Jellybean Leaping

Alenka Co

Stonebow, Australia

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 19

Artist's Description

Jellybean wasn’t built for leaping. She was born perfect, was a little princess in the show-ring, we were told, a proper little show girl who endeared herself to all. When we saw her she was three and a half years old. We were there to get a puppy. We’d lost ten year old Dozer to cancer and we missed her – the house, the garden were empty without her, the beach was no fun anymore. After two months of this we went looking for another Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

All the books on dogs advise you to choose the most energetic, the boldest one there. The Staffies came bounding to greet us, big smiles on their faces as only Staffies can give, all but one who hobbled to the safety of the house and disappeared inside. She got our attention, we heard her story and we came home with her.

On the two hour drive home not a sound from her. Had to keep checking she was still there. We stopped at the beach to give her a run and that’s when Jellybean got her name, this glossy black jellybean shape scuttling across the sand, body so close to the ground you could barely see her legs.

Jellybean had problems. She was terrified of men and little girls – I was accepted because I was an adult female like the lady who’d bred her but Ron had to work hard to get her trust. He couldn’t walk past her but she cringe away, couldn’t approach her but she’d cower. Men’s feet terrified her. Ron got her over that phobia by offering her little cheese sticks stuck between his toes. Jellybean loved food so that worked a treat. Even so it took time but once she got over her fear she was Ron’s girl.

She had health problems, horrific operations before we got her. We didn’t expect to have her for long so we tried to make the best of what time she had. It wasn’t easy. She was timid but stubborn. She had to be coaxed along with gentle words, a cross word had her scuttling back into her shell. She never barked. House trained, she’d sit by the door, quietly waiting for it to open. If I didn’t see her there I’d have a little puddle to clean up.

Jellybean was a showgirl, she didn’t know how to play. The first time we threw her a ball she gave us a hurt look, as if saying, “What did you do that for?” as the ball bounced off her nose. We’d expected her to jump up and catch it the way Dozer would but Jelly didn’t know what the ball was for. Then one day one of Ron’s ugg boots went missing. Found it in Jelly’s bed, her curled around it, mothering it. Her one pup, Gem, had to be taken from her at birth because Jelly was in a critical state. She’d adopted Ron’s ugg boot, significant that it was a boot and Ron’s. We bought her soft toys after that, Harley and Tiger and friends in Canada sent her Polar Bear. She treated them with such gentleness – Dozer would have shredded them in twenty-four hours.

She loved food. Spaghetti was one of her favourite meals. She would hear/smell the garlic as it hit the olive oil in the pan and come running, scrambling on the polished wood floor, skidding around the corners of the passage that linked the front of the house to the kitchen then stand there supervising. I used garlic, no onion – onion is bad for dogs – in the sauce. Ever watch a dog eat a bowl of spaghetti?

And she loved to go out in the boat, fishing with us. As soon as Ron picked up a rod or the tackle box she’d be out the kitchen door and around the house to the drive-way, sit herself down between the boat-trailer and the car. No way was she going to be left behind!

By her tenth year she was running and leaping on the beach, a little swagger in her walk. It was lovely to see ….. to remember how she was when we first saw her and how confident and happy she had become. And she lived the normal life-span for a Staffy, and walked the beach to the end.





Photo by Ron Co

Artwork Comments

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