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Mister June 2016 - Jack
Oriental Dog Citizen

D
o you know Jack? For years, Towndock.net readers have asked, “Why isn’t Jack a Pet of the Month?” His humans at TownDock have been reluctant.

Jack’s eyes speak.

Jack is the TownDock dog, TownDock.net’s Chief Morale Officer. Tapping him to be Pet of the Month would seem too much like an inside job. But write-ins and questions from readers, along with Jack’s own understated charm, have brought a change of heart.

It’s time. Jack, a Pamlico Pointer, is Mr. June.

Jack is estimated to be about 12 years old. He had humble beginnings. His parentage is unknown and in puppyhood, he apparently met with abuse. What is known is that, just over a decade ago, Jack was abandoned on Teach’s Cove Road near Buccaneer Bay.

The owners of Pirate Queen Paddling lived nearby and took him in and brought him to their kayak shop on Hodges Street in Oriental. When Jack first came to Hodges he was emaciated. And pink. So malnourished was he that parts of his coat just totally disappeared. His look – and his look on life – was bleak. The Pirate Queens gave him food, love, a name (‘Calico Jack’, keeping with the pirate theme) plus his first PR job as animal-in-residence at their kayak and canoe business.

At this stage however, the finer points of PR eluded Jack. He kept his distance, distrusting virtually all bipeds. He seemed stuck to the yellow lines of Hodges; from there he could keep the entire town at a distance and still keep an eye on them. He was slow to make friends, no matter the number of legs. Jack exhibited scant interest in other dogs.

One exception was Ceilidh (pronounced “KAY-lee”), TownDock’s Nova Scotia Marsh Hound He took notice that if she approached humans and sat near them, they bestowed her with pats on the head and, more importantly to his mind, dog treats. He filed away that aspect of human behavior. Ceilidh befriended Jack, and Jack followed her home to meet her humans who came to like her new friend.

For his first few times at TownDock HQ, Jack wouldn’t go past the foot of the front steps. Today, he still likes to pass his lazy afternoons there – often under the deck where he can see and not be seen. It all puts him position to tag along for a walk with anyone leaving the house.

Around this time, the Pirate Queens moved their business from Oriental to Morehead City. Jack stayed in Oriental, and for a while, the Pirate Queens continued to feed him nightly as they drove through Oriental on the way home. But with this arrangement, Jack got lonely. His allegiances shifted and he decided to adopt TownDock.

The relationship between Jack and Ceilidh developed. (though an eventual experience at the vet’s ensured it wouldn’t go further. In Gary Larson-speak, Jack’s been tutored.)

Whenever a human leaves TownDock headquarters, Jack is not to be left behind.

A decade on, life is much better for Jack. It took a long time for him to warm to a lot of people. But the realization that there were treats to be had made him braver about approaching those bearing them.

Nonetheless, he still seems affected by the abuse he is thought to have suffered as a puppy.

One result: Jack suffers bouts of Severe Separation Anxiety Syndrome (SSAS). Whenever Jack’s human leaves his field of vision – but is within smell range – Jack feels compelled to stand vigil and wait.

For instance, he routinely strolls with his humans to The Bean, but because of Health Department rules, he cannot enter. So what Jack does instead – and this is what tourists routinely comment upon — is take the spot in the middle of Hodges Street with the very best view of the front door. This happens to be right on the yellow lines and with that line of sight, Jack diligently watches the Bean’s front door for the first sign that his humans are leaving.

In so doing, Jack serves as a traffic calming measure, a reminder of the 15mph limit near the harbor. Drivers are generally understanding. More than a few stop to give Jack a Milkbone from their in-car stash. (The MilkBones for small, small dogs and LivASnaps are the officially-approved Jack treats – a few years ago his humans had to ask that Jack’s auxiliary feeders refrain from giving him gooey, salty, fatty treats because he was putting on too much weight.)

Motorists in Oriental understand that Jack is not a rambling stray parking himself in the middle of the street.
Jack screens visitors to TownDock Headquarters

Jack doesn’t do well closed up at home if his humans are not there. (Early in his tenure, he ate his way through a set of doors.) And so he is often outside. Usually he sticks to streets near home, but he did once follow his humans to a performance at the Old Theater. As he would outside The Bean, he plopped down in the middle of Broad Street to wait for them. That road, aka Highway 55, is busier than the yellow lines on Hodges. Attendees at the theater sent an usher to let his people know. They left the theater to take him home.

Jack’s humans have occasionally used a tracking device to keep an extra eye out for him. With it, they discovered he was following his nose to food on lower Midyette Street, which also had him crossing Hwy 55.

Tracked down and scolded, Jack was brought home. After this happened three times, Jack understood that he could be a free range canine as long as he kept east of Broad Street.

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Jack’s case of SSAS also helped him develop talents as a distance swimmer. If his humans took a short kayak or boat trip in area creeks, he usually goes along. Once when a longer trip was planned and the humans tried to leave him on shore, he howled along the waterfront – part yodel, part wail – then jumped in and swam after the boat. For almost a mile. It took three times to lead him back to land and not to follow.

On another occasion when the TownDock crew dinghied out to a boat to interview the crew, Jack picked up their voices from shore and barked in their direction. They ignored him, so he jumped in the harbor and swam to the vessel.

Jack is determined.

Jack swimming during the long eye of Hurricane Irene.
Jack won’t be left behind if he can help it. It’s Jack (along with the late Ceilidh) in the Pamlico Paddle.
High water, from a Nor’easter or hurricane, gives Jack a chance to show off his free-style stoke.

While his humans have not entered Jack in any swim competitions, they’ve had no qualms about shamelessly using Jack in other ways.

What led to Jack’s starring role in so many TownDock stories? Well for one he is always close by, but it’s the close-up that makes him a great subject. He can keep a staredown going for minutes at a time – or until he gets that Liv-a-Snap, whichever comes first. That imploring head tilt adds to the appeal.

Some of those photos, however, were hard won.

In everyday life, Jack accessorizes with one wardrobe item: the classic bandanna. He owns several, in a range of colors. So, bandanas, he’s gotten used to, but other props used during his “photo shoots” for TownDock – not so much. Jack knows how to turn the human-canine tables, making the photo shoots more like field trials for photographers.

Fedoras, gimme caps, sou’westers, shades? They want him to wear that on his head? He’ll give them 1 second, maybe 2 – tops – to snap the photo.

Outside of a photo shoot, no sunglasses, no weird hat, dangling jewelry, tattoos, or anything like that. Jack’s day look is a bandana.

How to beg a dog treat in seconds. The Jack Staredown.

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Jack plays roles to usher in holidays, to make points in debates surrounding civic issues, to report on weather, and to comment on just about any current happening in Oriental.

Jack makes a better Colombo than even Peter Falk.
Jack gives a subtle nod to celebrity forecaster Al Roker, predicting the occasional hard freeze to visit the area.
Meteorologist Jack ahead of a storm.
Checking high water levels at the town dock.
After hurricanes mosquitoes can get thick around here.
Jack sends season’s greetings.

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Predicting a Super Bowl winner.
Jack always gets his Super Bowl prediction right.
Even a dog can figure this issue out.
Modeling the latest in tea cosy wear, Jack awaited the announcement of the new Pope.
As a celebrity, Jack often suffers the indignities of paparazzi.”

Jack wears his fame well. He’s always been a humble lad. (That standoffish-ness of his earjy days in Oriental wasn’t him being snobbish, just wary.) These days, Jack disarms humans with a soulful-eyed stare. Especially if they have biscuits.

Not wanting to spoil the canine, Jack’s humans decided he should not rely only on his charm or that searing staredown. Jack has been trained to do one trick for his treats. It’s a “give a paw” trick appropriate for a nautical town.

Which is to say, Jack knows port and starboard. Ask “Port?” and he’ll offer his left paw. Say “Starboard” and he lifts his right. (Chances are enhanced if one pronounces it “Stabbod” with a hint of New England accent.)

That said, and this is a big ‘however’, Jack is not above holding grudges. No amount of biscuits or coaxing will bring him back to a person who’s done him wrong in the past. With the old wounds and anxiety, he doesn’t take kindly to being kicked. Jack’s even been known to pee on the tires of cars owned by people he dislikes, and in the process he’s made his mark on the cars of a few totally innocent humans who happen to drive the same model.

Jack inspires us to give pause. It’s true that dog is man’s best friend. Jack reminds us, man should be dog’s best friend too.

Jack’s Bio

Celebrity Pet Most Resembles: Nipper, The RCA Dog

Best known for: Traffic enforcement on Hodges St, character actor on TownDock.net
Human Celebrity Pet most resembles: Tom Selleck
Favorite color: The color of his bandana that day.
Favorite snack: Alpo Variety Snaps (Liv-A-Snaps).
Personal Ambition: To maintain eye contact at all times with his humans.


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Know a pet that is a standout? Send in some details and a photo to pet@towndock.net. Tell why that pet deserves the coveted TownDock.net Pet of the Month Prize Package --- accolades, a pat on the head (snakes excluded) and a box of Milk Bones ( or snack suitable for the species).

We regret that we cannot offer a college scholarship to Pet Of The Month winners.


Animals caught near the HarborCam attempting to suck up to the judges will be disqualified.