It's December 2012, just a few days ago Crystal turned 14 years old. I was present at her birth. Her mother (Tia) was a Jack-Russell owned by our neighbors, and her father was a rouge Husky who's name remains a mystery. As a budding zoologist, I was invited for the birth of Tia's unexpected progeny. Crystal, the last of seven pups to emerge, fitted neatly in the palm of my hand. It was destined that her and I be side by side from that day till this. During this time she has played my chaperone as I fell in and out of love, she nursed my broken heart, she kept me warm through nights as I slogged through my studies, and in many other subtle and gentle ways she ushered me into adulthood. Now she rests at my feet, quietly waiting for our next adventure as I write this.
Having a Jack-Russell for a Mother and a Husky for a father, she resembles an African Black Back Jackal, so much so that as a young Zoology major I fooled a guard at an Eastern Cape Nature Reserve that she was a Black-backed Jackal that I was rehabilitating into the wild as part of my research. We succeeded, with Crystal having full access to the Reserve that proudly stated at the entrance "No-Dogs-Allowed!" Although Crystal and I have a deep and profound understanding of each other, she still retains a certain elusive and mysterious quality, as if she really is a wild jackal roaming territories I could not even imagine.