Monday, May 3, 2010

May Day Birthday

Tuffy on May 2nd 2010. 14 years and 1 day old.

  I was all set to go to the state class championships in Pella Saturday, when work reared its unforgiving head and I ended up working from 9 hours between 5am and 11pm to help with the implementation of a new project and a month end run of a critical customer that was having a lot of problems. I was disappointed since I have done well in the last 2 class championships I played in, but work has to come first since my family and I are fond of eating.

  The bright side of having to stay home was that it was our youngest dog Tuffy’s 14th birthday and I got to take him for a couple of long walks. Tuffy has always been a bundle of energy. In early 1996, our beagle Queenie want into heat and was knocked up in our backyard. We didn’t get a good look at the offending dog and since I was hoping to breed Queenie with another beagle, took her to THE VET (that was the name of the office) for a morning-after shot. A few weeks later she started looking pregnant so I took her back to THE VET, who took an x-ray, said it probably a false pregnancy, but there were no puppies. 2 weeks later, Queenie started lactating and when I took her back to THE VET, her normal doctor was off and the substitute just tried to scare me into buying some heartworm medicine, instead of dealing with the issue at hand. That Tuesday night (May first, 1996), Queenie started howling like she was in terrible pain. I called THE VET, but got no answer. I took Queenie downstairs and Kathy stayed with her until after midnight, Queenie passed a bloody bag. Kathy broke open the bag and there was a puppy. He was the only pup in the litter, we had promised Matt that if Queenie ever had puppies we’d keep one, and after the shot and vet visits God must have wanted us to have this dog so we kept him and named him Tuffy since he had to be tough to even be born.

  Tuffy has always been much bigger than Queenie (55 lbs vs. 35 lbs.). I think that’s because he never had to fight any other puppies for food as a youngster. When he was younger he was sort of squatty, so I nicknamed him Lugnut, but he grew into a lean barrel-chested half-beagle. He always wags his tail a mile a minute and is just a happy dog, but he’s scared more than one stranger by barking at them and taking a few steps toward them.

  Tuffy is a food scrounge. When he is walking, he is always pulling from side to side and will scoop up anything he can find and gobble it down without breaking stride. Sometime I’m walking and I hear a crunch, look down, and there is Tuffy trying to swallow a chicken bone. He gives me a pretty dirty look when I grab a bone out of his mouth. He’s always sneaking into the kitchen and trying to steal Queenie’s food (Queenie is a slow eater). He’ll even try to stick his tongue in the rabbit’s cage and try to grab the baby carrots we feed it.

  One morning years ago, I was working in the basement, and Tuffy was hanging out with me. Then he threw up and looked miserable. I went to clean it up and he had thrown up cat poop. He was so embarrassed he couldn’t even look at me. I told him “if you’re going to eat from the cat box, at least keep it down so I don’t have to clean it up”. He hid for awhile, but was quickly back to his fun-loving self.

The quintessential Tuffy picture, taken around 2000. He has always been fun loving and energetic.

  Tuffy has lost a lot of his hearing and is blind in one eye, but he is still the same energetic, happy dog he’s always been. He is a great companion and is one of the best friends I ever had. For his birthday, I walked him and his mom to the convenience store ¾ of a mile away at 5 in the morning, got them both a beef stick and at 5 in the afternoon, Kathy and I took them out again for another beef stick. On the way back, with Tuffy pulling Kathy all the way, he suddenly stopped and shoved his head into the sidewalk and was munching on a pack of licorice left on the sidewalk. Nothing like a little birthday desert!