Tanked

Losing Mr. Pickles wasn’t my first dead pet rodeo. i’ve had canine companionship my entire life – losing Slightly and Rupert dropped some darkness in my heart. They were the dogs my ex-husband and i had before we started breeding, and they were the first pets for my children.

Rupert died first. Shortly after we buried Slightly my husband and kids began lobbying for another dog. i wasn’t ready right away, but they started the marketing campaign within a month. It was three months later before i succumbed to pressure, and we stumbled upon Turbo the Wonder Dog.

Mr. Pickles came to us a couple of years later as a companion for her – eventually becoming my canine life partner as my husband claimed Turbo as his road dog when he moved to our place up north.

When Mr. Pickles died last August, i had no plan to get another pup – some combination of shattered heart and lifestyle. Too much travel to commit to a dog. It wasn’t until late November that i noticed something happening. The feeling of missing A Specific Dog was still there, but there was another feeling. The sense of missing having A Dog.

The lifestyle issue remained – so much travel, and hating having to rely on a pet sitter to take care of a dog. i reached out to a friend who works in rescue, and let her know that i could probably foster an old dog, or a hospice dog, for a few months. Within a day things went into motion…

An urgent need for placement of a big doggie, about 5 years old. His owner had a terminal illness and was no longer able to care for him.

“Can you manage a big pit bull mix? He’s a low-energy sweetheart, good with other animals, who likes to sleep and ride in the car! Really need a foster – he’s a big boy and would likely end up as a bait dog if he goes into a shelter”

“Ummm…. sure?”

In December, Tank arrived – delivered by the dog rescue network, and his owner – man with cancer who wanted to meet me in person before handing over this dog. i took one look at A Very Large Dog With A Head the Size Of An Anvil and said “i will do right by this dog” as i shook his hand – even though i had no idea what i was doing…

Tank arriving

When a smallyappydog has a bad day and bites you? It’s an annoyance. Looking at Tank, and getting a sense for his strength, i realized quickly the responsibility of such a powerful creature. If he has a bad day? It’s more than an annoyance… This dog could eat my face.

Within a couple of days, Huey the cat was sleeping next to him in bed. A sweet, resilient and easy dog, Tank got comfortable. At first neighbors were crossing the street as we went about our daily walks, but over the first few weeks, a few came up to meet him – and he charmed them all.

Huey and Tank

Pet Sitter was also immediately charmed – and asked if there was any possible way he could adopt this goofy dog. So nine months later, this short-term foster dog is still part of my life. Pet Sitter is working on getting his own place, and will take full custody in a few months, but in the meantime is happy to take The Tanker out on play dates, and stay at my place with the manimals when i’m on the road.

wigglebutt

My life is better with a dog in it – this particular dog. The most important thing i’ve learned after this episode of “I’m Never Having Another Dog Because I Can’t Take the Heartbreak When It Dies”? So many good dogs out there. So many… the best way to honor a beloved rescue dog is to find a way to rescue another one…

Tank smile

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31 thoughts on “Tanked

  1. Currently living with my third rescue dog. Thank you for rescuing Tank! That seemingly simple act made the world a better place. I’ve spoken to others who have rescue dogs and everyone makes the same observation… The dogs seem to understand that they’ve been rescued, and always seem grateful.
    Losing one is hard, but knowing that you’ve given them a better life in their final years helps ease the loss.

    • And thanks to you for supporting rescued pups! What i’ve also learned along the way is just how committed the people who WORK animal welfare and rescue are! There is a national network of beautifully obsessed human beings working to get as many dogs (and cats) as possible into safe homes. One of my future volunteer gigs will likely be transport – helping get the critters to rescue, foster or forever homes… time well spent.

    • That ache never really goes away. Sometimes i still get slapped in the face with a memory… more likely to bring smiles than tears now. There is a lucky kitty out there somewhere that will likely find you when the time is right!

  2. Well done for rescuing that lovely dog. They have a bad reputation but in my very limited experience of them they’re absolutely sweet if they’re treated right. My friend has an American Bulldog / rottweiler cross and it’s the friendliest dog ever. The single occasion it got cross was with this yappy little chihuahua which just would not stop yapping at it. The chihuahua won’t be doing that again, shall we say!

    Nice to see you back!

    • There is something almost tragic about these strong dogs. i have become very protective of him. i have no doubt that if he were attacked by a smallyappydog, and merely defends himself, he will be labeled as a vicious dog. i am not comfortable taking him to dog parks, or letting him off leash at all – which is a bit sad for a happy, playful dog that just wants to be a good boy!

      It is the assholes who weaponize these creatures that deserve to be drawn and quartered… And this is why people are a bit standoffish when meeting a dog that could eat your face. Probably a good idea with any unknown dog.

      • Dogs are tragic creatures, that’s true. They’re desire to belong is almost heart-rending.

        Yes — I’m sure the chihuahua’s owner is blind to the fact that it was provoking the larger dog. And of course it’s how they are looked after and cared for. I hope in time you’ll be able to find somewhere where he can have a proper run about and play fetch and so on.

        • Pet Sitter likes to take him to his Mom’s back yard, where he can run and roll around and have some more play time! i think that’ll continue!

  3. Nevermind the dog. It’s good to see you. Our blogfather is in town on Tuesday for his annual birthday appearance. He sends out an APB. A date and place. People flit in and out as the evening wanes.

    Glad the cat don’t mind. I’m still partial to them, you know?

    • Feels right to be back, although i’m still busier than i’ve ever been. i have a ton of content, and feeling the need to organize thoughts and feelings. This has been a useful tool for that. Seismic activity in the Trailer Park over the past few months, too. So i need to get that hoarked up!

      Saw the blogfather when he blew through our hometown for his mom’s b-day. Boozy brunch was awesome – never enough time with that man, but at least this time i didn’t end up with a hangover for a week. Have fun!

  4. Bless you, daisyfae. There are so many pets in need of a home. Our no-kill shelter currently has 30 puppies up for adoption and so many older pets that they’re running a “special” on dogs over a year old–$25 for adoption. Most of our dogs (and cats) over 40 years of marriage came from either the shelter or were dumped off on our country road. (I hope there’s a special circle in hell for those bastards.) As for you, my dear, you just earned another jewel in your heavenly crown. 🙂

    • Thanks, my dear! i think the true heroes are those who work tirelessly in rescue. They’re angels! Since i lost Mr. P, i thought i would be a good candidate for taking care of senior dogs. Part of my retirement plan is to find a pair of old bonded senior doggies and give them a warm place to ride out their final years…. but then Tank showed up. The right pup at the right time….

  5. What a lovely story and dog.
    Another blogging friend has just yesterday lost her pitbull companion of 12 years, another rescue dog. Such a good thing to do to take on a rescue dog.

    • Sorry that your blogmate had to say goodbye to such a relatively young dog. From what i’ve learned from Tank, and from other pit bull advocates, they are really loving, smart, and goofy companions – who happen possess great strength. i’m a fan of rescue pets… wish more people would stop finding excuses to keep feeding the pet store-driven puppy mills.

    • We’ll see how i do – thinking through the next post, and have no idea when i’ll have time to sit and write. headed out of town again next week. thinking i’ll bring the laptop with me and see if i can find some time on the road!

      Hoping that big ol’ windbag Irma loses steam and leaves you alone!

  6. “She sing a song and this is a what it said/ if you want a friend feed any animal….”
    Jane’s Addiction- Summertime Rolls

    Nice to see ya lady friend.

    • the number of humans i trust can now be counted on one hand, with some fingers to spare. i can trust this dog. i have no doubt about that…

      good to be back. weird, but good…. just hoarked up another post. hadn’t planned to write, but there it was…

  7. So agree. Lacey is almost twelve now, and I know the time is coming. She’s also slowing down. And I need a bigger dog who can help me stand. What I fear is the time I will not be able to have a dog due to my circumstances. In my book, dog is god spelled backwards. (Written in bed with Lacey lying in my armpit.)

  8. So nice that the whole dog affair is working out. It’s been many years since we had a dog. We have two from our adult children who visit once in awhile and I just don’t care to be a dog sitter. I do wish more people would think about the responsibilities of caring for a pet before they bring one home.

    • Absolutely agree! When you take on a pet, you take it on for its entire life – for better or worse. The pet generally has no say in the matter when you take on the responsibility… i had two other people ready to adopt Tank, but my pet sitter agreed to live in whenever needed, so i would have reliable support until he is able to get his own place. Otherwise, i wouldn’t have continued to foster… Huge commitment, and dogs are more work than cats!

  9. Welcome back! We are doggy day care Mon-Fri for our daughter’s pit mix, Sadiesue. She is a rescue and the opposite of all negative pitbull stereotypes. Total love machine.

    Tank looks like a very fine boy. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • They are amazing pups! i will always have a healthy respect for how powerful they are – but i watch Tank and realize he has absolutely no idea that he is capable of any harm. He’s gentle, not food-aggressive, and doesn’t have a strong prey drive. Just a loveable, wigglebutt doggie!

      Not sure if i can pull off another post this week… been crankin’ through some family business on the road. But all is good and i’ll have an update soon!

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