A Jack Named Magnus And His Sister Mia

Dear Malin Reese,

I don’t cry very often. I’m not ashamed of the act and I certainly don’t suppress tears for the sake of my masculinity. It’s been well documented in these letters that my shield of masculinity is comprised of cardigans, gift cards for spa services and subscriptions to Interior Design magazines. Flimsy, at best, is my armor. The main reason I don’t cry is because I’ve lived and continue to live a charmed life. I’ve walked hand in hand with your Mom through the streets of beautiful European cities, been afforded the time to read amazing Literature, had the honor to grow up with stellar siblings and parents and best of all, I was able to watch you enter the world (Not literally. Your Mom didn’t want me “behind the curtains” and I wasn’t inclined to be the creepy Dad with his IPhone out, taking amateur video of his wife’s ever expanding lady parts). Anyways, the point is I haven’t had a whole lot to cry about in my life. But, I’m writing this letter to let you know that you will see me cry one day. It’ll be a very specific day (or days) and I’m going to be a complete, inconsolable mess. I suppose this letter is more of an advanced apology that you’ll have to see me that way.

We’ve had your dog brother, Magnus, since he was 8 weeks old. He’s all Jack Russell, all the time. This means he can be challenging. His brain never shuts off. He’s constantly scheming to find his next sock, cell phone or, in one memorable and horrifying instance, tampon. He lives to run, bound, bark and thieve. If he still had balls (sorry Magnus), he’d wake up every morning, lustily grab them and tell the world he’s King. He LOVES to be alive and is a constant reminder that it’s a privilege to be taking breaths on this Earth. One more thing; Magnus has a heart of pure gold and although you smack him, yank his fur and generally terrorize him, he LOVES you and would defend you until his last breath.

We’ve had your dog sister, Mia, since she was 3-years-old. We rescued her from a local shelter in Seattle just a few days after she was rescued from a kill shelter in Northern California. She had been abused in her life before we found her. It took months before she didn’t cower from a lifted hand in her general direction. You should know that it takes the worst kind of coward to abuse the defenseless, especially when they’re kids or animals. I have no place in my heart to find forgiveness for such filth. Mia is the exact opposite of Magnus. She finds it offensive to move quickly unless it’s to go towards her food bowl. She’s content with a warm bed and copious amounts of gentle rubs. Mia LOVES to be alive but in a softer way than Magnus does. One more thing; Mia has a heart of pure gold and although you smack her, yank her fur and generally terrorize her, she LOVES you and would defend you (though not very well because she’s a wimp) until her last breath.

Your dog siblings turn 8-years-old on January 17th. We gave Mia the same birthday as Mags to keep it easy. No matter how much I don’t want to recognize their age, they have most likely lived half of their lives. Just the thought of this puts a lump in my throat. The curse and cruelty of having dogs is that they don’t live nearly as long as they deserve. So one day, when we have to make the decision to let them go, bear with me. I’m sorry you’ll have to see me become a blubbering, weepy fool but I hope, in that moment, you realize the worth of having animals in your life.




  1. Lovely blog! I have a 13 going on 14 yr old Jack called “Mac the Jack” . He has also been extremely challenging beyond words. Even now at his age he loves nothing better than looking for a fight with what ever size dog comes his way. I can only liken him too Milo, the Jack in the film “The Mask”. Apart from being possessed by the devil, he is a lovely dog, strong, loyal, a bit of a miserable git too. Not looking forward to his parting from us eventually…..

  2. Andy, thanks for the kind words. It’s always nice to hear from other Jack owners, especially ones from across the pond. I was walking through the Battersea Park a few years back and saw 3 Jacks in the span of an hour. Amazing dogs indeed.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Christian. Most people who know me know that shortly after high school I packed up my car and left the state. Not many people know that it was, in part, so that I could say goodbye to my grandparents dog, Scruffy. He was a Chinese Shar-Pei that lived an unnaturally long life, and I had spent every summer with him from age 4 to 18. This is all a story for another day, but the point is the bonds we form with our non-human counterparts somehow brings out the best parts of our humanity. I loved the letter. Keep up the good work.

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