In June 1991, Tooky was brought to the Spokane County Animal Shelter as a little baby afraid of the world. She was left in an industrial section all by her lonesome. The moment I discovered Tooky, she was connected to my heart forever. I held her in my hand, close to my face; she licked the tears as we looked at the big dogs that were up for adoption. I had no idea what a truly, astonishing friend she would be for the next 17 years.|
Tooky was an amazing dog; easy to train; offering nothing but love and attention; and loved being at my side. We enjoyed wonderful outdoor activities including mountain biking, camping, jogging and boating. She loved to go with our friend Wade to kayak or hike. As a Border Collie-mix, she was always ready for adventure.
She had a special kitty, Tilly that was all hers. Once I finished school, I knew Tooky needed a companion while I earned the kibble. We introduced Tooky to several kitties but Tilly was her new best friend forever. They would romp, play and torment each other all the while waiting for me to return to feed them.
It was time for me to move to Portland, Oregon and Tooky was having some health problems by the age of 4. She had a nasty skin rash and chewed at her feet. My mom agreed to take Tooky to her home in Oak Harbor, WA until I completed the move and got settled. Tooky loved being at Grandma's place. A huge yard, lots of birds and cascade berries to eat right off the vine were all for her.
Grandma worked with a local vet and helped Tooky return to a full coat of hair with no rash. Initially, it was tuna, potatoes and garlic. There lots of medicated baths all courtesy of Grandma, who loved and nurtured her to great health.
It was a tough time for me being without Tooky, so 9 months later was a joyous time when Tooky joined Tilly and me in Portland. In 1996, we moved to Sauvie Island and lived on a floating home. Oh, what fun time the two of them had watching the world go by as the water in Multnomah Channel flowed out to the Columbia River. Tooky would herd the ducks and geese, who wanted to rest on our floating decks. Tilly on the other hand was always looking for a free lunch. We had many days of lounging on the decks watching the ever changing views drift through the seasons of life.
Tooky's health faltered again but with the help of a naturopathic vet, we had her on sweet potatoes, cottage cheese and various remedies. This helped return her to better health, no scratching or licking. It did not really seem to faze her, as she would eat anything we put in front of her. I spent more time preparing her meals than I did my own but I did not mind. She gave so much love and affection to me, that I would have gone to the ends of the earth for her.
Tooky enjoyed longs walks near Hadley's Landing and road trips to see Grandma, Aunt Pennie, cousin Izzy and Uncle Don. Just stick her in the back seat, bandana around her next and an open window. Tooky loved the smell of everything but mostly loved barking at the cows or the windsurfers (in the Columbia Gorge).
Tooky met her forever Daddy (Steve) in 1999 and fell in love with him as I did. He would take her for walks; cut up sweet potatoes and do just about whatever Tooky needed. Steve even helped me find a new home back on 'dirt'. It just seemed easier for Tooky, Tilly and me to return to the city.
We found a great place but no where near the fun and activity of the river. Bethany Knoll was a quiet neighborhood where Tooky and Tilly settled in better than I expected. They both sat on the front porch surveying the new neighbors and critters. There was time for long walks through the neighborhood and trips to the great dog parks in Portland.
Tooky also discovered doggy day care and grew to love the staff at Aquadog. She was starting to slow due to signs of hip dysplasia and arthritis. Often she would go outside to bark or check on the other young dogs then wander back to the office where her own bed awaited for long naps and rubs from any of the great staff.
We have great memories of Mike from Aquadog for introducing us to Solid Gold dog food. After frequent attempts of trying to get her off of raw food, we had practically given up. We started Tooky on the vegetarian one using it as treats. Within 8 months we had her on Solid Gold as her permanent diet. It was amazing how she improved from an energy and skin/coat perspective.
Tooky and I decided to try Agility Training for fun. Neither of us had any idea how much fun we would have. Most of the teams in the class were there as beginners on their way to competition or some others back for basic training. Tooky and I just wanted to go through the obstacles to the finish line. People used to comment how sweet it was to watch us run the course because Tooky was always looking at me with little hearts dancing around her head. It showed how much she loved me! What a great compliment.
In 2002 Steve and I went to Europe for a long vacation, we talked with the dog sitter just before we were scheduled to return. Tooky had liver disease at the age of 12 and it did not look good. We struggled with how to help her but followed her vet's advice (with milk thistle) and hoped for the best. Surprisingly, she survived and it was nothing short of a miracle. That is my Tooky, wanting more out of life and not giving in to anything.
A neighbor had suggested Tooky start taking cod liver oil to help improve her mobility and her coat. She said an elderly man told her what a miracle it was for him. Hmmm ... I thought why not? Anything to help my Tooky! After about 3 months, we really started to notice her walking better; she had improved stability and was even trotting again (when she knew something was ahead that she wanted). It was just a few squirts of oil (lemon scented) twice a day on her Solid Gold food.
The following year, we (Tooky and me) had enough of stairs from our town home. We (Steve and me) looked for a new home that was all on one level. Ironically, we found a one level condominium with an elevator to the third floor -- our new home. Tooky's hips and my knees/back were very thankful. Good news, Tooky could still cruise the 'hood and see her other doggy pals. Better news, Tooky and Tilly could lounge on the large deck and watch the world drift by once again.
Since Tooky never really had a backyard to play in -- except for that time with Grandma- she always had multiple daily walks with Steve, dog walkers and me. The vet feels the exercise and the cod liver oil have helped extend her life and improve the quality. The x-rays showed her hip dysplasia and arthritis worsening but she was moving better than ever.
We continued our walks but day care was no longer a good option. Steve and I worked more and more from home (lucky for us)! The road trips happened but not as often. The good times were still plenty and Tooky's bark could be heard around the block when she was on the big deck. She only barked when she played and heard the doorbell.
In 2005, Tilly, who had been the healthiest of us all came down with some sort of intestinal disease. She started eating a little less and lost 50% of her body weight over 7 months. That August she could no longer fight and left us for heaven. We were all sad but surprised since Tooky was the one with the various medical problems. These two had been together for all of Tilly's 13 years.
By Christmas we thought it would be good to get another pet for Tooky (and for us). We adopted a Lhasa Poo and named her Greta. Boy what a ball of energy she was and a lightning bolt for Tooky. Remember Tooky and Tilly were growing quietly into there elder years with no fuss. No here comes a ball of fire and wanting attention from every one, especially Tooky.
The two worked it out and became really good pals. Greta started doggy daycare and Tooky appreciated the solitude now and then. Tooky has always been a people dog and a herding dog. If she was not trying to herd you somewhere (in the early years) then she was laying at your feet being content. She would always gaze up at Steve and me with the most soulful eyes you have ever seen.
In the autumn of 2006, Tooky was diagnosed with some type of malignant cancer. There was a bump under her chin and it was inoperable due to the location. Tooky was 15 1/2 and I was not going to put her through weekly vet visits or anything else that she would compromise the quality of her life. We could not see any visible signs of her being in pain. In the meantime, the vet suggested Benadryl to maybe keep the cancer from spreading so fast and Pepcid to prevent any upset tummy aches. Now we just had to wait and see how long she had to live.
She developed more lumps, bumps and warts but nothing seemed to be changing her enjoyment of life. The walks continued, the loud requests as dinner time still came and the love she bestowed on all who came across her path. I have not met one person who has not commented on what a remarkable dog she is. There were a few hints about dog-napping but only in jest.
We roll into 2008 to find Tooky a little slower but her spirit is strong. She has spent countless hours teaching Greta "the rules of the house". She stops to greet all neighbors regardless of how little and how tall. We even had a doggy cake and ice cream for her 17th birthday -- yes, I said 17! However, all good things must come to an end or maybe it is just change.
The cancer did not take her, the liver disease did not take her, the hip dysplasia and arthritis did not cause any broken bones. She just started showing signs of really slowing down and her quality of life was now being compromised with this thing we call age. Tooky and I talked for well over a week. She was ready to see Tilly again. She wanted to be pain free and run after squirrels once again. She was never fast enough to actually catch one but she sure did love to try.
On June 6, Tooky booked a first class seat flying directly to the Rainbow Bridge. She was sent off by her Daddy, Mommy and little sister -- and her vet of close to 10 years. For the last time, she raised her head looked at me with those expressive eyes and said I have to go now...it's time for Tooky and Tilly to be together again. Even though my heart felt crushed, I had to let her go but I know when it is my time to go to heaven, Tooky will be waiting with open paws and sloppy kisses.