Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: My Sophisticated Rake


Sentimental Sunday, it is. ---- Although this maybe off the "mark" for genealogy, I believe those furry, four-footed creatures not only enhance our humanity, but they reflect our lives and passions as well. They tell our story in many different ways --- and as we tell their stories, our stories are again told. So to my dear departed Jake, here is your story.

My Sophisticated Rake

He’s my sophisticated Rake,

He’s my sophisticated Jake.

He stays in hotels,

Eats Morels,

And he dines on steak

He’s my sophisticated Rake

He’s my sophisticated Jake

I have a friend; he goes in and out with me. Many think he is my shadow, and in a way he is. As my protector and friend, his elegantly large black form is rarely far from my side as his piercing brown eyes stare down any and all oncomers; his black ears tipped sharply alert for sounds of danger. To strangers, his always-tense muscular body is a formidable reminder that he is serious about his job as my protector. He is my Jake, my sophisticated rake, my sophisticated Jake.

For the past 14 years, Jake has staked out his domain, our house on the mountain, and my car, and me. He cares for his domain well. He greets the morning with a deep bark at his squirrel friends and deer are allowed to roam freely. (Although I do wish Jake was a bit more protective of my roses!). He allows the peacocks, jays, mourning doves and miscellaneous critters to o eat in peace, but the peacocks are not allowed on the deck. Nor are the neighbors dogs allowed on the property. Skunks, raccoons, foxes, bobcats and cougars are definitely not allowed close to the house. He’s my Jake, he’s my protector, Jake

Jake is my traveling companion. On the coastal shores he has chased birds, wayward kites, and frolicked with the children. On mountain trails his long black form races back and forth from the front runners to the stragglers, as a good shepherd always does. In the eastern desert lands his long strides patrols his camp perimeter, always alert for dangers. He has been greeted by name at our favorite hotels and motels. In the legislative warrens, he has sat at my feet, his paws elegantly crossed, and eyed Directors and Legislators with a nonchalant gaze. He’s my traveling Jake, my companion Jake.

Now that he is getting to be the elder statesman of his world, he still does all of these things. He goes in and out with me. His alert eyes scan for errant dogs and strangers approaching, --- and always watching me. His black coat shimmers in the sun and his ears pointed sharply for sounds of danger. But now --- now --- I watch out for him. No longer does he race to stretch that magnificent body to it’s fullest. Now, less strenuous and more quiet are the games we play. Now -- I always watch for big dogs and strangers that might invade his territory. His fierce heart and unflagging loyalty is unaware that his once muscular body that leaped and ran with abandon no longer matches that great heart of his. He’s my Jake, my sophisticated rake, My sophisticated Jake.

* * *


  1. He is so handsome! Obviously a gentleman who makes friends and breaks hearts everywhere he goes. Thank you for sharing him with us!

  2. To my sister Joan. Now you have gone too far.... and not mentioned one of Jake's best friends, my dog and best friend Zak who "ate coyotes for a snack". Zak was a Silky Terrior of about 12 pounds and not quite as large as Jake, but he was just as fierce and had a big heart. And he survived being lost in the wilderness for a week, fighting off coyotes and lions and the like. And was a legend in his own time. So, here it is, Zak's song, which we all delighted in singing and Zak loved to sing along and would howl at the end... and all the kids and adults would howl with him...
    And then we would all laugh.


    There once was a dog name Zak
    He lived in a little ol' shack
    Ate coyotes for a snack
    Cause he didn't wanna put then in a sack
    That's right, he didn't wanna put them in a sack.

    This big little dog named Zak
    Had a mind with only one track
    Wanted you to throw ball
    So he could bring it back.

    You may think this tale is absurd
    That Zachary was a turd
    But this big little dog named Zak
    Loved to play ball
    And ate coyotes for a snack
    That's right,
    He loved to play ball
    And ate coyotes for a snack....

    This tale will be told and told
    As years and years unfold
    About this big little dog named Zak
    Who loved to play ball
    And ate coyotes for a snack.
    He ate coyotes for a snack......

    Luv Sue
    PS I love all your writing. I am very proud of you.

  3. A beautiful tribute to Jake. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Joan, what a sweet tribute!! I loved it.

  5. What a wonderful story and a wonderfriend friend an protector is Jake. Thanks for sharing

  6. Outstanding, and there are TWO of them. Sue and Joan, both pieces touching beyond explanation. Thank you both!

  7. Oh how lovely! I so loved reading about Jake and Zak!!! I have had several four-footed family members who have come and gone on now. And I miss them each and every one! These days it's Chica [the Chihuahua] and Fred [the cat]. [Fred is destined for a complex, as Fred is a female!]

    They may not be in our genealogical family tree, but they are in our family tree nonetheless!

  8. Joan, What a wonderful tribute to your pal. He was so lucky to have lived those 14 years under your care. Thank you for sharing this.

  9. Hey Joan! Thanks so much for the comment yesterday! My dad's interest is actually military, so we cross paths with the family history from time to time. :)

    I love the Jake picture. The furry guys make the best friends, don't they? I'm going to go give mine a hug, in Jake's memory.

  10. Joan, what a beautiful story. Your words carry the reader through the story by moving the reader through different emotions artistically placed for the optimal effect. Over the past 12 years or so I have not had good experiences with pets. Family members tell my husband and I that we are not "dog people." But deep down inside I remember what it was like to love - deeply love - a dog friend. My "Jake" passed away when I was a teenager. Thank you for making me remember. Thank you for reaching in and pulling those emotions from the depths of my heart back to the surface. Thank you for sharing your Jake with me. His heart touched mine...

  11. All the comments above are awesome, and I can only add that my 'jake' was a purebred collie named "Lassie". She was bought for my big brother who was on crutches, but she adopted me as her own little person that needed her protection. Though I've loved other dogs and cats since, it is still she that stands out as my best friend, best protector. Bless you for sharing!