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Josie Jo – an American Beauty

Josie Jo - an American Beauty

February 13, 2002 – January 19, 2006

Josie came to me at a time in my life when things weren’t so great. But that never stopped me from wanting to help someone and in this case it was small white bull terrier pup. My son named her Josie. A cute white puppy at a pet store that needed a home where someone could give her the care she needed…. and that someone was me. She was actually purchased for my son, who had wanted a bull terrier for years.

When I think of the fact that I am writing this, it crushes me that my girl is gone. But I must tell you all that Josie made so many people smile; she had so many given names (by me of course), some of them were: Goosey Loosey, Smiling Face, Nosy Josie, Smiler, Sweetness McFee, Weety, Josie Jo from Idaho, Her Whiteness, Surfer Girl, and Pretty Pink Princess, to name just a few. And as many of you know, it is these wonderful bullies and their hilarious antics that prompted me to give her these extra names.

Josie on the couchI think about the people at Pet Supplies Plus — how they saw her change from this high strung puppy that couldn’t focus into this very happy but manageable dog who lived to cart surf up and down the isles of their store — even though Target was just across the street. People would always say “hey! she is at the wrong store – her store is across the street”. And I respond by saying “No, this is Josie’s store she loves to shop and see the people who work here….she is at her store”. She always loved getting the attention from the staff and the other customers as well, and everyone that talked with Josie left with a big smile — almost as big as hers.

Josie and the 'StangAnother thing that I will never forget about Josie is that I made sure that she’d learn how to ‘cruise’ in a car. I love having a dog that likes to ride in the car and it was used as a reward for Josie. She learned to ride shot gun next to her Mama! She was always so proud when her and I went cruising usually it was up to get gas, go through Walgreens’ drive through (where she frequently was tipped for her cuteness with biscuits in the tube), the credit union (where Josie would have to stick her snout into the tube where they didn’t give her biscuits, but she felt the need to check anyway) and of course to pick up pizzas. But the pizzas always had to go in the trunk. — she was such a chow hound!

Another very fond memory I will cherish is when a good friend of mine, Kirstin, decided to have a dog party for her Wheaten terrier Maya…Josie was invited. I was really reluctant and wasn’t sure how Josie would do. She met Maya the wheaten terrier and Pringles the black lab from friends of mine from work. Josie was very cool and really seemed to enjoy herself. But I know deep down inside she was trying real hard to be the best that she could be ….and she did. She did wonderful!

I met a Midge who owned Dude. We met through the BTNeuro Yahoo group. We discovered that we both lived in Michigan…and that our dogs were distantly related. Midge and I met up in October….we walked our beautiful bull terriers together on a sunny autumn afternoon. I recall that Dude was so happy to see Josie, and Josie was just a bit edgey that day. All she wanted to do is walk — and walk we did. It was kind of cool, walking down Orchard Lake Road and getting beeps– of course it was for our dogs! I met a wonderful friend…and it was through our dogs. Sadly, Midge lost Dude in December …. and I was devasted for her. I am so grateful for our friendship. I will always treasure that beautiful walk on that October Sunday.

I must mention another very fond friend that I met through Josie: Jan and her Sadie Ann. Dude and Sadie Ann were littermates, and Josie was their auntie. The three of us women have a bond that is so unique, and it was because of Sadie Ann, Dude, and Josie. I have met so many wonderful people because of my girl Josie. Chris, Shari, Alice are just a few… but the very cool thing is we are all in this together. We cry for each other….it hurts us all the same. We are uniquely bonded as well. And even though I haven’t met in person these people, or I didn’t know their dogs, I know what is in their hearts… because mine is ticking the same way.

Josie looking out the windowJosie was my first Bull Terrier and I had read that there was something called Bully grumble…or bully talking… I laughed when I read it. And my girl did talk. She’d talk usually if I got her going, or if she was extremely content and wanted to impress someone — usually my teenaged son and his friends. She would actually say Mama, and I’d laugh so hard; my kids though I was totally nuts, but that’s ok…we were talking. I miss her being behind my couch and grumbling out maaaamaaaaa!!! It is hard when I come home and I don’t see “Her Whiteness” in the window. I loved seeing her sweet face in the living room window.

Josie after a round of hucklebuttsHucklebutts…. oh my what was wrong with me…. I can’t believe I never video taped her hucklebutting! She was so proud of her fine expertise in maneuvering her body so quickly through out our home in such a controlled way….she rocked at Hucklebutting.

Josie also loved army crawling through the house: it was kind of crazy, the way she’d throw her body into reverse and would army crawl backwards and forwards, and would go from left to right. This is often when I referred to her as Goosy Loosy.

There are so many fond memories of her that I am glad to have. I also have some very scary and frightening memories of her. The times she lashed out at my other dog Morgan, the times she lashed out at a few family members in a resource guarding way. Body language was always pretty easy to read on her. Josie didn’t always like being touched in the early days…she’d flinch. She was freaked out by the broom and the guitar and the skateboard. No reason….just didn’t like those three things. All those times when I didn’t think I could go on– because I was being drained by her so badly — then she do something spectacular…it was so Josie. She continually showed me that she had the desire to try as hard as anyone could. And I figured “I can give her what she needs because she deserves it” — she’d show me… ‘look what i can do’ …or ‘look what I am doing now’… ‘don’t ya know… I can do it’.

So many things changed in our home in the last two years for the good overall. Josie was a severe spinner with complex partial seizures but that was all handled with medications and behavioral training and things were pretty good for a long time. One thing she really never got over is when people would come to the house; she did improve considerably …but it was still there.

Josie and MorganI wouldn’t change anything. I was so very proud of Josie and continue to be proud of “The Girl That Could”. She had such a strong determination to do it. And when my girl started to slowly change …it was hard. Josie started to change very subtly in the last 4 months. …it was real hard because it was extremely infrequent. And it terrified me at the thought of going back to that feeling of helplessness that I couldn’t help her. It made me mad that she had come so far…but I wouldn’t give up on her…not unless it was right in my face (so to speak). And , well it was ….and she did. She put it right in my face…. That last morning we had together it was the same…belly rubs …army crawls and kisses… Josie wanted the kisses from me first… and instead she gave me something I will never forget…she didn’t really know what happened. And I will never forget Josie Jo: an inspiration, my little bully – “The little Girl That Could.”

A goodbye walk with JosieOn Josie’s last day, We spent it doing what she liked the most: playing with her nasty blue ball in the backyard ( it is still there where she left it…for now), taking walks (three to be exact: one from me, one from my son and one from my daughter,) eating an early dinner. I knew she detected my sadness; she came over to me about an hour before I was to take her to the vet and put her upper body in my lap and just looked in my eyes. It was a look of concern. … it was like she knew. I treasured that memory because it was as though she was saying ‘I’m sorry and it’s ok to let me go ….I am ready.’

I learned so much from our little bully girl. My life is forever changed because of her… I know that I will continue to fight for this wonderful breed and these horrible neurological demons that take so many of our beloved pets away from us too soon.

Proud Josie on her front porch

So my Pretty Pink Princess your are free. Free to run and play and be safe with the others …at the bridge… I love you Josie Jo…..

Forever and Always in My Heart…. Pam