Sunday, 14 October 2018

Girl (Dog) Power in Jack Russell Dog Detective

The Jack Russell series comprises twelve stories about Jack and his world. This includes for strong female characters. 

Jack tells the story from his point of view but although his landlord/master Sarge is his person (it's a dog thing) he holds Sarge's aunt Miss Tidge Russell, is equal affection. Since Auntie Tidge has been an affectionate and hands-on presence in Jack's life since puppyhood (no doubt she minded him when Sarge had to work away) he misses her horribly when Sarge is transferred to Doggeroo. Luckily, Auntie Tidge, who is just about retirement age, decides a country change is just what she needs. With Auntie Tidge back in play Jack is a happy dog. His love for her makes him extend his affection to include other girl-characters. 

He soon warms to Caterina Smith, who lives at Uptown House and who owns the rather hair-brained Lord Red Setter. Caterina and Auntie Tidge become good friends which is just as well, since Sarge marries her. 

Then there's Jill Russell, the gorgeous girl dog who lives at the station. Jack adores Jill, who treats him with brisk common sense throughout the stories. Jill is a part of the Jack Pack, which is Jack's name for his dog-friends. She's the sensible one whose wide knowledge of cause and effect comes in handy for them all. When Jill has a litter of pups, she has to sit out an adventure, but she still gives advice from the basket. They're Jack's pups too, so he makes it his business to visit. Jill is pleased when little Preacher, the smallest pup, goes to live with Jack and Sarge.

The fourth member of the Doggeroo girl power group is Polly Smote. Polly is a miniature dachshund who belongs to Gloria Smote, another friend of Auntie Tidge and Caterina. Polly has a sharp nose and sharper opinions and she uses both to demand answers and information from Jack. She always knows who's been eating what, and she, like Jill, sees consequences before they happen. She's a Jack Pack member but Jack treats her often with wary respect. She helps keep the erratic Foxie in line, but she has a soft spot for him.

Seeing the girl (dog) power group through Jack's narration means we don't see them the way they see themselves, but Jack is a pretty good observer and his affection for Auntie Tidge (not to say his respect for her decrees) gives him a good role model for his future dealings with the females of both species. And yet... before Auntie Tidge even, there was Ace, Jack's mother, whom he still sees on occasion as Sarge knows her owners. Ace comes along to Sarge's wedding and Jack's cup (and his ham supply) runneth over.  One of Jack's daughters, Trump (named after famous historical dog and carrying on the Ace/Jack/Trump card theme) has her own series which was interesting because we got to find out how someone of Jack and Jill's line dealt with the males of the species... (and that's species in plural...)

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