, he was no problem at all to potty train.

One day out on the job, he kept trying to tell me something and I guess I was too busy to listen. I came back to the van and rather than mess up the floor he had gotten in my large tool pouch and did his job, everything had to be cleaned. From the very start he would let us know when he wanted to go out into the pen to do his job. As it turned out later, he would sometimes hold out on number 2 for days just to get back to his favored spot in the pen. This is about all the pen was good for, he was a house Baby from day one.

It seemed that just all of a sudden he calmed down, followed commands, became very polite and well mannered.

JoJo had his favorite places to sit, a little recliner in the living room and a love seat in the den. He slept on top of the comforter at the foot of our Bed as close as he could get to my lower Legs, sometimes nearly forcing me off the bed.

JoJo began to ride with me every day on my job and the passenger seat of the van became his personal domain and took some bargaining for him to relinquish it to anyone else. JoJo and I became almost inseparable, we were together on the Job, at home or in the shop.

On Sept. 17, 2003, about 4:30 PM, JoJo was in my shop and I was out back burning some trash, Brenda called to say she was on her way home. I decided to speed things up a bit so that JoJo and I could be at the house when she arrived. I got a bucket with some gasoline in it and started toward the fire, I really for sure don’t know if I fell with the bucket or without thinking threw the gasoline on the fire, whichever the case I found myself engulfed in flames. The horror I can’t describe. I had had an employee back in the seventies that had gotten burned very bad and all of a sudden I was remembering the suffering he went through before finally succumbing to his Death. I thought, I don’t want to go through that, I’ll just stand here and it will all be over soon, but something kept telling me you have to save yourself, so I dropped to the ground and began to roll and slap at the flames and finally extinguished them. There was no way I could control the flames behind the shop, so I went inside and called 911. Fearing the shop might burn, I picked up JoJo and headed up the hill to the house, unlocked the door and knew that at least JoJo was safe. I called 911 again to let them know I was no longer at the shop and then called my neighbor next door. Janice Mclean and Bea Vandiver came over and stayed with me until the ambulance and the helicopter arrived and the ambulance took me away. Neighbor and Volunteer Firefighter, Dale Fulton, extinguished the fire behind the shop.

My next door neighbor, Dee Dee Rives, took JoJo to my Mother’s house for safe keeping and he stayed with her the entire time we were in Memphis. After a quick stop at Jackson General for prepping I was air lifted to Methodist Hospital Burn Center in Memphis where I stayed until after Thanksgiving of 2003. Brenda stayed in the hospital the whole time and was with me whenever possible. Our son Rodney was also there most of the time.

Even while I was in Memphis, JoJo was playing a big part in my life. As far as I remember, in every drug induced dream or nightmare that I had JoJo would be with me, however good or scary, he was by my side. We had grown that close.

After improving to the point that I could be wheeled outside, My brother Ronnie, sister in law Dorothy and my Mother brought JoJo to see me. My wonderful nurses assured That if I couldn’t have come outside, They would have gotten Him in to see me, what ever way they had to do it. They were some very, very caring people and they fell for little JoJo right away.

All the while I was at the Med, my Mother and JoJo were becoming very close. He was company to her, she would talk to him, He would sleep on her bed, She would let him sit in a chair across the table from her and eat at the table. (Hope she doesn’t mind me telling that) It was unbelievable how clean he was and how particular he was with his surroundings.

After Thanksgiving I came home and we stayed at my Mom’s a few days as she had bought a hospital bed and JoJo, Brenda and myself began to renew our ties.

The next Spring I started trying to get out and do some work and of course Little Jo was right with me every step of the way. He reclaimed his spot in the work van and made many new friends, everyone seemed to love him, especially the kids. He would climb upon the dash and lie there to watch me work. There were times going down the road, I would push my seat way back and JoJo would be up on the steering wheel, people would tell me later, I saw JoJo driving the van. As it turned out JoJo was my buddy, but he was definitely Brenda’s baby and was crazy about Rodney.

Nothing much took place in or around our home that he was not a part of. JoJo and I rode tractors together, we rode four wheelers, He was with me anytime I was reloading ammo or working at the shop.

After realizing that due to my injuries, I was no longer going to be able to continue with my work and with much dread, I took the big step and retired. This is a very lonely feeling after working a lifetime and being around people every day. Even though I got lonely, as long as JoJo was there I was never completely alone. We would usually find something to do or somewhere to go. JoJo became a very good listener and I spent lots of time talking to him.

JoJo had always had a few health problems and in my thinking it was much to do with the inbreeding to get the features that made him such a pretty Beagle, the pretty coat, the little short legs and clubby little feet. JoJo spent a big part of his life on antibiotics, always an infection.

Due to a recurring infection in JoJo’s prostate with much blood in his urine and stool, surgery was done to neuter him on 10/21/09. After that the prostate size seemed to have shrunk by about 25%, but could still go either way. Back on antibiotics and with a mixture of good days and bad days with many trips to vet and a few to Emergency Pet Care on weekends.

In May of 2012, He became very ill, was passing blood, vomiting, and was in terrible pain. Dr. Carlton operated on his prostate and found it to be full of infection and cancerous. He cleaned him out, sent him home with only a few days to live. We did much praying and tried to make him as comfortable as possible, watching him suffer was almost too much to bear.

We were within 15 Min. of carrying him to Emergency Pet Care to have him put down when we saw him pass some bladder stones, one so large we had to finish pulling it out. After that he got much better and jumped and played like a puppy again. It seemed though that it was a temporary thing and our trips to the Vet. And watching Him get better and than relapse was just really beginning.

Brenda’s last vacation for 2013 was to begin Mon, Oct. 21st and we had a nice little trip planned with some camping for the three of us, but on Thursday night, Oct. 17 JoJo became sick, could not pee or potty and would not eat, so the trip was called off and we stayed home and cared for Him. His condition continued to deteriorate through the week and on Monday, Oct. 28th, the same day Brenda had to go back to work, We carried JoJo in and Dr. Carlton did exploratory surgery to look for some type of an obstruction in his system, also was put on a special medication in case he might have swallowed a piece of lead in my shop. We would go by to see Him and it was easy to tell he was not improving.

I think Dr. Carlton knew this was probably his last days and knowing how bad we wanted him home with us, with a port still in his leg, he let us bring him home to die. I picked him up on Wednesday, Oct. 30th and carried Him by Brenda’s work for her to see him before heading home with Him.

It was some sad days, He would not eat and you could tell how bad he felt. He didn’t really seem to care about moving and did not do any of his usual howling or barking as he would see Brenda pull in the driveway.

On Mon. Nov. 1st, as Brenda was getting ready for work and I was still lying in bed, I heard a loud plop and thought JoJo had jumped off the bed, but Brenda said he had rolled over and fell off and she came running. He lay on the floor at the foot of our bed and I told Brenda, this is it. I called to him and as bad as he was, he tried to get up and come to me, but just fell back on his side. He lay there taking the long uneven gasps of air that are usually associated with impending death, and then his final at 6:00 AM. There was lots of crying there that morning on our knees as we Prayed and consoled our Baby.

About a year prior to his death and during one of our previous scares, I had built him a coffin and a vault and my friend Billy Murchison had helped me dig the hole and bury the vault to be ready when the time actually came. This of course made a very bad time easier by being prepared. My friend Franklin Rice being retired was available to help me. My Mother was here, our son Rodney was here and in a very somber mood, we laid little JoJo to rest. I know it must have hurt Brenda as it did me to see that dirt go in over him. Here it is Tuesday, 29th of April, 2014, six months after his death and things have changed very little, we still miss him every day and not a day passes that we don’t talk about him. Many would say to get another puppy and it will help us to get over little JoJo, but having dogs all my life, I can say JoJo was a very special little fellow and was not entirely just picked by us. We feel he was sent to us at a time in our life when we needed him so much. Yes, God looks after our needs in ways that some would consider unconventional.  A fear we have is that we would always be looking for JoJo in any other little pup; we won’t have that, and that a new pup might outlive us. People do give you a funny look when you speak of a Godparent for your Pup.

A subject that creates some controversy when mentioned, “Well” here goes. We believe that what ever it takes to make one happy in Heaven, then God will provide. I’m not implying that animals have Souls, but that if you love it enough, it will get to Heaven with yours. I brought this up with one of my Preacher friends during a conversation and he looked at me in disbelief and replied, “Why” if that were true we’d have cockroaches and pests of all kinds in Heaven, and just to pee him off, I replied, I suppose so if someone loved them enough. Seriously though, I believe when we get to that Beautiful Cabin in the Sky we will be met by our loved ones that have gone on and there will be much hugging and greeting and there will be that lick on the hand from Lil JoJo, Friskey, Sugar and the other little four legged creatures that were part of our lives waiting to greet us. Rest in Peace Lil JoJo, there might be another little companion in our home, but none will ever take your place. If there is another one, I hope God sends it to us also.

 

H.W. Maness Jr. (J.R.)

With approval of my Beautiful and loving Wife Brenda L. Maness

April, 29, 2014.

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