By all accounts, Jenny was just a mutt. A little less than a year-old, black and brown, with floppy ears, a large head and big feet attached to a puppy’s body, she was rescued from the Clovis Animal Shelter.
But John Samuel Kelm will always remember Jenny as a lifesaver.
John Sam, a second grader at Ranchvale Elementary, and Jenny met each other last May, when John Sam’s mother, Amanda Wright, bought her from the shelter.
“He took her pretty much everywhere he went,” Wright said. “When she was a little puppy she slept with him. And he was learning to take care of her, to feed and water her.”
On Oct. 18, John and Wright’s boyfriend, Otis Shawger, were walking through a vacant lot behind Wright’s house on County Road R, west of Clovis.
Shawger and his dog had already gone ahead when Jenny hesitated a moment, then rushed in front of John. That’s when a rattlesnake that had been hidden in the grass appeared. The snake bit the dog three times.
A local vet treated her, but Jenny died the next day.
Wright said John Sam didn’t show much emotion at first — “I think he was trying not to be a baby,” she said. But a day later she found him in their bathroom having a good cry.
“He said he was ashamed of himself, but I told him it was all right. He loved her,” she said.
Did the dog really rush in front of the boy to save his life?
“John thinks she did,” Wright said. “He thinks she was his angel.”
And what does John’s mother think?
“I’m just really glad it was her and not John,” Wright said. “But, I think she was a really special dog.”