Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thoughts about Black Jack's origins

I adopted Black Jack from Ginger's Deathrow Rescue in Seattle, as told in one of my first posts.  I'm a bit of a hide-my-head-in-the-sand type, and when Ginger (or maybe it was Tanya, the foster mom) told me Black Jack had had a pretty rotten start to life, I didn't press her for details.  I assumed she might have been a BYB story, as it looked to me like she had had at least one littler, or maybe escaped a bad situation, and become a street dog, or some combination of those possibilities.  All I knew was what Ginger's web site explained - that she (or a hired driver) drove down to a California shelter every once in a while, picked out a dozen or so dogs from those slated for euthanasia (she said about 50 were killed every other day), brought them back to Seattle, had them neutered and vet-checked, and posted them with Pet Finder.  Ginger also described Black Jack as a Pug/Chihuahua mix.  I paid $450 for her, and didn't begrudge that at all, thinking that any money going into the rescue of more dogs would be well spent.  

I sent Ginger a good news story about Black Jack, but she didn't acknowledge it or reply to my e-mail.  Maybe she was hoping for an added donation, or maybe she was just too busy rescuing and arranging adoptions for more dogs.  I did notice that the foster mom is no longer posted at her site, but mostly, I was just happy that Black Jack has a good life now.

One day, out of curiosity, I googled "dog" and "Black Jack" and came up with this link to a horrible site, which promotes a breed called "treeing feist".  You can see a disturbing picture of squirrel carcasses lined up on the back of a pick-up truck, with bullet holes through them.  The apparent value of this supposed breed is that they find and tree squirrels, so that yahoo owners can shoot them for "sport".  Anyone knowing my love for squirrels and all animals, will understand that this web site remains in my mind as a horror show.

If anyone goes to that link, there is a picture of a dog called Raging Rocky at the bottom of the page, born in 2003, and one of the names listed as offspring of Raging Rocky is Black Jack (no pic shown at the site). I've put a picture of Raging Rocky in this post at the left, and one of my Black Jack at the right. Not a perfect comparison, since my pic doesn't show Black Jack's curly tail, nor her hind legs.  It's hard, though, not to see some similarities in their pictures, although there are also some pretty distinct differences like Black Jack's longer legs.  Black Jack is definitely obsessed with squirrels, so of course, there's always been a little question in my mind whether there is any link between her and that awful web site.

Just posting this for the record, and in case anyone has thoughts or knowledge about Treeing Feists.


  1. Just to comment on my own post: I checked out the link to Ginger's rescue, and, contrary to my statement that she didn't acknowledge my good news e-mail, I found Black Jack in her happy tales ( or equivalent) section. That made me feel great! I doubt she's a Treeing Feist at all, but finding that site did start some wheels turning.

  2. How interesting, Carol! I have never heard of that breed, nor of the "sport" (arrrghhhh!) of squirrel hunting.
    There are certainly similarities between the two images. I googled the breed and found some pictures of Treeing Feists which were similar and some which were quite different, with much broader faces. However, since breeding them to a standard doesn't appear to be a concern of Treeing Feist breeders (according to one of the sources - Wikipedia, I think), one would expect considerable variation.
    I've always wondered if Black Jack didn't have some Min Pin in her gene pool. There's something about her that reminds me a lot of some of the minpins I have met.

    You know, for about #100 you can get your dog's DNA tested to find out what breeds it contains. However, I understand that the test is not highly accurate. Personally, I think she is a North American Squirrel-Watching Black Dog.

  3. I always thought Black Jack had a little Jack Russell Terrier in her background. The high prey drive would explain some of that too.

    And, I agree with Jean that you could find out with a DNA test. And that Treeing Feists might not have a standard yet as well.

    I explained all the steps of "Leave It" over on my blog for you today too. This way all the info is at your fingertips so the two of you can work at your own pace, when you're feeling up to it. Keep me posted as to how it goes and let me know if I can help any more!

  4. The treeing feist looks rottie-sized to me, not black-jack sized.

    If you have traveled to places where dogs breed without a care in the world for conformation you know what they end up looking like -- smart, smallish, short fur, mostly brown or black -- fit for survival. I know a couple such dogs living in Vancouver and I refer to the "breed" as "Mexican street dog". Black Jack is that kind of dog in my books, which is a compliment. I had just such a dog in Uganada and he was smarter, tougher and more loyal than any dog I have had here.

  5. Great comments here, everyone. Thank you! Min Pin, North American Squirrel Watching Black dog, Jack Russell, and Mexican Street Dog - I think you have all hit it about dead on - who needs DNA testing with such helpful bloggers! Watching Black Jack's street and social skills is a real lesson in balance between submissive, play and stand-up-for-herself attitudes. She gets it right about 99.9 % of the time, but she also sees no shame in looking to her humans, if ever she suspects a situation beyond her capabilities to diffuse.

    dp, hope home visit is a good one. Jean, hope you're feeling much better, and OG, I just visited your blog. I'm very excited to get going on this, and will keep you posted.