(No animals were harmed in the making of this interview recording but some did talk, and quite fluently.)
“Wake up!!!! Wake up!!!” is what Jackson, soulful singer Jenn Bostic’s pup says to her every morning by shaking his collar. “Did you know dogs have a built in tambourine around their neck? The little jingly charms that say where I live and my name make the greatest sound when I viciously shake my head back and forth. This is how you know I’m a musician’s pup! I’m part of the choir!”
Jackson, tell me about your life before meeting Jenn Bostic and Michael.
Jackson: “When I was born, my dog parents were living on the streets and they loved me so much, but they knew they wouldn’t be able to take care of me the way I deserved. Sara, do you know the Bible story of Moses who was found in the basket? That was me! My dog parents knew that because they loved me so much, they wanted a better life for me than what they could offer. They set me on the side of the road, prayed a doggy prayer that someone amazing would, and then left me to be found by Michael, who would become my human dad.”
Jackson, what was it like waiting for Michael, your human dad, to find you?
Jackson: “I was definitely scared sitting on the side of the road because I was so young. I was only around 12 weeks old when Michael picked me up, so even though I got my official puppy training from my dog parents, I attribute my incredible intellect to my human parents. I think that’s why I’m so much more of a human than a dog. I mean, Sara, don’t you think I’m the smartest dog you’ve interviewed so far for your Celebrity Dogs and Their People series?”
Jenn Bostic: “I was on tour in Germany when Michael rescued Jackson. Michael works in the parks system and he would send me pictures of animals in the park occasionally. For example, if there was a deer, cat or dog that he saw, I would always say [back to Michael] ‘Can we keep him?’ When he found [the puppy] Jackson, I said the same thing, ‘Can we keep him?’ Michael still had the puppy the next day and said, ‘Well, what would we name him?’ I said, ‘He looks like a Jack!’ But, I’ve always heard you’re supposed to have two syllables for dog names. Coincidentally, Michael is sponsored by Jackson Kayaks and that name is constantly in our house because we always talk about Kayaking and fishing. It was always, ‘Jackson, Jackson, Jackson’ and I always thought, ‘That’s a really cute dog name.’ So,I said, ‘His name should be Jackson!’”
Had you thought about bringing a dog home before Michael found Jackson?
Jenn Bostic: “Michael and I had talked so many times about wanting a dog, but weren’t sure we were ready for the commitment and responsibility. Then, Jackson came into our lives as kind of a surprise, but also the perfect timing. As God does. Michael had a kennel set up in the backyard, and when I flew from Germany, he was still at work. I knew this puppy was waiting for me, so I raced outside when I got home and opened the kennel door, sat down and said, ‘I’m your mommy!’ It was the sweetest little moment. He was so little. He curled up in my lap and just looked up at me, and we had our first mom-moment! When you get your own dog for the first time, you think, ‘Wow, you’re mine and you’re supposed to be mine and you’re my family.’ It’’s all just part of it.”
How does Jackson the pup make you feel like parents?
Jackson: “I’m going to answer this question, because from what I know about being a kid and being in a family, I am definitely a kid to my human parents. Jenn Bostic, Michael, and I watch a lot of Hallmark movies, so I know what families are supposed to look like. Families are all cuddly and smell good. I added the smell good part, because of course I know that you can’t actually smell the people on the giant box that is a television, but it just looks like they smell good. I like to smell people. Anyway, the people on those shows are just like my family. My human mom and dad have real jobs where they have to leave me to go out into the world and then they come back and cuddle with me on the couch. I know that’s their favorite part of the day. Lucky for me, my mom gets to work from home a lot. She sings, plays the piano and guitar, and I like to sit on my beanbag chair that Auntie Sara Kauss gave me and listen.”
Jenn Bostic: “We constantly catch ourselves saying, ‘What did we do before Jackson?’
What song of yours, Jenn, would Jackson have written?
Jenn Bostic: “I have no songs about food, sadly. I feel like he’s always in a tuxedo and he’s always sitting with one paw up, so it would have to be a classy song. I’ve tried a couple of times to write a song from his [Jackson’s] perspective, but it’s really hard to do without sounding super cheesy.”
Jackson: “I would write a song called Bacon in the Backyard in the Sunshine. I really like bacon, I really like the backyard, and I really like the sunshine. Oh, I might have a verse dedicated to chasing squirrels in there, too, but I think if I add that to the title it will make the title too long. These are the techniques I’ve learned from listening to my mom and her friends write songs.”
What’s it like being the dog of a singer/songwriter?
Jenn Bostic: “He’s the best studio dog. If I’m in town, [Jenn Bostic typically tours 150+ days of the year] during the day I’ll be in my studio, and whether I’m belting a song at the top of my lungs or singing a lullaby, he’s right there curled up on my couch fast asleep. He just wants to be near me.”
Jackson: “One of my favorite things about being a studio dog is contributing background vocals to Jenn Bostic’s Live Stream concerts.”
What do you do when your parents are not home, Jackson?
Jackson: “Well, even before my parents leave, I am contemplating what is going to keep me entertained while they are away because there are so many things I can be doing. For example, there is this tub that my parents call a recycling bin that holds a lot of fun items that I like to pull out and tear up when they’re not home. Then, my parents get really excited when they come home and there are pieces of cardboard and plastic all over the house. It’s such a fun game. I also sleep a lot when they’re not home. But, that’s not as much fun as tearing up things.”
What’s your favorite activity, Jackson?
Jackson: “My favorite thing to do is go on the boat. Did you know that I can walk on water? In a canoe. I don’t actually like to get in the water, like some of my Golden Retriever friends do and, because that would get my tuxedo wet. I’ve never understood how those big dogs can handle being so soppy. To add to my tuxedo when I’m on the canoe, my parents put me in a rubber-ducky-colored life vest. I become a rubber-ducky-river-doggy and I embrace the title very well.”
Jenn Bostic: “Jackson loves his bright yellow life jacket. I can tell he feels like the king of the world. As soon as you pull out the life jacket, he knows what we are doing and where we are going. Jackson is a traveler, he likes to go places. He loves to go on walks and go on runs.” [Jenn Bostic completed the London Marathon in 2014].
Tell me about the song Wrapped that was inspired by you possibly getting stuck in the UK at the beginning of this COVID-19 situation.
Jenn Bostic: “I was in the middle of a tour and unfortunately had to come home because the travel bans started. was battling a lot of fear because I didn’t know what it would look like to not be able to spend however long this would last without my husband and my dog. That was really tough. I had to constantly choose faith over fear. We have a choice of what we are going to focus on. I had this image of being wrapped in God’s arms, and how if He really is my Father as He says in scripture, then He won’t let anything bad happen to me and He will keep me safe. He loves me. I kept that image in my mind, and when I finally got home, I decided I needed to release this song called Wrapped about being saved and loved and wrapped in His arms even in the waiting. We want to hear from Him. We want to hear His voice. It doesn’t make sense to me [all of this that’s going on in the world] but it’s not always supposed to make sense, so I’m just trying to do my best to continue to choose faith over fear.”
Jackson: “I can relate to this ‘choosing faith over fear’ mentality that Jenn Bostic talks about in her song Wrapped. Being a dog that was rescued, I didn’t know how much. I needed to trust God and trust the process and have faith that it was all going to be okay, even at a super young age. I mentioned earlier that I was so nervous when my puppy parents left me on the street to go to a better home. That took a lot of faith and belief that I would be rescued. And, if you believe in Jesus, like I do, you’ll know that I’m a great example of overcoming, trusting God’s timing, and knowing that if you believe that God has you wrapped in His best interest, it will all work out.”