Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Tigger!

Tigger, my Dalmatian, turns 13 today. In Human years that is 65 years old.

I will recant the story of how Tigger came to be in my life. She came as a rescue and she was almost one year old. Actually, 11 months, 28 days, when we got her. Jim and I were running a Dalmatian rescue service for dogs in need of placement. Usually that was dogs from a kill shelter, but we took on all needs.

We got a call in early February. A woman telling us about her dalmatian that got hit by a car and can we help? I spoke to her and learned it was just a female puppy and she was holding her leg up but not in pain. I tried to get them to bring the dog to me and then in learning where they lived, it was a 3 hour drive. A little out of the normal range for our rescues. I gave her some suggestions and told her to go to the vet to have the leg looked at and then get back to us.

A few days go by and she calls back. She said they can't afford to go to the vet and they have to get rid of the dog because " the smell is horrendous". I will never ever forget that phrase and how she said it. We talked some more and she said that the dog was a pure breed from her brother and she was born on valentines day the year before. They said she was outside most of the time and got loose and got hit by a car. Jim and I agreed to go see her. We contacted a local vet ER surgery office and let them know she would be coming in later that day.

Her name then was Digger and they brought her inside (she had been living outside in a kennel) and hooked her up in the basement. Apparently she got bored and chewed a couple toes off - not feeling them because of the nerve damage. The husband wrapped them in gauze and then in duct tape to keep her from chewing the gauze. She had 3 layers of duct tape wrapped around her leg when we got there. We met her and she was happy, jumping around and licking our faces. She was craving attention. Jim got to work and cut the duct tape off and yep, the smell was bad. Her leg was gangerous and these people didn't even know it.

We got them to sign release papers and we got her out of there. At the hospital the doc said it would have to be an amputation. He would perform the surgery and see how she did. He said she had a great attitude and was already used to walking on just the three legs for the last couple weeks so he was hopeful. I had posted on a dalmatian message board about this and members there sent in donations. Ove the next week they sent them directly to the doctor with her name attached. It was amazing to get that help from people I had only known via online. See, the internet was all very new back then, but the friendship you could find was real.

When we were driving her to the vets her name got changed. It went from Digger to TIGGER. She was a bouncy bouncy bouncy gal. Her happiness just made me think of the real Tigger and how he was always happy no matter what happened.

Tigger came to live with Jim and I and our other new rescue adoption - Mercury. At first we had to keep them seperated because of her stitches and drains and such. They touched noses through the baby gates and got used to each other. We kept her in a room designed just for her. A big old couch, food bowls and toys. Jim would go in there in the evenings and just sit with her. He would have some comics and read and snuggle with her. She had no problems with the collar she had to wear to keep her from scratching. It is called the cone of shame, but she had no shame, for her it was just one more thing to deal with and she dealt.

She has been a strong dog even with having just 3 legs. She will pull you down the street on the leash or push you out of the way when she wants outside. She is a wonderful couch snuggle dog friend and loves to play tug of war with the rope.

I can't imagine the last 12 years without having her and Mercury around. They were a great dynamic duo.

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