I’m feeling sad for our oldest Schnauzer, Tinker, that has been part of our lives for over 13 years and presumably 15.5 years old. When we adopted her from the Decatur, Illinois shelter, she had been rescued from the woods, surviving on acorns to keep her digestive system active. She was given an older sister, my wife’s chow Belle, and named for the Disney fairy Tinker Belle. Hence, Tinker and Belle became an inseparable pair.

We had to put Belle to sleep years ago, following an ACL injury that prevented any mobility. Her legs simply gave out. In her absence, Tinker was presented with a younger sister, Roxie, that died very young as the result of an inattentive driver. Our third adopted dog, Tally. has now been with Tinker for about 8 years. Combined, they are known as T&T and have lived together in both Texas and Oregon. They have also traveled through a lot of states as we’ve moved across the country, and love to ride in the car.

Tinker was wild when we first met her, untrained and always hungry. She also ruined her share of carpeting until she eventually learned to take her business outside. It was not because she wasn’t smart. We believe that she is part-poodle, and as a result quite intelligent. Over the years, she has become a wise influence over Tally. However, she has never lost her aggressive nature towards food. She’s always “starving,” and treats every meal as her last. As they say, “input equals output,” so this is why she’s earned the reputation as “The Poopingest Pup on the Planet.” 

Tinker is sadly on her “last legs,” just as Belle was years ago. When Belle was struggling, Tinker could run like the wind. Roles are now reversed as Tally watches Tinker stumble helplessly around. We believe she had a stroke that has left her hips twisted and back legs weak. She often can’t get to her feet on our slippery wooden floors. Last night, she cried for help getting-up on our bathroom tiles. Her plea was more like a whimper, as her vocal cords also seem to be impaired, affecting her ability to bark. Just a few weeks ago, she would bark incessantly, hoping to get our attention for scraps of food. I feel bad that I had to yell at her to be quiet because now she can no longer speak. Her long tail has lost hair, she has scabs on her elbows, a massive tumor in her ear, and some open sores that Tally can’t ignore. These mounting physical issues along with loss of sight and hearing are tell-tale that her time with us is growing very short. I wanted to get though the Thanksgiving holiday before making any decisions. It brings tears to my eyes as I realize that she can’t get to her dog bowl any longer, but there should be plenty of treats in doggy heaven.