INTERVIEW

Pet Set: John McCook, Jackson And Daisy

“Jackson [the corgi] is 2 now. Daisy [the cat] is like 10 or 11 years old. These are our animals.”

How did you decide on names? “[Son] Jake named Jackson after Jackson Pollock, because Pollock is Jake’s favorite artist. Previously, we had a dachshund for years and her name was Maggie. Maggie Barker we called her, and she had very short legs, of course, because dachshunds do, and now we have Jackson and he’s a corgi. They also have short legs.”

And Daisy? How did she come into the family? “She’s been here since [daughter] Molly and [wife] Laurette and I went to a park years ago where they were having an animal adoption, and I said, ‘No more animals,’ because we had just lost one, and I was really adamant about it. Then, we saw Daisy and she spoke to me on a cosmic level. She just winked at Molly, Laurette and I, and we took her home.”

How do the pets get along? “They get along fine. Animals are pretty smart about who the dominant person is and who has been the longest tenant in the house and so on. When Jackson was a baby, he was very young when we brought him home, and Daisy had been here for 8 or 9 years and so she goes, ‘What the hell are you doing here? You’re the shortest dog I ever saw.’ They immediately understood the hierarchy and as comfortable as he is and as much as he thinks he runs the house, he’s wrong. Daisy runs the house and that’s just the way it is, which is obvious to all of us except for Jackson. That’s the only area where he’s not very smart.”

How would you describe Jackson? “He’s adorable and funny, and he is smart. There are breeds of dogs that are smarter than others and I think corgis rate right up there at the top of smartest dogs. They were bred for herding, because they would nip at the hooves of cattle and sheep, because they are too short to nip at anything else. When I ask him to bring the ball back and put it here, I’ll say, ‘Bring it,’ he’ll bring it and put it down and if it rolls away, he keeps bringing it back until it’s at just the right spot between my feet. He knows where to put it. I’ll throw the ball in the yard and if it goes to someplace it hasn’t been before and he can’t find it, he will look for it for an hour and he will finally find it. Jackson is like a toddler. He’ll bring the ball into the bathroom while you’re sitting there and look at you like, ‘What’s the matter? Don’t you want to play ball? What are you doing?’ And I’m like, ‘You can see I don’t want to play ball right now.’ He always wants to know what going on.”

And Daisy? “Daisy doesn’t care to know what’s going on. She is very calm, very real and very entitled.”

Do you ever take Jackson to the dog park? “Because we have a nice big yard, we don’t have to take him to a dog park to give him exercise, although we have and he loves that. He loves other dogs. Molly and [her husband] John have their dog, Maxine, and she is a very tall dog. She’s an Australian shepherd, I think, but she is very tall, and the two of them are hilarious together. They love being together.”

Who’s in charge of cleaning up the litter box or taking the dog on walks? “We actually don’t have a cat box anymore because the cat uses the outdoors. I’m not sure where she does it and I don’t need to know, as long as it’s not in the house. She’s an outdoor cat. She spends most nights out and in the morning, she’s at the door waiting to be fed. It makes her very independent and because our yard is big enough, I think she respects our property line pretty well. I’ve never seen her across the street. I have seen her next door but not very often, so I feel confident in letting her be outside at night, unless it’s raining, of course. As for walking the dog, he doesn’t have to have a walk to get exercise but he goes on walks with us all the time. However, he’s not very disciplined that way. He wants to lead and pulls and pulls. We haven’t imposed a lot of training on him when it comes to walking, but he’s not out of control.”

How are they when it comes to the crate and going to the vet? “The cat doesn’t like it. She’s done it very seldom so she hates being in the box and I get it. Jackson is okay with going to the vet. He’s like, ‘Okay, we’re going in the car now.’ I think he forgets where we’re going, and then we get to the vet and he’s like, ‘Oh, I remember now.’ He’s okay with it, though. Neither of them is fearful.”

Do you spoil them with toys? “Jackson has 732 different toys. He gets the sound. He understands that part of it, and he manages to get that out of whatever toy he’s playing with. Once in a while, I’ll go behind a bush in the yard and find something I haven’t seen for about two years. He hides them in the bushes and forgets they are there because they don’t squeak anymore and he gets bored with them. Daisy couldn’t care less [laughs].”

What about treats? “Jackson likes those little peeled carrots. It’s a good treat for dogs instead of those sweet, mealy things but we can’t give him too many because it will affect his digestive system. The cat doesn’t eat treats. Again, she’s not really interested but she loves to come and sit on me while I’m watching TV and I’m like, ‘Fine, but just don’t put your butt in my face, so sit over here.’ They’re both rust-colored animals so it’s funny to see them together because they look like the same animal when they get in a lump.”

McCook

Courtesy of John McCook

McCook

Courtesy of John McCook

 

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