How One Alabama Dog Changed this Man’s Life

Help comes in many ways, shapes, or forms. For one Alabama man, help came in the form of a dog. The saying—dogs are man’s best friend—has been used too often by too many; it often loses its depth of meaning for those who cannot truly understand. For many dog owners, however, dogs are more part of the family than mere pets. Dogs often come to miraculously fit the family they find, and this is exactly what happened to one Jack Russell terrier named Patch.

Jack Russell Terriers are known to be fearless dogs, but that’s not a trait that Patch possessed when he first came across Shane Cargo. Cargo is a Center Point resident and is the owner of Patch. Cargo and Patch became acquainted by happenstance about a decade ago. According to Cargo, his meeting with the pup has been a blessing from God. He says that he probably would not be around if it weren’t for his terrier.

Cargo believes that his meeting with Patch was not a coincidence. It happened on a regular night outside his Alabama home. Patch, a Jack Russell terrier mix, trotted into his neighborhood and happened to hide under Cargo’s car. At the time, Cargo was taking care of his grandfather, who had been ill for a while. Cargo considered his grandfather to be his best friend; they were in fact quite close. When Patch came to their neighborhood, he was scrawny. He was scared and weak. Patch was but a random shy dog that happened to come to their home.

It took a while for Cargo to gain Patch’s trust. With patience and some biscuits, Cargo was able to make a connection to the stray terrier. Since the day Patch came out from hiding under the car, the dog had not left Cargo’s side. Though having dogs indoors had been an issue with Cargo’s grandfather before, somehow having Patch was never an issue. In fact, the two had become the best of friends eventually. Cargo’s grandfather fell in love with Patch—something that was apparently easy to do. Cargo knew at that point that Patch was meant to be part of their small family. It was something that Cargo didn’t understand at first. He didn’t know then that a deep connection with a dog was possible—the way he became connected to Patch. Something just clicked. Somehow it all just fit.

In 2017, what Cargo was dreading happened to pass. His grandfather died, and Patch was there for Cargo throughout it all. When the paramedics came, Patch got scared and hid in the bathtub, but he was still there for Cargo. The Alabama man believed that God sent Patch for that very reason, to keep him company during that most difficult time. That may have been true, but Cargo didn’t know at the time that darker days were to come. As close as Cargo was to his grandfather, he was also just as close to his mother. Tragedy struck the man again just a little over a year later, as Cargo’s mother passed away unexpectedly in March 2019. When it happened, Cargo was there again for his human—even though the dog hid from the paramedics yet again.

Cargo’s mother owned two dogs herself. Upon her passing, Cargo took it upon himself to care for his mother’s dogs, Snowball and Fancy. The months after his mother’s death were the most difficult for Cargo. Times spent crying were only slightly assuaged by the company of his dogs. There were times when Cargo’s mind headed straight to the darkest of places, something that isn’t so unusual given the circumstances. However, his mind always goes back to the dogs and the responsibility he had for their care. Who would care for the dogs if he were gone? Cargo knew that the simplest answer would simply to continue on and live. He knew that he still had something to live for.

So the Alabama native trudges on. He gets up each morning to care for his furry pets, which he had long consider as his own children. Even during times when he felt he could not even care for himself, Cargo made sure that his furry babies were well cared for. They have given him a reason to keep going, and they still do.

Cargo believes that Patch was sent to him a long time ago for the very reason that he would need the dog’s company in difficult times. Cargo has been more than grateful for Patch’s company, but he knows that even dogs’ days are numbered much like humans are. According to this article, Jack Russell terriers can live anywhere from 12 to 19 years; though the average is more between 13 to 15 years. There have been reports of Jack Russell’s that have lived up to 21 years. Cargo says that Patch has been moving slower as of late, but he makes it a point to give his dog a purpose to move on. Patch always gets excited at the notion of being able to do chores and help Cargo out.

Cargo always thought that having Patch meant that he would have something to constantly care for. He always thought that he had done a good deed by rescuing a stray dog. However, he soon realized that Patch was the one that rescued him instead. Patch had done his part in caring for Cargo, and Cargo wishes to return the favor by being there for his furry friend for as long as time will allow. Their days together may be numbered yet, but they’ve shared so many important moments and such a meaningful life together. Cargo and Patch has a relationship that not many are fortunate enough to encounter, and Cargo knows exactly how lucky he has been to be in such incredible company.

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