Just Jacques – Q&A

“Just Jacques” features posts that are written by the handsome Westie himself and often feature only pictures of him (hence “Just Jacques”). He’s not the least bit full of himself. Not at all.

Why hello. A number of my fans have asked questions about me, so I thought I would take time out of my busy nap schedule to answer them.

jacques_Q&AQ: How can you stand being so cute?
A: It is hard, but someone must do it. It is a natural talent I was born with.

Q: Why is your name French?
A: That is like asking why the sky is bleu. It just is and it is perfect that way. My Mommy says says that I am Frettish – part French, part Scottish. I do not know about that, but I do know that I am ALL handsome.

Q: Your Mom says you nap a lot. Is that true?
A: Mais oui – of course it is! How do you think I maintain my devilishly good looks? Beauty sleep is the key.

Q: Are you a picky eater?
A: The food here is… pedestrian at best. It is a little too bourgeoisie for my taste. The water is passable, but the kibble leaves much to be desired.

Q: You are a Westie so naturally you’re pretty high strung, aren’t you?
A: High strung? Mais non! I am focused. I have a keen sense and laser focus which causes me to… BUNNY!!!! Must. Get. Bunny!!!

Q: Do you prefer squeaky tennis balls or Lamb Chop?
A: Bunny! Bunny! Bunny! Huh? What? Squeaky toys? Yes! I like them.

Q: Bones or treats?
A: Bones?? Treats?? OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH!! YES!! GIVE ME ONE! GIVE ME ONE!! NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!!!!!!

As Jacques collapses into a total meltdown while waiting for a b-o-n-e, I (Jacques’ Mom) will say, thanks for the questions. If you have any other questions that you’d like to ask Jacques, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below! Maybe next time we shouldn’t mention b-o-n-e-ses or t-r-e-a-t-ses though…

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Furry Flashbacks – LOL

In April 2010, Niko, Rocky, and I were at my then boyfriend’s house (now husband) for a family gathering. There was a ton of great food being eaten by a bunch of festive people. I noticed that Rocky had dropped off the radar and set out to find him. Once I found him, I had to figure out what in the heck he was doing – which didn’t take long. I think this series of photos says it all. I laughed so hard when I saw what he was doing. To this day, I still laugh out loud when I see the pictures. They are just so Rocky.

Look closely… and enjoy!
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Making Progress (or… Tah Dah!!)

Niko, my late Shepherd, was a dog of many talents. Rocky wasn’t far behind – as long as a treat was involved. One of the “fan favorites” was a trick we called “bang! you’re dead.” Given the name of the trick, I’m sure you can guess what it entails, but just in case… I’ll describe it to you. I would point my finger at the boys and yell “bang! you’re dead!” Niko would respond with theatrics – groaning, dropping to the ground and flopping over on his side. Rocky’s version was more “bang, you’re mortally wounded” which involved him throwing his head down and slightly turning his shoulders while keeping an eye on the treat in my hand. I’m not sure if his response was because he was too big to flop over on his side or didn’t quite get the concept. Or maybe both. Either way, that trick was always amusing – especially for younger kids.

Since this has always been a favorite, I decided I would try it with Jacques. Why not – it only took a year to teach him to shake and to speak on command?!

The first attempt was sadly funny. I had a treat in my hand and was able to get him to lay down. After that, it went downhill and fast. Jacques went through his tiny repertoire of tricks as quickly as possible, throwing himself at me in the process. Sit. Lay down. Roll over. Lay down. Speak. High five. Lay down. At one point he was moving so erratically that I wondered if he was going into some sort of doggie trick induced seizure.

I was finally able to get him stop flailing long enough to start the process over. We went through the spazzing out routine a couple of times. He was so excited by and focused on the treat – it was like I was dangling filet mignon in front of him after starving him for a week. (Just by the way, this dog does not starve. And if he says he does, he’s full of it. Just look at his belly!) Finally… after trying to nibble on the finger I was pointing at him… he flopped on his side. I was so excited I screeched and starting chanting “Good boy! Good boy!” went sent him into Doggie NASCAR laps in the living room.

Once everybody calmed down, I tried it again to see if he could do it – and he did! Sort of. It was good enough for me. Anyway, we kept working on it and over the course of two days – yes, TWO days – he was able to get it down. I was so excited I videoed it because I knew no one would believe me. I sent it to my husband and Jacques’s Auntie Gina. Auntie Gina was shocked and couldn’t stop laughing. My husband’s response was “Great! Does he know the difference between ‘bang’ and ‘roll over’?” I said, “Well, he did on that take!”

So, I want everyone to see for themselves… The first video is the first take. The second video is Jacques’s showing the difference between “bang!” and “roll over” with an unintentional homage to Rocky.

I’m so proud of how far he’s come!! We’re definitely making progress!!

TAH DAH!!!!

Are You Ready for Some Football??

I have been an avid (okay, fine… rabid) NFL fan for almost 20 years. And while I try to understand the rules and actually follow the game, I really just like to scream and yell at the TV. It makes me happy. (Except when my team is losing then it’s a very, very bad thing, but I digress.) Niko and Rocky were very young when I found my love (and subsequent hate) of football.  In an attempt to keep from scaring the hell out of them (and – I won’t lie – as a superstitious gesture), I would offer them treats for scores or really good plays. Before long, Niko and Rocky knew the difference between my hoots, hollers, screams, and yells and would either come running to reap the reward or go running to hide from the wrath. Or maybe they were running from the jerseys that I would occasionally make them wear. Whatever.

Niko eventually got to the point where he napped after our “pre-game warmup” (he knew I’d come find him to give his treat), but on game day, Rocky would always stay close by usually keeping an eye on the treats I had sitting out waiting for the next score or good defensive play. This football ritual with my boys was something I looked forward to every year. Every game day, there would be hoots and hollers and a round of pre-game high fives and good luck treats. It was just fun. It was something that I honestly enjoyed.

When Niko died, Rocky and I carried on the game day tradition as best we could, but our hearts just weren’t into it. Don’t get me wrong, Rocky would still take his treat, but he wouldn’t dance around, bark, and high five like he did before. We weren’t the team we once were.

And then came Jacques. The first football game we watched with Jacques… the poor guy. He just didn’t know what to think. I would jump up screaming and yelling like an insane person (who doesn’t love a good defensive play??!) causing him to bark incessantly and do NASCAR laps. He would stop occasionally to look at me as if to say, “Is it okay now??” Every clap, every jump up off the couch, every minor hoot from me would elicit a barking frenzy from Jacques. (Rocky, however, still only responded to the appropriate “touchdown” yell, the “interception” scream, or the “make that stupid quarterback eat dirt” holler.) I’ll admit – Jacques’ rookie season was rough, but you could tell by the end of the season that the dim little light bulb over his head was starting to go off. You could almost hear the “zzzit, zzziiit, zit” of it. My flailing and yelling would still elicit incessant barking on his part, but at least he would come to where the treats were and look at them then look expectantly at me as if he was starting to make the connection.

Jacques has a big jersey to fill. Literally.

Jacques has a big jersey to fill. Literally.

We’re entering our second season, and I have to give the boy credit. He didn’t forget anything during the offseason. In fact, it seems as though everything he learned during his rookie season has really sunk in. He still barks like crazy, but usually only during touchdown celebrations (and that’s TOTALLY appropriate!). He hasn’t picked up on the subtle nuances of my yells, but if he’s not in the room and hears me yell at the TV, he’ll come tearing through the house to get to me then plants himself in front of me waiting for his treat. Rocky has taken to parking himself by the box of treats. In fact, last week he tried to actually eat out of the box. I looked down and his head was shoved in the box. Funny boy!

football2

“I’ll just keep an eye on these for you…”

Touchdown?? Interception??  You yelled. I get a treat, no?

Touchdown?? Interception?? You yelled. I get a treat, no?

Jacques didn't like the call on the field. Or Mommy's reaction to it.

Jacques didn’t like the call on the field. Or Mommy’s reaction to it.

Game day still feels a little different. There’s still a hint of sadness to it for me because I miss Niko so much, but Jacques is definitely doing his part to be a team player. He’s even got the pre-game barking and high fiving down! With every game he’s learning the ropes and with every game I’m learning that having this new furry teammate is a wonderful thing. So, yes. Yes, we are ready for some football!!

A little post-game snooze...

A little post-game snooze… because all that barking and treat eating is hard work!

I’m So Excited!

When Jacques gets excited about something, he REALLY gets excited about it. There is no “kind of excited,” no “sort of interested.” When he sees something outside, he goes all sorts of crazy – running in circles while somehow jumping up and down, barking frantically, and whining in this high pitched tone that I’m surprised I can even hear. This commotion is so intense and so believable, that even now when I hear it I think there must be a group of burglars about to raid our home. I’ll jump up from wherever I am ready to make my stand as my heart skips a few beats. And while I’m relieved each time that there is no horde of masked men outside my door, I’m extremely annoyed and often froth at the mouth when I see that all the commotion was over a cat, bird, or leaf on the other side of the fence. (And, yes, part of my annoyance is with myself because I fell for the “OH MY GOD THERE’S SOMEONE OUTSIDE YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW OR WE’LL ALL DIE” routine again. I fall for it over and over. *sigh*)

It’s probably best for all involved that I don’t have a video of that. Your eardrums can thank me later.

This video shows Jacques getting excited over a kong-thingy filled with peanut butter. (Thank you, Auntie A2. Those things are wonderful!) He gets so excited he can’t follow basic commands. He just starts throwing his paws, head, body, whatever he’s got at my husband because he wants that kong so badly. The video starts mid-action… and luckily he’s not screaming as much as usual, but he does have quite a bit to say about the whole thing. (Again, your eardrums can thank me later.)

Since I took that video, I’ve been walking around with the Pointer Sisters’ song ‘I’m So Excited’ in my head (hence the post title). It goes, “I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.” Since there’s no song that goes “I’m so excited and I just can’t function. I’m about to go insane if you don’t give me that treat” I thought I’d stick to the Pointer Sisters’ song.

Enjoy!