Darlene knew at an early age that she loved animals. She inherited her love of animals from her father who treated their family dog, Wags, as one of his children. Later when Darlene married Michael, she brought to the marriage her two best friends, Jake and Hobie, her beloved cats who had been with her for 16 years. However, Darlene had never seen anyone as allergic to cats as Michael, but Michael loved Darlene so Michael knew that they would find a way to live together. Even with baby gates restricting the cats to certain rooms, Michael still lived with itchy eyes and a runny nose until the cats passed on a few years later. Afterwards, Darlene’s heart ached for another “little friend,” and so several years later, together Michael and Darlene started searching for a dog and eventually adopted Jackie.
Jackie is Darlene and Michael’s only child—primarily because Darlene and Michael met late in life. Darlene was 46 years old, and Michael was 52 years old. They wanted to apply to the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest couple who married for the first time without prior marriages or children. Their wedding invitation read, “In our 20’s, our families thought that each person we dated might be the one. In our 30’s, anytime we mentioned the opposite sex, a flicker of hope rekindled in them. In our 40’s, they wrote us off saying that we would never get married. Now after a lifetime of looking, we are saying, I do.” Waiting a lifetime for each other paid off in a big way since they both have the marriage of their dreams.
Darlene and Michael created the family they have today when they adopted Jackie, who continues to fill their lives with joy. Darlene and Michael realized that they wanted to share Jackie’s true stories of kindness, bravery, and friendship in the hope that Jackie can warm the hearts of others as well. Animals have a lot they can teach people, and Jackie has taught Darlene and Michael a lot. Darlene and Michael hope you enjoy Jackie’s stories based on real events in their lives.