Real-Life Sawtelle Dogs
Until he was too big, I kept him in my pocket. I was kicked out of [a convenience store] twice for having him in my pocket—somehow they did not believe he was my Seeing Eye dog. He is a very sweet, calm guy who follows me wherever I go. His intense way of looking at me I call the "Look of Love." He is always there to give hugs and a tail wags.
When he was 3 years old, he had a blister on his lower gum by the incisor. It turned out to be cancer. I brought him to [the vet] and he operated on Jett, removing most of his lower jaw. Now, Jett has the biggest overbite you have ever seen. This was a time in my family where there were several diagnoses of terminal cancer. I sat down with my young nieces and nephews and explained what was going to happen. They felt his lower jaw, which in a matter of a week had made his bottom teeth crooked and it felt very strange The lessons were many: This is cancer feels like; does cancer mean Jett is going to lose all of his fur? No. We had a good laugh over what Jett would look like if he was bald.
Since his operation, my Jett has taught me so much. He uses his tongue and paws as tools. He can still play Frisbee with all of his heart. He goes through life just as happy as any other dog. He protects me and guards me. He endures the comments from people, "Oh my, is that dog ever thirsty. You should get him a prosthetic jaw," or "Shouldn't you have just put him down?" On second thought, it is me who must endure the comments. Jett does not care—he is full of life and love and ready to play. But, when it comes to times when you need a hug, he is the most loving little guy who leans in with his head on your heart.