Our dear friend, Tiny

A man named Happy named Tiny.  I used to get their names confused all the time.  Happy was my son’s first roommate when my son was only a teenager and decided to live on his own.  He wanted to take our dog, Free, with him.  Of course, I said no.  

I lived twenty miles outside of town in the hills of the beautiful Blueridge mountains of North Carolina when my son left home.  I took Free to spend the night with him two, maybe three times.  Each time I had left her with him, I woke up around 2am hearing Free’s footsteps in the house, only to realize she wasn’t there.  I couldn’t stand the feeling, so I drove into town, knocked on my son’s door and demanded that Free come home with me.

My son was quite serious about her living with him, which I couldn’t believe, but the bigger surprise came when he called one night to tell me he had gone out and found himself a dog. 

“I got a Rottweiler,” he said.

My heart sank.  He was not ready for the responsibility and I was especially concerned about the breed.  Images passed through my mind that I never wanted to see realized.  Fortunately, they never came to pass.  I don’t know how much my prayers had to do with the way Tiny turned out, but I prayed every day about it.

“Please God,” I asked.  “Please don’t let Tiny be a really big dog.”  I remember saying this prayer many times, until Tiny was about a year old.  I knew then that he would never be the Rottweiler my son had expected.  Also as fortunate, is that my son loved the dog Tiny became.

Tiny love here

You can scroll down to the end of this post to view Tiny’s photo gallery.

It turned out that the Basset Hound in Tiny is the predominate trait.  His little legs are somewhat bowed.  As a youngster, he always slept nearly upside down on the end of a bed or sofa , with all four legs in the air and his giant head falling toward the floor.  He hunts like a Basset Hound.  He plays like one.  And of course, he has those eyes!  He howled like a hound dog when he had a girlfriend, and he had several until he moved to the country.  He met Ruthie when he was five years old and she’s been his only girl ever since. 

Tiny recently had his eleventh birthday, which makes him the elder in our home.  He’s also the cutest member of my family.  His soft floppy hound-dog ears and big brown eyes melt most people’s heart at first sight.

Tiny licks his nose!

As you can see, Tiny isn’t so tiny. 

My son was going to name him Wilbur, which would have fit his personality.  The vet once suggested “Hoover,” to honor the power of his large and terrific nose.

For most of Tiny’s life, even with his relatively short legs and cute features, his large head and a healthy dose of Rottweiler has caused men to walk backwards down my front porch steps.  They were repair men who worked for the landlord and didn’t know us.  “He won’t bite,” I told them through the open window by the door where Tiny’s big head was visible.  Most of the time the men left and never returned.

Off the top of my head, I can think of only three times that Tiny has jumped on people’s lap (each were men), after they sat down on my sofa.  He went straight for their throats to smell their necks, which caused me tremendous anxiety.  He learned to play like that in the mornings when he was a puppy.  Every morning he would ‘search’ for my son’s neck under the covers.  Boy those were the days.  I had forgotten about so much, until I started writing this blog post.  Tiny’s life is full of interesting stories.

Other than those few times when he jumped on those men, Tiny has been a sweetheart to every person he met.  He has been and is tremendously adored! 

Tiny hasn’t always lived with me.  For the first five and a half years of his life, he lived with my son, who Tiny remains loyal to in his heart, but he has always communicated with me.  In the most amazing ways, he has told me where he was when he needed help and where my son was when he was not well and for the most part, living on the streets.  He and Tiny both were young and resilient, thank God.

Sadly, Tiny was recently diagnosed with intestinal Lymphoma.  I’ve tried writing about it before now, but my heart hurts too much.  There are a few things in my life that I simply can’t write about. 

I’ve nursed him for several weeks.  My sweet seven year-old girl, Ruthie, has been a good nurse too, which is a big part of her nature.  She has always been a good little friend to Tiny and honestly, I fear the sadness she will feel when that day that I don’t want to think about inevitably comes. 

Alas.

I do think about it.  In fact, not many moments have passed since I found out that Tiny has cancer, that I haven’t been aware of this approaching time.

Over the course of several weeks, Tiny went from having foul-smelling gas to explosive vomiting and diarrhea, which meant an emergency veterinary visit.  After x-rays and an ultra sound, the vet and radiologist said his lymph glands were inflamed and the walls of his intestines are, “thickened.”  With this information, along with his symptoms, they concluded his diagnosis of intestinal cancer.

They said the diarrhea would never go away, but it did.  As I write, he is eating well, but he is taking a steroid, which I’m not sure is working out too well.  He is so hungry.  I can’t stand seeing him starve, so I’ve cut the night dosage in half. 

I don’t know how long the steroid will work.  The vet said maybe two months, and possibly three.

Note: A week or so later, after first starting this post, I realize that each time I come back to it, things have changed.  No day has been the same.  The steroid makes him too hungry.

For the most part, at least during the day, Tiny acts like most older dogs, but with less than his usual amount of energy.  He isn’t taking the bone or dog toys from Ruthie when she holds them in front of him, hoping as she always has, that he will chase her, catch her, finally taking whatever it is she teases him with.  He does enjoy chewing what he loves most, which is a tennis ball, but they don’t last long before he rips them apart.

He Wants my Sandwich

I think I’ll have some Mom.

Tiny is a very loved dog.  He has given us many, many happy times.  He has saved my son’s life several times.  He has telepathically communicated with me when danger was impending and as a result, I was able to intervene just in time.  Tiny is a special dog indeed, and very special to me.  I call him my grand-boy.

In the process of diagnosing Tiny we discovered that he had a Tape worm.  I’m not sure what role this has played in his level of illness.  Part of me wishes (no, all of me wishes) that it was only the worm that made him so sick, and that he would be okay if I stopped the steroids.  I may indeed have to stop the steroid sooner than I had hoped or expected, but I do not think Tiny will be okay.  I can tell.  I’ve known for a while that something was wrong.

Tiny.  Our boy.  Our dear friend.  Ruthie’s mate.  My big guy who protects me.  My son’s loyal companion.  Tiny.  We Love You!

Thank you for visiting DogKisses.

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22 responses to this post.

  1. Michelle, sweetie,
    I KNOW i wrote you something when Tiny passed but I don’t think I ever read this post. I’ve been reading some of your older posts today and I love doing so. But it does bring back feelings and I do miss you so! There’s an empty space where you should be and I hope you will come back very soon. I remember when Callie died, she is still in my heart and always will be. Ii am looking at her photograph now. I love Lexi too but she is a different dog, and I love her in a different way but just as much. I was glad to see your photographs once again. Your friend and sister, Laurie

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    • Hi Laurie, my sweet sister!

      My older posts?! Yikes 😉 I look back and many of them seem so, well, elementary, but I like that I was fearlessly non-scrutinizing and honestly, hope to write with that kind of free passion again one day. Sooner than later, I hope.

      Life is challenging me, again… I haven’t been able to communicate much, but sharing my photos, especially of this awesome little bird, is an attempt.

      I sure miss my boy. I want to go make his resting place more to my liking. I have a few flowers to take over, and my son has seeds. We will put more rocks I think.

      Ruthie smiled at me today. She smiles when I take her out, or she sees somebody, and she jumps on everyone lately. She has been quite the rebellious little girl, seeing what all she can get away with lately, but today, I was so happy that she smiled at me without having to be around other people or go anywhere.

      Thank you for your comment. I hope to see more of you than I have been. I hope you are doing okay, and give some doggie kisses to Lexi. woof woof

      Love,
      Your friend and Sis,
      Michelle.

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  2. Michelle,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. You have written a beautiful tribute to a loyal friend.
    ..Rossa

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    • Thank you Rossa. I was just looking at Tiny’s photos tonight, reading some of what I wrote, and of course, with tears streaming. I miss Tiny and am still sad that he got stomach cancer. He was a truly great dog and awesome friend.

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  3. A Beautiful Dog….
    Peace,
    Laz

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  4. You bring a lump to my throat Michelle, and I am sending out more than a thought as you know for Tiny….Parting with our beloved friends is always hard and no amount of words from me will help console you when that time comes.. But you also know me well enough Michelle when I say this parting is only temporary and one day a big reunion will occur with Free and and others ,…
    You are making Tiny’s life a Happy one, and I am always sending my thoughts out to you all…
    love and Blessings
    Sue xxx

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    • Thank you for your words here Sue. I very much appreciate what you’ve said. I do so need reminding that Tiny’s Spirit, like Free’s, will always be with me. I would also like to believe we will meet again. Mostly I do because I’ve seen Free since she went to the other side. I’ve seen her and she was so happy! I do believe that the place where she went is so nice, that when she’s come back, in visions with messages, well, it’s like she wanted to be Free! I know she is and is so happy there. I told Tiny where he gets to go and little Ruthie girl got up and came over to lie as close as she could get to him. I asked her if she knew what we were talking about. (I talk to my dogs, obviously). She was playfully silly at first, but when I asked her, she held her head down the way she does when she either wants something or is a little unhappy. I cried. She knows.

      I dread the day. I really do. Tiny has been a connection between my son and I. I’m afraid of losing this too. Isn’t that strange?

      Mostly, of course, I do not want Tiny to suffer. He’s doing pretty good on the pain meds, eats like crazy, and can walk. People always say you know when it is time and will see that look in their eyes. I’ve seen that look. But then, I see his eyes get bright, so I guess, I will know.

      Thank you for your thoughts Sue, and I know, your prayers.

      In Gratitude,
      Your friend,
      Michelle.

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  5. So many of my friends are going through this same thing….losing their animals. So sad I think, because we wonder if animals really know how much we love them. How much we will miss them.

    Several years ago my Father-In-Law was dying, we knew it would be any day. I handled the situation quite well and was there to support my Hubby as much as I could. In the middle of all that my old cat got very sick and I had to make the decision to put him down. That was when I ended up in the hospital. (Addison’s Disease renders my body helpless against stress.) The stress of my sick cat v.s. my father-in law…doesn’t make sense, but that’s how much we love our animals. I don’t know if any of this makes any sense, I am so tired, I really love the picture of Tiny sitting on the chair sitting in the yard. What a guy.
    xoxoxomo

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    • Mo, The picture of Tiny in the chair is my favorite. It shows so much his personality. He always liked being up high. It was amazing how he got into those chairs and was comfortable. He’s always had a head too big for his body, so he also likes to put his head on something higher than his body to rest it. Sadly, lately, he isn’t doing this. I know it is almost time for Tiny to leave.

      I am torn up inside. I look at him and try to communicate, but all he says is he’s hungry. He does not feel good. I’m calling the Vet on Monday morning. I’m giving him Codeine now, which helps him feel better and sleep. The steroid, designed to treat his inflamed Lymph glands, makes him too hungry. The vet said oh, he’ll just be grumpy. Well, that is bullshit.

      I’m angry Mo. I’m sad and angry. I’m angry that they won’t admit that being that hungry is a form of suffering and that I will have to be the one to say it is time.

      I dread choosing his day like nothing else. I dread it so bad.

      I also get really upset over losing my dogs. It is different than losing people. I think, like Jan said, they are more like our children. This must why it is so hard.

      I’m sorry you had to put your cat down. It hurts so much. Thanks for sharing with me. I really love it when you comment on my blog.

      I hope to spend today with Tiny and have peace in my home. My son isn’t doing well, honestly, so it is hard around here. I just want peace.

      Sending hugs and love,
      Michelle.

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  6. Tiny is so lucky to have spent his life with such a loving family. It’s so hard to watch our pets grow older. I’ve been through this five times now and it never gets any easier. To be honest, i realized that the passing of my father (who was almost 85) wasn’t as traumatic as losing our pit bull rescue on Thanksgiving day two years ago. When we first found her, I confided to the vet that I was concerned that she had a lot of pit in her. He said matter-of-factly, “Is she a good dog?” I said yes. He said that was all that mattered. When our believed Reese died, we vowed to adopt another pit as there’s a surplus in California and our local humane society has a program working to assess each pit’s personality. We got ourselves a Blue Ribbon honey and named her Layla. I was trying to figure out why I was so much more broken up about my dog’s passing than my father’s. I loved him dearly and I was a daddy’s girl. I believe it’s because our pets are forever our children.

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    • Hi Jan, Thanks for sharing your story with me. I’m always glad to know when people love a Pit. They are discriminated against, and I’ve seen them used for the wrong reasons, just like Rotties. People who get dogs just to make them mean shouldn’t ever have a dog! I can’t stand that. Plus, it gives the breeds a bad name.

      You know, I can understand about the grief you experienced compared to your father’s passing. I guess you are right about dogs being our “forever children.” Tiny sure feels like my grandchild. I hear people talk about theirs, and I always think of Tiny. Ruthie is more like a daughter! She likes to be treated like a big girl. Tiny likes to be babied. Oh, they are so precious! I thought I’d never make it after Free had to pass on. I didn’t think I would get a dog for a long time, but within a month, there was little Ruthie at the shelter, who put her hand out for a shake and never made a sound as all the other dogs barked loudly. She is the most tender spirited dog I’ve ever met. I couldn’t have imagined a better dog to brighten up my life again. I have loved her dearly every day since, which was almost seven years ago.

      I think too, that if we have to choose our dog’s last day, then that is a part of the grieving process that isn’t there with humans. Somebody should write a book about that. It is entirely too sad a subject, even for me! Then again, I think illness gives us a chance to say good-bye.

      Thanks again for sharing with me Jan. I hope you are getting a big hug from your Layla as I write.
      Hugs and dogkisses…

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  7. Knowing that a friend will be passing over is not easy knowledge to bear. Watching that friend’s illness take over is even harder.
    Tiny is lucky to have you as a friend, and to have spent many years in companionship, just as you have a true friend in Tiny. I’m sure you have taught each other much over the years. That, of course, doesn’t make the letting go and the leaving any less difficult.
    Sharing Tiny’s life is away to remember the days of compansionship and love; a part of him will be with others that way.
    He will always be with you in spirit, no matter if/when the end comes. I have the feeling that he will still communicate with you on the same deep level, protecting you and those he and you love.
    Tiny sounds like such a special dog — thanks for sharing his story and pictures.

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    • Hi Phylor. Thanks for sharing in Tiny’s life with me. I appreciate that.

      Tiny is one sweet and special dog. I know they all are, indeed, but he sure has seen a lot of life from different places. I like to think of the second half of his life, when he has lived with Ruthie and I. This is when he has been safe and secure. The first part I guess you could say were his ‘wild’ days.

      It feels like I haven’t fully accepted that Tiny has cancer. I tell people and hear myself say it. I give him his meds, but a part of me just isn’t there yet. Thank goodness he isn’t ready to go yet, and I hope with time, my heart will open up more to this truth. I would never want to hold him back, you know, esp., if he’s in pain. For now, his pain is controlled.

      Thank you again my friend.
      Big hugs to you,
      Michelle.

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  8. Sweet Michelle, my heart breaks with yours as I read this, knowing this pain so well. What a lovely tribute you’ve written, helping us all to get to know & Love Tiny, too. Our canine companions come to us with so many gifts and blessings, asking so little in return. I truly think they are a Divine gift, sent to show us what unconditional Love really is.

    But they also teach us so many other lessons as they walk with us on our journey through life, and their final lesson, the hardest to learn, is how to let go. But it’s a lesson we all need to learn, and I think it’s why their lives are shorter than ours. I learned so much from my beloved Shunka’s passing, and from Dart’s, too. It took time and perspective to even understand how much I had grown through the experiences of Loving them and then seeing them cross over.
    Shunka’s lessons were the most profound for me, and the most important of all was that Love never dies, and since we *are* Love, we never really die, either. You know this from Free – she is still with you, and always will be. Just as Tiny will always be with you.
    I am holding you, Tiny, and your son, in my heart, and wrapping you up in a warm and radiant blanket of Love.
    *gentlest hugs*
    Ash

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    • My dearest Ash,

      Thank you sweetie. You are so kind and I know you understand very much the way I do, our relationship with our Canine companions.

      I’m glad to know you enjoyed getting to “know and love Tiny.” I’ve had such a hard time writing lately, esp., about Tiny’s health as it changes daily.

      A vet’s secretary, whom I call on occasionally, told me today that his hunger isn’t from the steroid. I was surprised. She said he has always been a big hungry guy, but Ash, this just isn’t the case. He is barking at me every time I eat. He nearly knocked down the hard drive box today b/c he saw a dried leaf and thought it was a morsel of food. He tries to eat the can of dog food (the can). I keep feeding him (EN food which is very expensive) but he doesn’t get enough. This… is not our Tiny boy just being hungry. I know the woman was trying to make me feel better, and she did, but it’s hard.

      I’m tired today. He’s resting now and Ruthie got a pretty good walk today. She seems a little better.

      Thanks again for your understanding and compassion.

      Big Hugs to you. Love, Michelle –and my gang 😉

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      • (Michelle, I’m trying this comment again. You may have the first try in your spam folder because I included a link.)

        Seeing him so hungry must be terribly disturbing. My thoughts:

        I suspect in part it’s the illness itself, as the thickening of the lining of the intestinal tract would seem to limit his ability to absorb nutrients. Also, cancer is often diagnosed after unexplained rapid weight loss and muscle wasting. Tiny could be extra hungry because he’s trying to avoid that.

        Another big factor could possibly be the EN food. I found a review of this dogfood – the Purina Veterinary Diets EN at Dog Food Advisor.

        In short, it is very low in animal protein – almost entirely grain – and while that might be controlling the diarhhea, it’s not a natural diet for a dog. They want meat. Dogs weren’t meant to eat corn and rice, and dog food is something I’m a real stickler on – I’m very particular (some who see me reading the ingredient lists in the store might say crazy). There are a couple other foods mentioned in the comments that might be something you could add as in between meal snacks, and I think that is what I might try.

        One food mentioned by folks who commented on the review is Natural Balance L.I.D. (Limited Ingredient Diets). It comes in a number of formulas, some with duck, bison, venison, etc, but I looked at the Lamb Meal & Brown Rice Formula Dog & Puppy Food at Petco, and amongst the first reviews was someone saying it had stopped diarhhea in their dog when nothing else would! It’s not cheap, but has quality ingredients – lamb and rice. I would start with very small amounts, like a half a cup. If Tiny can’t eat it because it upsets his stomach, I’m sure Ruthee would be happy to eat the rest of the bag!

        If you go to Petco, by the way, look in the front of the store for both the flyer & a coupon book – we were there last night & there are many coupons to be had in both.

        Lastly, I’m not surprised the secretary didn’t know steroids can increase appetite. That can be one of their benefits, tho’, from a medical perspective, in trying to prevent the muscle wasting so often seen with cancer. And of course, it is also doing a lot more than that for Tiny, reducing inflammation, etc.

        If I think of anything more I’ll let you know. In the meantime, holding you all in my heart, thoughts & prayers!

        Ash

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        • Thanks so much Ash for the information. I agree that dogs do not need grains. I’ve been using California Natural for a long time. It is a simple food with one meat, no by products, and one grain, either oat or brown rice, but even those grains are not necessary. My Free girl ate raw meat when she was diagnosed with bone cancer. Evo and Innova are good ones without grain.

          Tiny is having normal bowel movements now. The vet said if I change foods, which she doesn’t reccommend, then to do it slowly. I just can’t believe that EN is the only food he can handle, but two Vets have said this is so.

          As to Natural Balance, it is a good food and Tiny loves it. So does Ruthie. I don’t know about duck, or the other meats, b/c I always thought that Lamb is the easiest to digest, but EN has chicken in it (with all that other stuff). Vet says EN is highly digestible. I agree, Tiny is having a hard time digesting. He likes the wet EN in a can, but he can’t stand the dry, and only eats it b/c the steroid makes him eat anything!

          I’ll check out the link. It is time to buy more food. I might buy a small bag of EN and try to ease him over to the N’ Balance. It costs half as much as EN, which was 50 dollars for 18lbs.

          Have you heard of the BRAT diet? I think that’s the acronym, but I don’t know what it stands for. I haven’t researched that yet. The past month has been extremely challenging for me. My pain levels are sky high. My digestion is a wreck. My family life, well, I don’t think that will ever be the same again. So, times are very hard personally. I’m trying to stay calm for Tiny and Ruthie. They sure do need that, and me right now.

          Please feel free to give me any links. I did see your other message in spam. I need to put you as a safe commenter, so yours will come through even with links. I will try to do that soon.

          Big hugs and Love to you and your family too,
          Michelle (and Tiny!) Woof xoxoxo

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  9. DK, what a touching, beautiful and desparately sad tale that is. What courage you show by sharing your feelings. Tiny will be held in my thoughts! Paul

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