Tucker is an English Springer Spaniel, the third Springer that I have been proud to house, feed, and love. Tucker was also my third Springer rescue, this time from the amazing people at ESRA, the English Springer Rescue America organization. There is little point in getting a dog if you do not rescue it. There are so many that need to be rescued, from a pound or a rescue group, and too few people to do it.
Tucker had somehow wound up out on his own for a long time, and then went the limit of time before death at two animal shelters before being recognized as a Springer and saved by ESRA. I adopted him after they had already cleaned him up and groomed him, though he was so, so thin. A dog that weighed 60 pounds when things were going well, even after a week of good ESRA food and the ridding of some intestinal parasites, still weighed just 45 pounds.
He responded quickly to love and a steady diet. He had separation anxiety in the worst way; he did not want to be left alone once he had discovered love and regular meals. He did not want his people to leave him, ever. He was soon back at 60 pounds and happy, perhaps for the first time, though he was seven or eight years of age.
He would occasionally wander off, if you were lax and let him. This was not running away, it was each time a slow jaunt into the surrounding neighborhood. He would quickly make a human friend that could read, who would call my cell phone number from his tags. I would then go get him and he was always overjoyed to see me, his adopted dad, and ready to go home. His new friends were always sorry to see him go.
A year or so after we adopted Tucker, I was diagnosed with cancer. It turned out to be very serious indeed. After a very long time in surgery, and after two weeks in recovery with numerous complications, I finally got to go home., though I was far from well. Cancer had aggravated my multiple sclerosis mightily, and I was not anything close to well. Tucker, his sad eyes always on me and always staying as close to me as he could get, did not leave my side for 75 days except to eat and eliminate.
Tucker, now 12 or 13, was diagnosed today with leukemia. There is not much that can be done. A few medications to ease his final journey, perhaps better food than his usual health conscious dry meals, because Tucker does like his food. A little more attention, if that is possible. More hugs, more rubs, more scratches. I can expect more sleeping, and less movement. I can expect him to be puzzled, because he cannot possibly understand why he feels so weak or why he is in pain.
My job now is to do for Tucker what Tucker did for me. My job is to see that my good boy is happy, and that he is well fed, and loved in the time he has left as a living organism. My job is to take as good care of Tucker as he took of me. My job is to recognize that point at which Tucker’s life is no longer pleasant, and to take him gently on his last ride to the vet. My job is to hold him as he gets that final injection, and as the pain and infirmity are finally over. My job is not to cry where he can see me, because that would make him sad.
My job is to love him as much as he loves me.
I am so very sorry. Tucker is as wonderful a friend as you are to him. I’m sending lots of hugs to both of you. Please email me if you need to talk, and I mean it. XO
Thank you for sharing your most personal moments with us. It makes me understand and try to imagine what you are going through right now…yet it is hard to grasp all the emotions. Be strong…be well…for both you and Tucker. My thoughts are always with you.
There are no words that can heal the pain of the loss of a loved one, animal or human, nor the imminent loss of one. I won’t even attempt to try. I just want to add my voice of support and comfort, and the knowledge that there is a should, always, should you need it.
Sounds to me like Tucker found the perfect home when he found you. Sure sorry about his diagnosis. hope he stays comfortable for a while yet. gentle thoughts.
Damn Frawggy you touched a nerve. I’m sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes, all at once overjoyed by the love you’ve shown each other and shattered by the news of Tucker’s diagnosis. My words are nothing compared to what you’ve written so eloquently, but Kona and I wish you and Tucker the best of the days he has left.
What a wonderful time you must have together, I hope the last part is as good as the first part. Hugs to Tucker and of course to you and yours in these hard times.
Frawgie, what a truly beautiful tribute to an obviously amazing friend! You shall both remain in my thoughts…
I was bound and determined not to cry upon seeing paragraph #6.
Rupe reports that he failed misearbly. I’ve wiped my eyes a few times and now I’m done leaking.
I can understand what you’re going through. A good friend is a good friend indeed and I know Tucker The Weird Dog has been that for you in our communications … even moreso do I know now having read the above.
This inspires me to get on the horn and dial in about our recent acquisition, a rescued 5 month old Lab we named Bob The Dog. You can bet through all the training and feeding and petting and walking and loving and return we get from Bob will not be met without the occasional thought of your beloved Tucker.
Rupe will say prayers for him and for you, Frawg, knowing that nothing can replace the warmth and memories of a companion well melded to you.
I offer the following poem to you, Frawg, that you may or mayn’t’ve seen previously.
Go well, my friend, and assure Tucker that he has and will go well, too.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together ….
– Author unknown
I have dried my tears so that you and Tucker won’t see. May you both find peace in this journey and know that you have friends to lean on when you need a shoulder.
He is a most a amazing dog…loving us through everything…he is the most amazing and sensitive dog, I will love him and give him extra until he decides it is time…he will let us know…he is good about that…
Oh, Tucker … you are so fortunate to have Frawg in your life, and vice versa. What sweet thoughts. May his days ever be lovely.
Thank you all so very much. Each of you made me choke up again, which is not a bad thing. Tucker is worth every last smile, every last pet, every last tear.
Tucker is truly a gift, sent to you when you needed him most. He will be comfortable and at peace while you now care for him through his journey. I know you are both the better for having each other!
Kermit, I have been doing rescue here in Mich for about the last year and have found it very rewarding in many ways. I love the breed more than words can say or express to non-springer people. Secondly, the increadible people that are invovled with this breeds rescue are fabulous people with hearts that are huge and over flowing with love. I’m so sorry to hear of your illness(as I also have MS and have for 13 years) but am glad to hear your a fighter getting through the cancer & the complications of surgery. I know oh too well how MS can come and go for any reason it wants to. Keep fighting for you and for Tucker. Keep in mind that when his time comes and he goes toward the rainbow he will run, play, and wait to be with you again for all those belly rubs. I cant say I understand loseing a springer but have lost other much loved dogs, and nothing anyone can say will make it easier. Just know that your springer friends understand how much more than just a dog a springer is, how deficult living with MS is(I understand this) Please feel free to contact me if you just want to talk about Ms or springers Im a retired Rn also & ran a MS support group here in Michigan for a while and did speaking to other support groups on living with MS. Take care you and Tucker will be in my thoughts. Dawn
There’s not much to say that will ease your pain, except for all of these comments from friends who care. I know how special Tucker is to you. And, of course, you are to him. Remember the love he has for you and know that you’ve given him a life he never would’ve had without you.
I read this with my own little furball curled up on the sofa next to me; sleeping, dreaming, and yes, snoring. My heart breaks for you, and for Tucker, and to be honest, for us. Because I know how much I fear the day we’ll be in your shoes. But, as you pointed out so clearly, every minute between here and there is more than worth it. It may sound silly, but when I think too far forward, I remind myself of the Pooh quote: “If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you” – that’s how I choose to think of pets having to go first, it’s so they don’t have to be without us. Hugs for you both!
Tucker will be missed. He was lucky to find such a good home. Very sad.
awwwww I just want to cry – both for your sense of loss and more so for the love you both exude. I’m sorry Tucker got sick, but honored you shared about your relationship.
Sadie went through my cancer with me. It’s amazing how they know and how they take care of you in their way. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her in that time. Now that she has been sick so often I don’t think about the money, I don’t think about driving her 300 miles one way to the only vet who understands her. She is my best friend and sometimes it feels like my only friend. She keeps me warm when it’s cold, safe when it’s scary and makes me laugh when I need it most. She is fearless when faced with danger and has defended me when I had been confronted by someone meaning harm. She loves me no matter how bad or good my day has been, she loved and cared for me when I was disabled – never letting me feel badly when I couldn’t walk her for over a year. Animals are amazing and so important to us. Their unconditional love is something we humans need to strive to achive with one and other.
Tucker has been an amazing part of your life. He is a good dog but that just doesn’t seem to cut it; just to say a good dog. You have bonded beyond just the owner/pet relationship, you have become two souls intwined. How could you not looking at those eyes? And I know the sad last ride all too well from other pets but I applaud you for being willing to be there until the final moment. I witnessed yet again a pet being ‘dropped off’ to be put down because the humans couldn’t handle it. It is the last act of unconditional love we can show our beloved pets – I will not abandon you in your final moment of need. I will be there and be your friend until your last breath. Bravo Frawg – that is the hardest thing we will ever do. As humans we understand when we do this for another human but when we do it for a pet, it is the most selfless thing we can do for that pet. Cherish your time together but know he will be with you, always.