Beth Howard/Farm and Ranch LivingThe expression “big things come in small packages” surely was created for Jack, our 16-pound container of brains and brawn. Jack is 100 percent terrier—half Jack Russell, half Yorkshire—with all the energy, willfulness, fearlessness, and barking that label implies. He may be smart and possess the bulging muscles of a body builder, but he lacks the self-awareness to realize that, no, he is not a Labrador or a Rottweiler and therefore should probably not charge toward a dog six times his size to protect his ball. (These are secrets your pets won’t tell you.)
Beth Howard/Farm and Ranch LivingJack is 13. Given the way he lives his life on the edge, it’s a miracle he’s survived this long. He has been run over by a van, attacked by a coyote, and locked in the jaws of a pit bull. His curiosity has led him astray and pushed him to eat things that have landed him weeklong stays in the hospital. And that doesn’t count all the near misses. (Did you know your dog knows these things about you?)
Beth Howard/Farm and Ranch LivingHe is exceptionally well-traveled—Paris, New York, Mexico, Mount Rushmore—and his size enables him to ride inside the airplane cabin. He now lives leash-free on our Iowa farm, where he herds cows, swims in the ponds, climbs on hay bales, roams the fields, eats steak bones, and rides in a pig manure-scented pickup truck. (And by the way—dogs have these superpowers that humans just don’t have.)
Beth Howard/Farm and Ranch LivingFor all the stress he causes, he makes up for it with his comedy, which includes running full speed with his hair blowing back, carrying a log around as if it’s a little stick, rolling over for a belly rub, or wanting me to point my blow dryer at him. The best, though, is when he leaps onto the bed to snuggle. His attention span lasts only minutes, but I cherish the time—even when he leaves his muddy paw prints on the down comforter.
These dog jokes will have you rolling on the floor.