The poster above was all this worn down mama needed to see late that night at DaRo's on a milk run.
Bella had been asking for a dog for at least four years. She's a persistent little angel and when I saw that poster (and apparently took it) I knew I was a goner.
Friday, March 31, 2006.
I had plans with my friend Claire in the morning. I asked her if she would mind making a pit stop to see something. Claire, always up for an adventure said, "Sure!" So, into Bark Avenue we walked and we met the puppies. Tucker peed on Claire. Puppy pee! Now I really knew I was a goner.
Later that night I shared my secret plan with Marco. When he picked his jaw up off the floor he said, "Let's go meet the puppies."
Sunday, April 2, 2006.
The family piled into the van and unbeknownst to the children we started out on a drive perhaps a half mile from our house. When we got to Bark Avenue there was shock, surprise and sheer joy.
WE WERE GETTING A PUPPY!!
We debated taking both. However, Sandy, who had rescued their mama and who had raised them thus far, felt with our complete lack of experience with dogs perhaps we should stick to one.
Bella and Marco's choice became the family choice. The other puppy? He went on to live at my friend Leigh's house.
And so it was on Wednesday, April 5, 2006 we became a dog family.
The single best reaction came from my friend Kathy. She wrote back something like, "If there were a million people adopting a puppy, I would have had you at one million and one - as in, never."
I wasn't your usual animal person. I love them from afar. I just didn't want one in the house. I had dogs and cats as a kid. Marco had two cats when I met him. A dog was work and I already had that with two kids.
But then there was that night I needed milk...
We adopted him the week of Spring Break so the kids were home to learn how to take care of him. Our friend Pat hooked us up with the book The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skeet. We signed up for puppy classes at Pet Smart because we were pet dumb.
A puppy is way more work than cuteness.
He grew rapidly and ended up never weighing more than 45 pounds, which was surprising based on his paw size as a puppy. His litter mate, Dojo, Leigh's dog, is easily 8 inches taller and 20 pounds heavier!
He was insanely brilliant about some things. I would ask him to bring me his blue toy, and by god, he would. And then he would eat goose poop...
He once got into the outside garbage pail and ate the remains of an entire rotisserie chicken, including some of the bag.
We subscribed to Bark Box for about two years. He was a total piece of work whenever a box was delivered to the house since he always believed it was his. Boy was he annoyed when it was from Amazon or Keurig.
He was going a little deaf so sometimes he wouldn't hear Marco come home, but the second he knew he was there, he was overjoyed. He was Marco's True Companion.
He had MANY names.
Tucker ~ Fucker (come on, it was so easy) ~ Tucker the Wonder Pup ~ Tucker Boy ~ Tuckee ~ TwoGar ~ GarMan ~ My Sweet Little Boy ~ My Handsome Boy ~ My Favorite Furry Boy ~ TuckTuck ~
Tucker, Tucker Bo Bucker
My Sweet Mother Fucker
He could hear a ziplock bag open from any room even when fully conked out asleep. That's a special dog power.
When he joined me in the kitchen (I would walk in and he was right there with me) he would inevitably become a nudge. To the tune of "Go Away Little Girl" I would sing, "Go Away Little Dog," and he would leave! He really could be so smart!
The past two weeks we saw a rapid weight loss and his behavior was really odd. Never a fan of thunder, lightening, fireworks, or the vacuum, the weather these past few weeks made him truly antsy.
He was jumping onto the bed directly onto my head in the middle of the night. What?! He would refuse to get off the bed.
Friday he was absolutely not his normal self. He wouldn't eat at all. He was smacking his lips and jaw together. He was drinking water. He wouldn't even eat a treat.
Bella came home for the weekend and he was happy to see her, but he wasn't excited. He was always excited to see his girl.
At about 8:45 on Friday night Tucker started to hyperventilate. Then he went very still. I laid my hands on him and knew in my gut and my heart something was very wrong.
I broke my own rule and texted a friend who is a vet. Naturally this was after looking up his symptoms. She suggested we get him to an emergency vet to be checked out.
We all piled into Marco's truck and did just that.
We went to a place with a marvelous office staff. The vet and the vet tech didn't have the personalities and empathy we have come to expect after using North Westchester Veterinary Office for 12+ years. After a cursory exam and the suggestion of x-rays and a full blood work up, we brought our boy home.
I had asked if they thought he would die in the next 12 hours or so and they thought not.
Here's what you need to know about Dr. Maus. Those puppies way up at the begging of this post? Well, he took care of them for their first six weeks of life free of charge. How could I not stay with him?
He understood Tucker. Like when he had to be put on Prozac after getting neutered and have an overnight stay in the hospital, because as he put it, "Tucker man, you are insane!"
Or the time I threw the Frisbee with my classic bad aim and the poor dog hit the wheel barrow and got a giant gash. He was bleeding. I was crying and he was crying and they saw him even before opening hours.
They knew he hated other dogs so I would call from the car to see if the cost was clear.
And so, when he examined our favorite fur ball yesterday morning and found a large mass that went from side to side of his now tiny self, he knew. And poor Marco, who had to hear this news alone, called me. And I cried. But I knew. And then Marco woke up the kids. And he had to tell them. And they all cried.
Even though the vets office was absolutely fully booked yesterday, they made the time to help us say good bye to our Tucker Boy.
I left the salon and met the family at home. We went back to the vet. And we loved on our boy as much as we could. Peter wanted to give him the full jar of peanut butter. I said perhaps not.
Tucker had a finger full of peanut butter, three treats, and all the love a dog could ever have as he crossed over the rainbow bridge. At 12:48pm his heart beat it's last beat and frankly, ours shattered into a million little pieces in the process.
It was beautiful and sad and peaceful. I would wish for every death to be so serene.
We promised ourselves we would give him a good life and never let him suffer.
And that, my dear friends, we succeeded at doing.
Tucker Marco Pinque
(Bella gave him a middle name, LOL)
February 14, 2006 - October 6, 2018
We will miss him like crazy.
~ Ram Das