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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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