Remembering Tigger

The last picture of Tigger
The last picture of Tigger

We lay Tigger the Scottie to rest this last Wednesday. He died peacefully at the vet, surrounded by strong women who loved him. Two of the women present for his death had been there for his birth and had cared for him when his mother’s milk had dried up. They fed him and his siblings every four hours with a baby bottle for weeks. Tigger was purchased and went to live in his new home, but was returned at about six months when his genetic illness surfaced. He had “wobbly Scottie” and his new owner was thinking of putting him down. He was given a new life with the family who helped him come into the world.

Though he was disabled, he led a full (and sometimes spoiled life). Towards the end of his life he could go up stairs but not down them. We would often find him waiting for us at the top of the stairs, waiting patiently for us to find him. He became increasingly less mobile and unable to eat. The last several weeks, he had been in “hospice care” until he was ready to go on beyond the rainbow where he is free from the bonds of disability and illness.

I’m grateful to God, to the universe, for letting me share Tigger’s life for a time. Teacher, lover, friend … he is missed.

Special Care

Tigger the Scottie
Tigger the Scottie

I have the privilege to live with a Scottish Terrier named Tigger. He’s 11 years old and just about the sweetest pup I’ve known. He’s precious — in that way that all companions are precious. I’ve been fortunate to live with him since 2000.

Tigger has one of the genetic disorders that Scotties sometime develop. It’s Canine Cerebellar Degeneration, commonly known as wobbly dog syndrome. The disease manifests itself in his inability to go down steps and his tendency to fall over. When he runs, his back end careens out of control like some cartoon.

The past couple of weeks, he’s be going through some tests — trying to figure out if he has some sort of cancer. I felt sad that this little creature may be nearing the end of his life. I often wonder why dogs and cats have shorter lifespans than humans. Perhaps it’s so we can be companioned by several of these wonderful animals throughout our lives.

While Tigger was at the vet’s yesterday, they took some blood samples to send to a research study at North Carolina State University’s veterinary teaching hospital. It felt great that he could contribute something to the effort to identify the gene mutation that causes his disease. Not that he could enrich the world any more than he has enriched my life …

I’m grateful for Tigger; for his presence in my life and for the many gifts he has given. Thanks, God, for Tigger.