By Doug Gibboney
“I want to paint my room purple and get a dog and name him Jammer.”
That was the declaration of young Rebecca upon learning that she will have her first residence. My wife Corinne and I were leaving Mira Mesa and Rebecca was staying behind and would be in charge. Our initial responses were “no and no,” but that was never going to be the final answer.
The room was painted purple. Surprisingly, it looked pretty good. And, of course, after a few rounds of research, Rebecca had found her prize. When we first encountered Jammer, he went straight up to Corinne, began licking her hand while smiling at her and wagging this wonderful tail. The deal was sealed right there.
Rebecca did a wonderful job of training her pup and as he grew, he became one of the happiest pets you could ever find. To this end, Jammer would express his delight with a huge smile and a perpetually wagging tail. So full of motion was this appendage that sometimes it appeared that Jammer would start to hover off the ground like a dog in a Saturday morning cartoon. If you could harness its power you could light up San Diego. He would bound out to greet you in front of the house, whomever you were, friend or stranger, man or beast, tail at full throttle, all were welcome.
As a result of this enthusiasm, Jammer cut the tip of his tail violently striking our metal stair railing, he wound up with scar tissue at the end of his tail, but he was not deterred. A few years later, while as he was undauntedly, wildly, wagging away, he nipped it again spraying blood 15 feet in the air and all over our walls, which we are still cleaning up to this day. The result was a loss of about six inches of that marvelous fur-covered whip.
There was another result. To provide the energy to move his tail, Jammer’s heart had to work overtime. The light that shines brightest can sometimes burn out before its time. In some ways, the size of Jammer’s heart was what eventually led to his demise. Think of how big a heart Jammer had to have in order to generate that degree of kindness and glad tidings, nonstop for 10 years. When he slept, I bet he was dreaming of spreading love and joy while running full tilt, herding his doggie friends to make sure they were going in the direction Jammer determined for them.
Too be sure, Jammer belonged to all of us. We would sometimes give into temptation treating Jammer to a hot dog and Jammer would sit in the kitchen with the hot dog in his mouth like a Cuban cigar from brother Richard. Jaqueline would reward Jammer’s enthusiasm with an occasional doggie toy. Jammer would announce the arrival of Randi, Randy and Jennifer, Carl and other visitors with glee, and with said doggie toy firmly lodged in his mouth, take it away, only to bring it back again. Also, Jammer had a special friend in Anthony to whom Jammer offered a genuine degree of trust and affection.
Now Jammer’s excitement upon seeing the Gibbo Anapols was like attending a royal cotillion, but without the dignity, and much more barking. He would lick hands and feet freely — for Jammer, the highlight of any encounter and always leading with that tail of his.
He overcame Corinne’s intimidation of his size and formidable white canines with his gentle personality and mink-like coat. Mr. Oren would scoop Jammer up in his arms (like I did with Rebecca until she was about 8) then stride around the house. The look on Jammer’s face was that of King Tut being carried by bearers paraded down for a dip in the Nile, or perhaps to the vomitorium, who knows, but boy did he like it — that’s both hes by the way. I just got to sit back and witness these shenanigans and revel in the purity. That’s love.
Jammer was everyone’s friend and a magnificent pet and companion. He provided friendship and company for all in the room, but epically for his mommy, Rebecca. They had a special and unique relationship in the three houses that Jammer called home. Jammer offered Rebecca comfort, protection (well, maybe), reassurance, confidence, but above all, unwavering, unconditional love and happiness. Jammer knew very well whom his best friend, guardian and protector was, and Rebecca was there for him and with him and for each other from their first day, until the very end.
—Doug Gibboney is Rebecca’s father and Jammer’s grandfather and ardent admirer.