We got Jarman as a puppy from the Guide Dog Association back in October 1998. He was such a cute little puppy, one of six in the litter. We puppy-walked him for the Guide dogs but he failed due to cat distraction and also the sounds of the trains. We weren’t sure what to do, like when they asked us if we wanted to buy him from them or let him go to another family. We thought about it for a little while then in the end decided to keep him and glad that we did. He has been the most delightful dog. He knew where he wanted to be. He wanted to stay with us of course.
On some early occasions like when he was a wee little puppy he used to skateboard on the paving in our backyard, two legs off and two legs on and down he’d go. Then we would bring it back up and he’d go again. He was so funny, wished we had it on video. We had hens too and you’d see him carrying them in his mouth without harming them and then let them go again. We also had pet budgies and Princess Parrots at different times and Jarman would let them land on him and talk to him. He even took them for a ride.
He’s been on trains, buses and trams. He’s also been in shopping centres and taken him to church. We were involved in the Pets of Therapy programme run by the Guide Dog Association then later with Lort Smith Animal Hospital, we went to Royal Women’s Hospital and nursing homes, Lionsbrae, Gracedale and Olivet. He loved to go into Gracedale because a lot of the people would give him nice treats to eat. Often when walking past there he’d stick his nose in and want to go in, but I would say not today Jarmie.
When we went to Lionsbrae I would play the piano in the main room upstairs and Jarman would just lie down at my feet and sometimes go and do the rounds by saying hello to the people there. He also loved to visit the horses in the field not far from our home. He also had some other dog friends, Bucca, and Sebastian who are no longer with us either and have a play with them. He’d also say hello to Patch (a little terrier) who when he was around Jarman always wanted to jump on top of him.
Everybody loved Jarman and thought that he was the best dog around. So gentle, loyal, loving and had a really beautiful nature. He would sit out the front on the lawn, basking in the sun, and would never leave the property and say hello to the dogs and people that walked past. He would always be at the front door to greet any visitors that came inside usually pick something up in his mouth to offer as a present. This happened a lot outside too, He’d always pick up a leaf or piece of stick and offer it to you.
Well he really loved Tuesday nights when we did the bread delivery. He would race outside and greet the people who came to collect the bread and sometimes score some as well. Probably not the best food for him but who could resist such a lovely looking face. I would shake out the crumbs on the lawn and Jarman would have a bit of a feast.
He was also a regular visitor at North Ringwood Primary School. Sometimes he would take himself there – then I would get a phone call from the principal saying, “I think we have your dog here, can you please come and pick him up.”
When he was about 7 months old Simon’s class was doing an experiment on growth and development. Jarman was used in the exercise, where he was measured and weighed every two weeks. It was so much fun. All the children loved him, saying “There’s Jarman our friend.” He became to be a bit of a class mascot.
I used to do a paper round and he’d always be there with me, attached to the trolley with his lead, he’d always stay with the trolley while I did the street or across the road. He’d never stray away from there. One time I was collecting the Pedigree pal labels from the dog tins, for the Guide Dogs, I had them all draped around the top of the trolley and Jarman still had his puppy coat at that time and I thought that would have made a really great advertisement for the Guide Dogs. Often he wasn’t even on the lead while I did the rounds and he would just stay with the trolley and not cross the roads. He was such a well behaved dog. I could leave him there and he wouldn’t move. I could do the papers on the other side of the road and he’d still be at the trolley waiting. I could even cross over the main road, Warrandyte Road and he would just stay there when I said stay.
There was a time though when I put meat up on the bench to defrost and I had gone out – when I got back it was gone. Uh Oh! Oh No! He ate it all. There was dinner gone for one day. Then another time he ate chicken fillets from the bench as well. My husband John wasn’t impressed and said if that ever happens again you are going straight back to the Guide Dogs. Well fortunately it never happened again so we got to keep him. Well actually I was reminded by my son Robert that he did steal some chicken drumsticks that I had been defrosting in the sink. He’d got them all.
He didn’t mind going to the vets either. He knew that he would get some treats. Well he really liked going to Thrifty Vet, Dr Harry Corbett, He’d always get treats there, liver from a doggy container on the counter. Often he wouldn’t move until he got one. He was probably a bit stubborn too at times. He’d tell me when he did and didn’t want to go out for a walk. I would say “Come on Jarman let’s go for a walk,” he’d just stop in his tracks and just not want to go at all. He’d yank back on the lead, “No! I don’t want to go I just want to stay. I’ve had enough walking for one day.” We’d often go visiting people too and he was always good.
He was always wagging his tail even to the last day, especially when we had group Bible study or people around, he’d be there and nearly knocking over the coffee cups on the coffee table. His tail was a good fan too especially in the warmer weather he’d wag it in front of you. He’d often dock himself in front of you and sit right on your feet.
He was also a regular visitor to our neighbours Ray & Sally who aren’t there anymore either. But he’d go and visit Ray a lot and keep him company. He’d also get treats from him. Ray would always give him an apple or the end of it. He loved his food, fruit, broccoli any vegetables really. I am going to miss you my special vacuum cleaner. He also loved his little cocker spaniel friends Molly & Misty who lived two doors up the road. Diane their owner would always give him treats there. He wouldn’t leave until he had received something.
He was a real comforter too. When Kevin came around telling me about his dad’s death Jarman was giving him lots of attention and comfort. Also when I was going through cancer myself Jarman never left my side. He was always looking out for me. He was always there for me. Thank you! Jarman. He knew what I was going through. He was loved by all.
We had him put down at 9.15am Saturday 17 March 2012; we were all there with him when he was put to sleep. Cuddling and patting his dear body. My sons Robert and Simon dug a hole in our backyard and husband John helped as well. When the hole was deep enough we lowered Jarman carefully down to his final resting place.
Melody threw some dirt on Jarman and so did we all. We all said our goodbyes. We placed his collar and lead on top of him. Then Simon filled in the rest of the grave.We love you so much Jarman, you will be greatly missed. You have been the most special best friend and member of the family. Rest in peace dear boy and no more suffering for you.