Steinbeck's Eulogy So Overdue
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org

FROM Karen Baker
July 2021

We are so grateful that he was able to pass peacefully at home with both of us beside him. You will be in our hearts forever. Rest in peace Big Boy. We love you!

Dog Steinbeck

Our dearest, much loved Steinbeck, aka Stein, Steiner, Steiny, Big Boy, Boo Boo took leave of this dimension on Monday, June 14, 2021 of his seventeenth year. Steinbeck was the third of only three, so far, in our family of companion animals to reach that milestone. I am so very, very grateful that Steiner was able to be with us for that long. Jack Russell's as a breed are renowned for their longevity, it is not unusual for them to reach an 18-20 year life span. I would not be honest if I did not confess to feeling a bit cheated that Steinbeck did not make it to the farthest end of that range. We all want the maximum amount of time with our loved ones, right? Still, I can't complain, seventeen is a long life, even if we missed his first five years.

One of the things that made Steinbeck special is that he was one of six dogs that have come to me(us) over the years serendipitously, that were white with almost identical black markings. They were various sizes and breed mixes, but all had same basic markings. I have never gone looking for a white and black dog. Actually, I have only gone looking for a dog on two occasions in my life, all of the others have found me(us) in one way or another. Sandy my first white/black, who came from the Everett shelter when I was fourteen, and Steinbeck, who came from Jack Russell Rescue Oregon, Washington, Idaho, the last one to arrive.

I had gotten the brilliant idea, or not, of adopting a Jack to be a companion to our other special needs Jack, Angel who passed 20 months ago. When I saw Steinbeck on the Petfinder listing for JRROWI, I said to myself, "That dog looks just like Jackie, I must have him." After agreeing to wait two weeks to pick up Steinbeck at the annual meeting of JRROWI near Portland, so his foster mom could bring him up, I reneged. I couldn't wait two weeks for him. I wanted him NOW, so we drove down to central Oregon to pick him up from his foster home. He was not particularly impressed with us at first. He was more interested in investigating his foster's house than meeting us or Angel, Onyx and Jeremiah. We brought him home anyway.

To be sure, we did have some challenges. Being a Jack, Steinbeck loved to give chase to our three cats in the beginning. But, being a Jack, he was also very smart. He learned in very short order to leave the cats alone. During the daytime that is. At night when the cats would prowl the house, he would jump off the bed and give chase. So, rather than crate him, then he wouldn't be able to give chase or sleep with us, I put him on a leash, with the other end attached to me. That fixed him! However, I did that for a whole year before I trusted him.

For everyone's safety we decided to take turns confining the cats and Steinbeck whenever we were not home. Well, that did not work out as planned. Every time Stein was loose, he would jump up on the kitchen counter and clean it off. I mean literally! Everything was on the floor when we got back. The last time I left him loose was several years after he had been with us. I had to go somewhere and I knew Jasmin was going to be home from work in ten minutes. I thought, "He'll be ok for just ten minutes." Wrong!!! I got an unhappy call from Jasmin, who had to clean up the mess, informing me that he had "cleaned" off the counter. I was told, "I wouldn’t do that again if I was you." That was the last time, until he was far too old to be able to jump that high. By that time all the cats had predeceased him.

Then there were the times he decided to leave the dog park at Marymoor. I always had to take the other, much slower dogs, two of them in wheelchairs, back to the car before I could go looking for him or it would be never ending. By that time he would be out of sight. The time I remember best, my friend Linda was with me with her dogs. It was dusk. Steinbeck had headed toward the Clive Mansion. Naturally I was parked in the lot at the other end of the dog park. By the time I got everyone back to my car and drove over to that end of the park, it was getting pretty dark. Linda had been tailing Steinbeck, she must have put her peeps in her car, I don't remember that part, but he wouldn't let her catch him. He was such a devil, loving every minute of his game of Keep Away! With Linda on foot and me driving the car all over the grounds, trying to keep him in the headlights, we finally got him. I remember Linda at one point saying, "Do you think you should be driving on the lawn?" My response was I did not care. My boy was more important than the lawn. I knew we could never keep up with him on foot. Thankfully, on the half dozen or so occasions when this happened we always managed to corral him before he left Marymoor Park.

On the plus side, Stein was not hyper, like Jacks are also renowned for. He could run around all day at the park, but he was also just as happy to hang on the couch with us and watch TV, or hang around the house. He had the best "sit" of any dog I have ever had. He would just do it automatically any of the times you would normally ask a dog to sit. Until the last couple of years, when I'm sure he was getting arthritic. He learned to live with the cats and not bother them. He got along with all the dogs at the dog park and welcomed all of the many fosters that came into our home. Steinbeck even let Anna use him as a chair. I have a photo of that! She would sit on him and he would turn his head around and have this "Oh please!” look on his face.

Steinbeck and Angel got along great, but they never did play together as I had hoped they would. I use to call him the Fun Police, because whenever Angel would decide she wanted to play with another dog at the park, Steinbeck would go after the other dog and get in the middle, cause a ruckus and spoil the fun. I would always have to call him back and leash him so Angel could play chase.

Steinbeck took on the job of security guard, both in Redmond and Yakima. The first thing he would do whenever we got home or the first thing whenever he went outside, there was always a perimeter check. He did that up until the last few weeks before his passing. Even though sometimes he got lost and would start circling during the last few months. One of us would have to go find him. He did not want to retire.

We are so grateful that he was able to pass peacefully at home with both of us beside him. You will be in our hearts forever. Rest in peace Big Boy. We love you!


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