The Tail Of Jax, The Dog Lost At Sea

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Once upon a time there was a little stuffed dog.  Since he was a little stuffed dog he couldn’t breathe or eat or even bark like a regular dog. Instead of “ruff ruff”, he liked to say “riff riff”!

But he was a dog just the same. This little stuffed dog was born a humble stuffed animal, made from cotton and stuffing and plastic parts.

He was a bit on the small side with a tongue that didn’t ever want to go back in his mouth.

His family didn’t talk much because sewing machines aren’t the talking type. They didn’t even give him a name. When it was time for him to leave, they said bye. Just bye. So all the little stuffed dog could say was bye. “Bye!” He had to leave because he was going to be shipped in a box from a place called China to a store that had a machine with a big claw hand. He traveled over with many of his other stuffed animal friends in the box.

When he arrived to the store with the big claw hand, he realized this was his new home for awhile. Persons would put money in the machine and try to win stuffed animals like himself! But he was not really sure if this machine would accept him. Seemed like his lot in life was machines. That big claw machine wanted to do nothing but eat quarters and dollar bills, and one by one, he saw his friends taken away. He hoped that there was something or someone out there better for him. He just knew that this was where his new family was going to meet him. He thought, “one day, one day.” He hoped that they had the skill to pluck him out along with many quarters.

He sang a song every day to keep up his hope.

“I am a dog without a home,

I’m stuck in a machine with nowhere to roam.

But if you bring your change and practice I bet,

You’ll rescue me, and I’m the cutest one yet!”

As he sat there hoping and waiting with all the other stuffed animals, a little girl person came up to the machine with quarters! The little stuffed dog just hoped she had enough.

The little girl person wanted to win the little stuffed dog so much! She fell in love with him right away! She tried and she tried to get him.  And he waited and waited some more. He was about to give up hope because she was down to her last quarter! Then, all of a sudden, that big claw hand in the machine came down, grabbed him and lifted him straight up! It wasn’t a pleasant ride to say the least. He hung on for dear life! When he couldn’t hold on anymore, finally, the claw hand let go and he fell down…down…down into a dark bin! But he was there only for a moment when the little girl reached in and pulled him out! She was so happy! She danced around and around and now he was dizzy! Dizzy with happiness too! You see, family doesn’t always have to be where you came from. Family can be wherever you go. That’s just a fact of life that he was starting to learn. As he was carried out of the big store away from that big claw monster thing, he knew that his life was about to get good. He spent days with the little girl person in her room playing, and nights tucked in to a warm bed.

One day, the little girl’s big parent persons decided that they were going to take something called a vacation on a big boat. And when the little girl packed him in her bag, he couldn’t believe it! He was going to get to go on a vacation thing too. The last time he had been on a big boat, he had been in a box! But this time was going to be different! As he climbed aboard, the little girl person told him that it was going to be a fun time and that she loved him and that she would give him a cookie later. He was ok with that. Maybe even a cookie could convince his tongue to go back in his mouth! He couldn’t wait for that cookie!

As the little girl person was showing him the water below, all of a sudden, a big wind came. The stuffed dog found himself falling even further than when he was in the claw machine. Down, down, down, he fell! And he didn’t stop falling until he landed in the water. He heard the little girl person yelling for him, but he couldn’t swim. His sewing machine parents had not taught him how to swim, only how to sew. And that wasn’t helping. He saw the boat pulling away. Away, away, away! He heard one last thing from the little girl person. She said bye. Just bye. So all the little stuffed dog could say was bye. “Bye!”

It was at that point that the little stuffed dog had flashbacks. Flashbacks of his life in China, the box he was shipped in, and the little girl person saving him. He knew that the chance of making it out of this situation was a pretty bleak one. But he resigned himself to the fact that perhaps an octopus family or a shark family was looking for a dog like him. And he held onto that hope. You can’t ever give up hope. As he floated up and down in the sea that night, he went to sleep, tired from the fall and then…then he woke up.

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When you wake up sometimes, it takes you a minute to remember where you are if you are a travelin’ dog like the little stuffed dog. He opened his eyes and saw sand! He saw shells! He saw a beach! And he saw two big dogs not made out of stuffing staring at him! Where was he? What beach was this?

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All of a sudden, another Girl Person lifted him up and put him in her bag. She told him that everything was going to be ok. This was going to be ok. The first thing this new family did was give him a name. He had never had a name. But everyone needs a name. They told him that he washed ashore on a beach called Jacksonville. But he was too small for a long name like that. So they shortened his name to Jax.  And he really liked the sound of that.

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That day, Jax got a new family, a new home and he even got a bath! His family said all of this was something called rescuing. But whatever they wanted to call it, Jax knew that it was good.  Jax missed his old family in China, he missed his little girl person, but he didn’t miss that claw machine.

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Jax learned that the dogs that rescued him were named Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake. He had a name just like them, only shorter.

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They told him that they weren’t looking to rescue a dog that day when he washed ashore.  But they told him there was just enough room in their little house on wheels called an RV that they lived in. After all, he was a very small dog.

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Brickle and Digby told Jax that his days of traveling were not over, but that he would always have a home with them wherever they went. Jax liked the sound of that, and he was even happier that they didn’t live on a boat!

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You see, when you are born a humble stuffed animal and shipped far away, you can find love.

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And you can find love even more than once. Jax never gave up. In fact, he gave in. He also fell in. Because you see, sometimes it takes some of us longer to find our family. Sometimes, we have to realize that our family can find us. Even when it seems we are lost at sea.

And they all lived happily ever after.  

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Jax, Take The Wheel

This is Deputy Digby Pancake. I have something to talk about and if you smell pancake breath, it isn’t me. I am still under this bland food diet and it has given me a lot of time to think.  So listen, and if you see a crumb on my nose, it is a sweet potato treat and I don’t like it.  Except that I do, but I will not admit it.  Now.  Back to what I was talking about.

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Sometimes, it’s better to be a follower. You don’t have to make decisions. You don’t have to answer for decisions. You don’t have to worry about leading. That’s why I let Sheriff Brickle do all the leading. But he even gets tired now and then and again. Sometimes, it sure is nice to let someone take over and let someone else take the wheel. Brickle admits it too. But if they take the wheel, we do ask that they don’t go too fast. I’m a Deputy. I always obey the speed limit and have been known to drive five miles under as Granny Person used to tell us to do.

So when it was time for us to continue down our road of adventure to the next place at the beginning of the week, which we had no clue where that was, we asked Jax where he wanted to go. But we already knew the answer.

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You see, Jax has been a little down in the dumps lately because we were camped at a dump.

Jax was feeling a little bit homesick. And we were all feeling a bit tired from the last week when I got so sick.

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If there is one thing that can make you feel refreshed, it’s the beach. The waves, the sand, the sounds. And so, we agreed with Jax. He should be able to look at his ocean again.

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He should be able to reminisce about us rescuing him last year from an untimely end.

Jacksonville Beach, Florida was a very good idea. It was time for some fun, fun, fun!

Now. I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m still not feeling all back to normal. Some days I feel a little more tired. And we are all learning as a family to make decisions every day that are good for all of us. And Jax has always helped us to see since we rescued him that even if you are at your lowest point and even about to sink to bottom of the ocean, you have to try.

And I’m trying. We are all trying.  Even Girl Person who got bit by a tick this week and I am not going to tell you where.

Jax made it clear that when someone in your family or a friend of yours needs to push a reset button, you need to help them. Because helping them helps you.  And helping is what families are all about.

They say that you can’t go home again.

Well, I am going to disagree.  If you leave your home, things may not be the same when you get back.  But neither are you.  And that’s more then ok.

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If you go home again like Jax, that means you are strong.  That means that you aren’t afraid to remember the past.  That means that you were strong enough to take your past and live your life.  Not everyone is strong enough to go home.

When you go home, it will be waiting for you.  Home always waits for you.

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Letting Jax take the wheel this week was good for us all.  We don’t know how long we will be here yet.  Or what comes after this.  But for now, this is home to us too.

Deputy Digby Pancake

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