Ode to a Sheltie

I've been out of sorts for a while, and I'm blogging for therapy today:

I have three Shetland Sheepdogs. On Sunday Tucker kept vomiting back up water and food. Monday we called the vet, they advised bland rice and water to call if things did not improve. Tuesday morning he was gone. I found him stretched out and completely lifeless.

I was-am- devastated.

I drove to the vet. After a consultation and his shock was as deep as mine-Tucker was only 7 years old. The Vet says they get 20 dogs a week vomiting, but only lose one per year and we decided we needed to know why. In Nashville there is a state-run pathologly lab for animals. For a small fee they do the whole "CSI" thing and eliminate possibilities until they get to likely answers. I dropped him off at 10 am and had an answer at 5. A pleasant surprise that the answer came so fast... they must have started as soon as I walked out the door!

They found a golfball sized tumor in his abdomen. No symptoms that we could have foreseen brought this. He was proper weight, had no reactions or pain... nothing we could see was wrong.

The tumor was a relief because at least we know there was nothing we could have done differently.

Tucker was the "middle fur child" for our house. He always liked to be the intercessor for animal and human incidents. If the cats got into it, he would yelp at them and get between them. If I was fooling around acting like I was "attacking" my wife he would bark and try to get between us.

Tucker would also "sing" along with my wife. He would howl in different pitches as she sang "la la la" he would accompany with "arrooooAaarooo yip Arooo".

He had a love for thing that dogs are not supposed to eat, particularly chocolate. One night he found a whole bag of chocolate chips and ate them. He then threw up a big brown circle. He ate it and threw up again... we had 4 chocolate circle stains in our carpet the next morning. One thanksgiving we put the chocolate cheesecake too close to the edge of the counter... he got a third of it while we were in the other room. (That was also a clue as to where he got those chocolate chips.) The worst time was the mink oil: we found him in the closet where he had opened and licked an entire can of mink oil for leather. It literally waterproofed his insides and you can't wash out mink oil with soap and water... I had to shave his backside!

He was a spectacular frisbee catcher, he made backflips and corkscrews to grab the toy. We would take him to the park and he always gathered attention, being the "Lassie Dog" everyone wanted to pet. Tucker was so gentle that the cats even played with him.
He was so curious about babies, but kept his distance after a few good ear tugs and hair pulls. He also learned that babies were a good source of crumbs to catch so he was always underfoot at meal times.

Tucker would go ballistic to chase the squirrels in our yard. We could just say "squirrel" and he would race to the door to get out. He never caught them. I think that was just part of the expressing of his herding instinct. There are paths in the woods around our home where he always ran the same course over and over again chasing the elusive varmits.

He was my alarm clock for the 6 am potty times. He also kept dropping the ball on my head until I would throw it for him. I wish I had thrown it more. I think once I knew this day would come that I would wish I had done more.

I just didn't expect it so soon.

I will miss you Tucker.