Your name: Jordan
Dog's name: Jäger
Instagram: @thejagerdiaries & @jhalloran410
Where do you live: Dallas, Texas
Tell us about your dogs: Jäger is a five year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He just turned five at the end of March.
I love meeting new "dog people" because I could talk about him for hours! He's my best friend, and I am his. And he loves his daddy (my husband).
I love educating people about chessies. They are not very common; I've only ever met two other chessies in Dallas. They are extremely loyal, protective, intelligent, stubborn, and affectionate. They can be very hard to train. His breed is also very vocal. He's always "rooing" or barking at us.
People often mistake him for a chocolate lab. He is brown, but his fur is thick and wavy. The breed characteristics are also very different between chessies and other retrievers. Labs are typically happy go lucky and friendly with everyone, and chessies are typically protective and have to warm up to new people.
Jäger is very protective of us, our vehicles, our apartment, and sometimes our belongings. A quote I love is "You can order a lab, ask a golden, but you must negotiate with a chessie."
Jäger was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy a few months after he turned two. Idiopathic means there is no known cause. Because of this, he doesn't get to live a "normal" dog's life.
We have to limit his exercise and overall stimulation on a daily basis. The heat is a major seizure trigger for him, so we spend more time indoors during the summer months. But he's a retriever at the end of the day, and his favorite things to do are swim and retrieve! He could do it all day if we let him. Sadly we don't let him swim as often as we used to because it sometimes causes him to have a seizure a day or two afterward.
We play a lot of fetch in our apartment and outside. We don't have a backyard since we are in an apartment. The day we buy a house, and Jäger finally has a backyard will be the BEST day ever!
His epilepsy diagnosis has changed our lives drastically. Chessies are known as amazing waterfowl hunting dogs. My husband wanted a chessie as his hunting dog, and we also wanted a dog that we could take everywhere with us and on many adventures. Sadly we aren't able to do this very much. He takes a lottttt of medication twice a day - at 6am and 6pm.
Despite all of this, he still lives a very happy life, and we are determined to give him the best life we can. He's a very happy, silly doggo! Jäger has a BIG personality. He can be so so serious (when it comes to food, swimming, or fetch) and other times incredibly goofy! He keeps us laughing every single day.
Tell us a little about you: I am a clinical social worker at a hospital. I love helping people, but I don't feel like working at the hospital is my passion. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do instead.
Dogs are my passion! I wish I could be a stay at home dog mom. I recently switched to a weekend schedule, and now I will get to be home with Jäger four days a week!
I love painting and drawing and used to do it all the time. I haven't for many years, and I keep saying I need to get back into it and draw/paint dogs!
I will be turning 30 in a few weeks! I married my husband this last September. We have been together for a little over 7 years. We drove from Texas to Colorado with Jäger and got married in Rocky Mountain National Park with only our immediate families (seven guests)!
I don't have a lot of hobbies. My husband is an outdoors enthusiast and has gotten me into hiking, fishing, and camping. We do these things together when we have time. Lately, I haven't wanted to do these things because if it's too hot or too far away, we can't bring Jäger with us, and I feel bad leaving him behind.
At the beginning of the year, I set a goal for myself - to run my first 5K. I am not a runner by any means, and training for it was really hard for me. Jäger jogged with me for the first few weeks of the training.
I almost gave up the week beforehand and didn't want to run the race. I ended up running it, and miraculously ran it in a pretty good time - 38 minutes! I was so shocked. Back to Jäger!
What are your dog’s favorite things (toys, treats, etc): Jäger has soo many toys. His toys no longer all fit in his toy bucket. He has a few favorites. He loves jolly balls. He has three in our apartment, one at my dad's house, and three at my in-laws' house. His favorite one is a hard one with another ball inside of it. It's so loud, and I know it must annoy our neighbors, but Jäger has so much fun with it.
I think his second favorite would be any stuffed toy. For a few years we stopped giving him stuffed toys because he would chew holes in them within a few minutes. He doesn't usually do that anymore, but he does still have to be supervised. We play fetch with them to distract him from chewing them up, which makes them last a lot longer.
We actually don't give him any treats or bones. He has the most sensitive tummy EVER. I have tried so many different treats in his lifetime, and they all upset his tummy.
When he was around a year old, we started using fruits and veggies as treats. Now some of these trigger seizures. Sometimes I feel like we're depriving him, but it's for his own good, and I don't think he knows any different. When we train with him, we use his regular kibble which he LOVES.
He's also obsessed with ice cubes. When he hears the ice coming out of the machine, he comes running full force, and if he's not immediately given an ice cube, he gets so upset and starts barking! He loves it when I put a lot of ice cubes in a bowl for him after a walk.
Why do you think of yourself as a dog mom: I don't have human children yet, but I fully view Jäger as my child. I did before he was diagnosed and much more so now. His life and well being literally depend on us.
My life pretty much revolves around him too. My husband and I plan our social lives around his medication schedule. I have friends, and I love to hang out with them, but I joke and say I would much rather hang out with Jäger. He is my best friend! I don't know what we would do without each other, and I know he feels the same way.
What was the moment you knew you weren’t just a dog owner but a dog mom: We drove to Houston to pick Jäger up in May 2015. I fell in love with him that day! He was the cutest puppy I have ever seen.
Neither one of us had ever had a dog of our own. My husband and I had multiple family dogs growing up, but this was very different. I didn't understand how I could love a puppy this much.
We had met the litter when they were 4 weeks old. When we picked him up from the breeder at 8 weeks old, we noticed he wasn't a whole lot bigger than he was at 4 weeks old. The breeder brushed this off saying it was because he was the runt.
Long story short, we took him to the vet the next day. He was severely malnourished and underweight (barley 4 lbs), had ear mites, hookworms, and giardia.
We had done a lot of research on chessies and this breeder came highly recommended. We were devastated.
The breeder denied all of this, and her only response was we could return him to her if we wanted. We knew from that day on that this puppy was already ours, he would never ever go back to this awful woman, and we had no other choice but to nurse him back to health. He was our baby boy.
What is your favorite part of being a dog mom: The joy he brings me. And the joy we bring to him. I think it's that simple.
What is your best dog mom advice: I think my advice would be to make your dogs happy. Find things they love doing and actually do them repetitively.
Also find new fun things to do with them. They don't like to be bored. Jäger has taught me to live in the moment and that tomorrow is never guaranteed.
What is your best dog mom hack: Crate train! We were very good about this until Jäger was about 7 months old.
We became lax with it and let him roam the apartment by himself when left alone, and this was wayy too early. Rookie mistake. One day he chewed the windowsill and each corner of our island.
If done consistently, crate training is amazing! Crates provide a sense of security for dogs. It's their own little safe place. Jäger voluntarily goes into his crate and sleeps often.
We crate trained up until Jäger got epilepsy. We don't feel comfortable leaving him in it when home alone for fear he will have a seizure and get too hot inside the crate.
We now have a much bigger crate for him though for when we do need to crate him for apartment maintenance needs or things like that. With our next dog, we will definitely be exclusively crate training.
What is your favorite thing to do with your dog: I have lots of favorite things. I love spending time with him and taking care of him. I love our time together on our walks. It's good exercise for the both of us. I like exploring new parts of our neighborhood together.
I would love to be able to go on long hikes with him like we used to, but we just can't let him overdo it. I love sitting on the balcony with him after a long day and have a glass of wine. He listens to the birds or squirrels and watches other people/dogs down below us.
What is one dog mom goal you have: I'd like to figure out how to stop Jäger from howling when we are both not home. We received a Furbo dog camera as a gift for Christmas 2019, and ever since then, we realized he howls when he's left alone. It's SO LOUD.
If he's really tired, he won't do it. Otherwise, he does it. We assume he's been doing it his whole life, but we never knew it. I think if and when I begin talking to him and distract him by shooting treats out of the Furbo, I am reinforcing the behavior, but I am not sure what else to do.
Fun fact about your dog: He LOVES opening wrapped presents, and he's so good at it. I think it's absolutely hilarious. My husband and I don't know how he learned how to do this.
Every birthday and Christmas we wrap presents for him, and he gets to open them himself. There are many videos of him doing this on his Instagram! I now let him open packages for me sometimes because he loves it so much. LOL.
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