Tucker is Three
June 12, 2014


Halfway up the stairs Isn’t up, Isn’t down… ~A.A. Milne

Three years ago, this wee pup melted our hearts, despite a birth defect (cleft palate) that required some major surgery at that very young age. It was ultimately a good decision. Tucker has matured into a confident and happy dog, who has won the hearts of many with his happy dances and his sunny nature.

Every morning, I let him out the back door, where he invariably heads to the northeast corner of our yard to bark at a neighbor’s dog, who always barks back. His path through the pine trees is well marked. On the morning of his birthday, oh boy! He interrupted two cats, one of which managed to scale the fence, but the other one failed. I’m not sure what happened out there behind the ginger lilies, but Tucker emerged, energized and primed for breakfast. I think that the cat must have squeezed its fat self under the fence somehow.

After breakfast, it’s always time for “walkies”. On that same morning that he surprised the cats, we encountered a man walking a seven week old Golden Retriever. The pup was petrified by all the cars and noise, and had parked himself on his owner’s foot, just frozen there. I totally understood the situation, because all of our country raised dogs felt the same way at first, too.

So I approached him with Tucker, who wagged his tail and distracted the puppy from his fears. It was like magic. That puppy wiggled and waggled, jumped and kissed both Tucker and me, and then, when Tucker and I walked on, I looked back. That fat little fellow was walking along his owner, just as confidently as could be. What a good teacher you are, Tucker!

It began to rain on us as we were heading for home, so we stepped up the pace a bit. But I wasn’t too concerned about getting wet, as I knew that our ace groomer, Susan was scheduled to come give Tucker a bath, trim and manicure later that morning.

Whenever the doorbell rings, Tucker races to see who’s there, and gets so excited whenever people come visit (he thinks they are coming to visit him). But he knows what Susan’s van looks like, and once he saw it, he retreated to the kitchen, where he was cornered without much difficulty. Thirty minutes later, he was fluffed and buffed, with some extra treats to make him feel better after his trauma.

tucker may

After that, it was time for errands, which means a ride in the car to go to places that are dog friendly. First stop, Twin Oaks Cleaners, where he loves to visit his friends who work there. They make a big fuss over him, and honestly, if I go there without him, they are very disappointed. And here I must say that I’ll never opt for home delivery/pickup, because Tucker loves to go to the cleaners so much!

And the drive through bank, as well. I am well aware that I could deposit my checks via an app that would allow me to do it online, but there would be no cookies that come with it, like they come with the deposit slip at Bank of Texas. Tucker LOVES Bank of Texas, and I would suggest to all banks that they stock up on doggie treats to keep those canine customers happy!

On other mornings, our routine may involve working in the garden, with my faithful companion. He never strays, and I love having him keep me company as I pull weeds or transplant things, etc.


As you can tell, Tucker’s mornings are always filled with activities. If I am eating lunch at home, it usually means tuna or chicken salad, and Tucker gets to lick the spoon… a big deal to him! And then comes nap time. He probably snoozes a few hours. On a good day, I may snooze, too, albeit just for 30 minutes or so.


Later, it’s time to wander down to the mailbox or patrol the perimeter. 5:30? Time for a cookie! His stomach clock seldom fails. Then when the dad gets home, oh boy, it’s playtime!

Tucker gets sleepy pretty early; I think his body clock goes by the sunrise/sunset. Daylight means it’s time to wake up, and sunset means it’s time to go to sleep. I need to get into his rhythm for the summer months, because in Houston, it’s too hot to walk/run a dog after 8 am.

You may be wondering about that quote from A.A. Milne. That’s Tucker for you. His “brothers” Shadow and Bailey quickly learned about stairs and ran up and down with abandon. Tucker? That’s the one area that he hasn’t quite mastered, even after 3 years. He will go up and down with coaxing, but he hesitates as if he isn’t quite sure about it.

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I think he’s waiting for us to install an elevator.

Happy birthday, Tucker… What a good dog!


Deja Vu
January 24, 2013

jan 17

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. ~ Unknown

Here we go again! In January 2005, we found ourselves at the Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists facility on Loop 610 with our sweet little 18 month old Sheltie, Bailey. He’d come down with a mysterious condition called “chylothorax”, which basically meant that lymph fluid was draining into his chest cavity, making it difficult for him to breathe.

How did he get it? No one really knows, but I suspect it was a result of an attack by a Great Dane about three weeks before this condition manifested itself. After determining the situation and the course of treatment, Bailey had major surgery and recovered fully, but boy, it was a rough few weeks.

Fast forward seven years, and now it’s January 2012. Once again we find ourselves at Gulf Coast, this time with our sweet little 19 month old Sheltie, Tucker. As Tucker fans know by now, he came to us with a cleft palate that has been surgically corrected, except for a few, tiny spots that remained. Our vet recommended we look to a specialist to finish the job, because he just didn’t know how to best do it.

Dr. Heidi Hottinger (the same wonderful surgeon who took care of Bailey) will do the honors; she is amazing, and I trust her totally. Tucker will spend one night, and come home on Friday. Happily, there will be no feeding tube, rather I’ll have to hand feed him canned food. This I can do.

Still, I have been dreading this day. Tucker has no idea. Besides this one defect, he’s the happiest, healthiest dog! When I look around the waiting room at GCVS and see very sick or injured pets, I feel a little guilty that mine is so whole and well.

The worst part of the day is the no breakfast rule. We got up this morning, went outside to “do some business,” then we jumped in the car and off we went to the hospital. I know he must have been thinking, “wait, you forgot something!” and then it will dawn on him when we arrive… uh oh. I always feel like such a rat when I have to expose him to unpleasant realities like this.

After filling out the paperwork and forking over a large sum of money, we sat awhile in the waiting room. I held him in my lap, and he was bright and alert, but didn’t seem to be too concerned. Now Bailey would have been quivering and quaking with fear. But not Tucker.

A young tech came to get him, and off he went, trotting along beside her as if she were his new best friend. I love that little guy! He is so sweet.

Back home, the house is too quiet and missing Tucker’s sunny presence. It’s going to be a long day/evening! I will have to keep my mind occupied to banish any worries…

So if you’re reading this on Thursday, Jan. 24, say a little prayer for Tucker’s healing and comfort. I’ll report back next week to let you know how he’s doing!