Rochelle Keane, Gleaner Writer
A dog is a man's best friend, and Javed Jackson has 11. The owner of one Dobermann and 10 Rottweilers, Jackson has to find the time to care for his pets and give them all the attention they deserve.
"I try to give them equal amounts of attention in the mornings when I wake up. When I go outside, I am greeted by all, but I have to acknowledge each. We then take a run so they can chase me for a while; then we spend the rest of my time playing with sticks. I let them jump for the sticks I have and then let them wrestle each other for them. At the end of my day when I get home in the afternoon, they greet me by the car and, if I stay in the car too long, they begin to jump on and circle the car until I get out."
Jackson first got Sacha and Wallie (the Dobermann) as guard dogs. After they had pups, he just couldn't find it in himself to part with them. These dogs are like humans and full of personality. Wallie is the oldest and has been with Jackson for six years. But when describing who the leader of the pack is, Jackson boasted, "I am the leader of the pack. My deputy is Wallie. I know this because he is the ringleader and, when I am not around, he tries to dominate the others. But his dominance is now being challenged by his son Bem-his."
Jackson describes Rottweilers as being very devoted, self-assured, obedient, calm and fearless dogs, so it is easy to fall in love with this pack, because they all share the same temperament. Although Bem is one of Wallie's pups, they are two of the same - extremely alert, and both know where their loyalties lie - an intelligent pair which is the reason for a need to decide who is to be next in line for Jackson's right hand. The other males in this group of 11 are the three rascals, LeBron, Bosh Bear and D-Wade. These pups were named after the Miami Heat's basketball players because of Jackson's love for the NBA team.
With six females in the group, it's hard to control everyone during the 'mating' season. Jackson has his hands full and has to restrict the movement of the boys while his 'girls' are in heat. Sometimes it means keeping Wallie and Bem tied up at different areas of the yard. Jackson has to answer to Sasha, Zena, Killer, Digit, Squig and Lucky. Uncertain how to describe his favourite dog, Jason noted, "I don't think I have a favourite, but I've been told I favour Zena and Sasha." Jackson has had Sasha for five years and Zena for three, and respect their level of protectiveness of him and his family. A family friend revealed, "You have to acknowledge Sasha, she is the queen, and if you don't, she won't like you." According to Jackson, "I smile when I see how protective they are of me. I will be standing among them and, if one of them is playing too rough with me, they will turn on that dog. I also like how loyal they are even if I scold them, they still come running to me. But they also get jealous if I'm giving my attentions to one and ignoring the rest. They will try and get in-between."
The levels of difficulty managing so many dogs increase during feeding time. "They all know they won't get fed until everybody is calm and I'm ready to serve their food. So they wait patiently. If they are loud and barking at the neighbour's dogs, I whistle and they all will come running. And when I'm letting someone into the house without locking them up first, I have to walk to a corner of the yard, call them and stand between them and the house. But it all depends on the situation at hand."
Most dog owners treat their pets like a part of the family, as does Jackson, who noted, "I treat them like my kids, they are like family. Last year, we lost Argus - the Great Dane, the gentle giant of the yard. He showed no sign of illness at all. One day, I went to work and got a call that he passed. We had a ceremony and laid him to rest in the backyard."
Jackson has never felt any fear with his dogs, despite their breed, which many say are aggressive, he knows they respect him. "Dogs are loyal and their reaction to you is dependent on how you treat them. I have given thought to acquiring other breeds, but it would be best suited that the dog is of a similar temperament, which is why my lot can stay as is."