CrackerJack Pagliocca 2/26/05 – 8/6/21
He may have arrived as “Horace” but he left this earth as CrackerJack (aka “Cracks”, CJ, The Baby, and Baby Boy), an adorable rescue beagle from New Orleans, who had been one of the many dogs separated from their owners during Hurricane Katrina. CrackerJack was a charmer, who could win over anyone with his eyes, a tilt of the head, floppy ears, and curiosity. One of his best buddies was Uncle John who took good care of him and took CJ with him to work at his record store. He developed quite a fan club there. Uncle Chris would give him lots of belly rubs and long walks when he babysat CJ. “Gramma” and “Grampa” in Pennsylvania loved his visits too, and for a time he was a soothing companion for Grampa after Gramma passed. And then there was Ginnie, his favorite school crossing guard, whom he would run to meet every day after school for a special treat. Cousin Mindy, the poodle, was not always amused at his antics, but Aunt Diana showered lots of love on him too. He certainly was not short of attention! CJ did not like car rides, but loved arriving at an intended destination, which usually included more treats, affection, and adventure.
I worked out of my home office for 16 years unless I was travelling, and CrackerJack was my assistant under the desk by my feet. We called that “going to work”, which was part of a daily routine. He would sleep horizontally in bed instead of vertically, which was entertaining, especially when we had to share a twin bed while the house was being renovated!! When I got my old piano from PA, he loved to sprawl out on the carpet next to me as I attempted to learn a new piece. Other things he was noted for loving were football (he could watch an entire game!), music, especially Bob Dylan (whom we dubbed “Uncle Bob”), and a chartreuse green squeaky named “Toy” that his neighbor Marissa gave him.
CrackerJack had typical beagle traits and was “all boy”. Besides attention his priorities were food and treats, especially chicken and salmon. CJ would nudge you if he wasn’t getting an immediate response. He was very vocal, stubborn, and focused, and pretended until the end he did not understand the command “Stay!” He detested being taunted by two ducks who came every spring for about 10 weeks to hang out on the pool cover and deck before they headed onwards.
It was difficult to walk with him, since he could stop in the middle of crossing a street without warning and want to go back to revisit a scent he just smelled. He was extremely strong and could pull quite hard, so we were limited to going around the block. He seemed to always attract new admirers.
When CrackerJack started to develop arthritis and walking became more and more of an issue, he went to physical therapy and acupuncture for a while, and although it did help for a time to slow down the progression, he finally could only walk if assisted in the back and had to wear diapers. I remember thinking when one doctor told me about expressing an older dog and she had done it herself for two years that I didn’t think I could do that, but instead I did it for 2 ½ years and would do it longer or all over again if I had to.
CrackerJack was one of a kind, and has left a big hole in my heart. But I am so thankful for the 15 1/2 years that he was with me. He will always be missed, and very fondly remembered.