It’s a dog’s life

Paula Tessier
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Several years ago, I was featured in The Telegram’s 20 Questions. It was such a fun experiment to be asked questions, such as what five CDs are in your collection. (For all you young’uns, the CD stands for compact disc, which holds a full album of music. Don’t get me started on albums).

The CD came before the MP3, or the ability to load hundreds of songs onto a jump drive small enough to lose in your pocket. I believe Patsy Cline and Prince were included in my answer. I have always loved both and always will.

The one question that I answered almost foolishly, was, “If you could come back in another life, who would you come back as?” My answer was easy; a dog. Not just any dog, our dog, the very spoiled Jack Tessier.

There is a reason his formal name is His Royal Highness Jack Tessier. He’s got it knocked. This sweet pup joined our family when he was just five weeks old, but now our furry boy is getting a little long in the tooth. This summer, he will turn the ripe old age of 14.

This dog has always been a master manipulator. They don’t call them puppy-dog eyes for nothing, let me tell you. His peepers have been working overtime since the day he realized he was boss of our house.

My father was always the strictest of people when we had dogs growing up. There was no begging at the table, much less actually receiving something while stretching those fur-lined eyelids open to saucer size. But once he met our pooch, the rules suddenly relaxed an awful lot. In fact, when he visits, my father always sits in the same chair at our table, and Jack sits on the floor quietly at his side, knowing full well there will be at least three bites of steak or chicken in his near future.

Now, as a senior citizen, this dog is slowing down a little. He sleeps in until noon most days, even with the rest of our house up and at ’em quite early. He ignores the early morning mayhem and lounges on our bed until his furry face has one side completely flattened out like he ran into an iron, with one of his heavy ears flopped inside-out and draped over the top of his head, making him bear a striking resemblance to Donald Trump.

You know the saying, “There’s no sense getting older if you don’t get smarter”? Well, one Jack Tessier is proof positive of that. Nowadays, if he wants a sample of something you may be eating, he doesn’t bark, doesn’t whine. This 20-pound exploiter sits, uses those big eyes of his, and will very gently, without a sound,  lift a paw and tap you — you know, in case you didn’t see him.

And because we think this is just beyond adorable, a morsel is inevitably handed over. And you know something? I swear I can see him smirk and giggle to himself, every single time. (Save the judgement, dog trainers, it’s his only bad habit.)

But here’s the thing: we don’t care. He acts old when it suits him and hops around like a young pup when he wants.

He rarely barks, doesn’t leave unwanted presents in the house for us, and is happy to have his own spot in every room of our house. He needs to be lifted onto many of those favourite spots these days, but that may be just laziness and not age. You never know with this character.

So many years later, if asked the same question — “If you could come back in another life, who would you come back as?” — my answer would be exactly the same, most especially because of the sleeping-in-every-single-day part, even if it does come with that whole Donald Trump thing.

Email Paula Tessier at

Organizations: His Royal Highness Jack Tessier

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