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Friday, September 19, 2008

Tess A Heart Dog

Tess with friend Sammy Whippet(also at the bridge)

Tess in hat and bandana

Today it is 3 years since my little Tess had to be helped to the bridge. It was 1 month to the day after her 9th birthday. I've had dogs all my life. All different kinds. I raised and showed Keeshonds, Pugs. Showed my Frenchie to his Championship. Along the way, I came to realize that now and then, you find a heart dog. I loved each and every dog I've ever had and always cried buckets when they left for the bridge. But a heart dog somehow is different. Tess was a little black & tan chihuahua that I bought at a place I always advised people not to go. One of those trade day places. I was walking along, looking, and saw Tess. She was 7 weeks old. This was at a very low time in my life and when we looked at each other, I cannot explain what happened. Then I held her. And against all I knew, I bought her for $150.00. (About my last 150.00 I might add) My husband of nearly 25 yrs. had left, the divorce was not final, and I wasn't getting much help with bills. Of which there were many at the time. So the 2 incomes had been reduced to one.) I only mention this because it shows that I had no business buying another dog(I had 4 at home),certainly not from a place like this. Probably a puppy mill. Or I hoped at least some people that thought they could make money with puppies. Either way, everyone that knew me could not believe I had done this.

Over the next 9 years I never slept a night without Tess. Except while in the hospital for surgeries. I got hurt while working in the ICU, trying to break the fall of a 300 lb man that had just had a CABG(Bypass surg). I weigh around 100 lbs. He was ok, another nurse came and helped me, and I didn't think I was hurt very bad. That proved to be not the case. I've had 7 knee surgeries. About the 3rd was a partial knee replacement which failed the last was a replacement to total knee. It also didn't come out right. Without all details, let's just say if my orig ortho doc had done things right I'd be running races today. Tess was always with me when I was recovering. She knew when I was sad, she knew when I hurt and where not to step on me.

This is Tess with Scooter when he was 8 weeks>

After the 1st knee surgery I had moved in with my mom and dad who were about 12 miles from my house. I needed the help and my house had stairs. My folks are great. My Dad in particular just loved dogs. Daddy was the only man Tess ever liked. I ended up staying longer than I thought I would. I was back at work. I worked nights, but had been called in early on April 23, 1998. They were telling us our hospital was shutting down. Great! In the middle of the meeting I got called out. Long story short. I was to go home. My Dad had gone out to bushhog my 2 acres(cut the grass with a tractor that had a bushhog attached. Just think big old mower bhind the tractor.) The bushhog got stuck, Daddy chained it to pull it out,the tractor flipped. It was instant. So I went home, no job and my Daddy was gone.

Tess got me through that. I thought I wouldn't be able to handle that. My Dad was my hero, mybest friend. I couldn't imagine it would be possible to live in a world without him. Poor little Tess got so soaked with my tears. I can't explain our connection at all, because I don't know the words. But Tess definitely made it possible for me to eventually learn to live with the circumstances. It will sound crazy, but I swear sometimes it was like she "talked" to me with thoughts.

The last surgery was in 2002. I have been on disability since. Sunny is my service dog. I tend to fall sometimes. And touch typing doesn't work well, as I lost the end of my L ring finger and injured the one next to it in a gate accident.

See how much Tess and I went through? Yes, I had other dogs at the time. It was Tess who just had the "knowing" of me. My Dad had gotten Scooter as a baby. My Mom decided the other 2 chihuahuas they had at the time of the accident were all she could handle,and Scooter was a rascally puppy. I never went back to my home. I stayed with my Mom. Then she decided to move to Denton about 4 yrs ago and wanted me to come. So I did. I always figure Dad would want me to take care of her.

3 years ago, in June, I noticed a little hard lump in Tess's neck. It was lymphoma. She made it about 3 months. Finally, I could tell,she told me, it was time. I held her as she left. I have included a picture of the egyptian style box that holds her remains. Heart dogs come along every now and then. Scooter missed her a long time. I still miss her. I miss her understanding of me and her wiseness. One day, when it is time, I'll see her and my Dad again. That will be a good day.

I'm grateful everyday for all the dogs I have had the priveldge of having in my life. And I wanted to remember Tess on this day that she went to the bridge.


Blue said...

Reading this made me cry, because, my Hero was like your Tess very special.
I remembered him back in May, his Barkday & passing day were just a week apart. He's been gone ten years now, but I still miss him.


Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

My mom is leaking -

But that human mixture of good and bad likhwuids -

Thanks fur sharing your story -

Just one of them would be enough fur one person -

PeeEssWoo: I hope my mom thinks of me as her heart dog - she's my heart mom

Mango the Maltese kiddo said...

Mango's mom here: Jamie, Tess was always your heart dog. I couldn't agree with you more why you called her heart dog. Reading the story made me love and understand you more. I cried hard when you said you had held her as she left.
My Ringo my heart dog had to be helped to the bridge a year ago. The pain was unbearable and at that time, I was not with DWB. Until today, I'm still unable to do a post about Ringo but I will.
Thanks for sharing your story about Tess the heart dog. It touched my heart tenderly.

Lacy said...

w00f's kids, wow, u took my thoughts..was wanting every one to do a post on one of their heart my life i have had 2, jojo and lacy...jojo wuz the hellion and lacy the dainty little girl...ur tess sounds like the pawfect dog...glad u had her in ur time of need...

b safe,

The Girl said...

Oh, Jamie, I am crying. Thank you for sharing the story of you and Tess; what a special way to mark the day she left for the bridge.

I also now know what people mean by "heart dogs". I loved my Shea dearly, and it still hurts that she went to the bridge. But Dannan is my heart dog. He knows when I need him; he licks away my tears when I cry. I can never find all the words to explain what he means to me; but I do know that other people can know what I mean by me calling him my heart dog.

It sounds like you had a lot of very sad things happen in a very short time. Your strength through it all shines through in your words to us. Many, many hugs to you, and all the brown dog kisses you can stand.

The Girl (a.k.a. Linds)

Lady Kaos said...

I really need to stop reading posts like this at work! I know exactly what you mean about heart dogs. Kaos is my heart dog. I've had dogs and cats growing up and I went a year without a pet in my house and it drove me crazy. It was the longest most horrible year of my life. When we adopted Kaos she was well, chaotic. She wouldn't settle down for anything! Then I started getting sick and she would be the most calm dog ever. She would lay on the floor by the couch if that was were I was crashed out or she would get up on the bed with me if I was in bed. She would go an entire day without asking to go outside of for me to throw anything for her to fetch. She would come stick her nose agains my cheek and forehead once in awhile and that was about it. It was like she was taking my temperature. When I had gallbladder surgery a year an a half ago we were really worried she'd jump up on the couch with me and bump me. I was in pretty bad shape and a simple same day surgery ended up being a MAJOR stay the night with all sorts of stuff hooked up to me surgery. Kaos knew how much pain I was in and was extremly careful when she was near me. It took me a long time to recover and she was always careful. She also figured out how to hand me her tennis ball since I couldn't bend over. I've been feeling great since my surgery so she hasn't been my "nurse" for awhile until last night. I had this horrible headache that made me feel sick. I hadn't had one of those in a long time. Kaos came and layed on the couch next to me with her head on my lap instead of wanting me to play her normal required 6 hours of fetch. I've had my little dacshund for longer than I've known my husband, but we've never had a connection like Kaos and I have.
I have to go find a kleenex now.
Have a good weekend.

Gus said...

Thank you for telling us about Tess. Muzzer is leaking again. She does that when people post sad doggie stories. I hope I am her heart dog, but I think maybe Nigel was. deep doggie sigh.


Eduardo said...

I'm sorry for you losing Tess. My Mommy is crying because she had dogs before me & none of them had the connection I have with my Mommy. She knew when she seen me that I was the one she wanted. I was the runt & nobody else wanted me, but Mommy did. When my Mommy has a grand-mal seizure I lay beside her and wimper to let her know something is wrong. Often my mommy forgets where she is after a seizure & I'm always there to let her know she is home & safe with me. Thank you for sharing your story.
Hugs & Snugs
Eduardo the Snuggle Puggle

Rambo said...

What a wonderful yet tragic story. You've been through quite a bit! It was so great that you had a special dog like Tess to help you through the bad times. I hope my G-Mom feels that way about me!

Maggie and Mitch said...

What a wonderful story! Tess was one special girl and we're so glad the two of you are soul mates forever and ever!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Tadpole said...

Oh no - my girls' eyes are broken... they're dripping water!

And rest assured, it doesn't sound "crazy" at all - at least to us who love doggins :-) My family's dog (who I grew up with) passed away just over a year ago, and I was sobbing the other day as I walked past her grave. There are certain ones who grab our hearts and never let go, even when they head to the bridge. You'll all be together again. And she is watching over you and crazy Sunny and Scooter now (and here I mean "crazy" in the most loving sense of the word!!!).

Joe Stains said...

what a sad but lovely post. dogs really do something for humans that even other humans can't do, so we totally understand. thanks for sharing this story with us.

Moco said...

You and Tess were so lucky to have each other.

Lorenza said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Sure Tess was wonderful.
We love you so much.
Kisses and hugs
Lorenza and mom

Amber-Mae said...

I can't believe this post made me leak but it's sooo sad. This is a heartwarming story indeed. Thank you for sharing it with us. Tess must have been the most wonderful dog you've ever had!

Butt wiggles,
Solid Gold Dancer

Snowy and Crystal said...

Very touching story about one precious dog "Tess".

Thanks for sharing it with us *wet licks*

Mommy loves us so very much, but she says that our beloved Melon the poodle was her heart dog.

Maltese Paws,


P.S. you sure can take the drawing of your, Sunny. That is a gift from mommy to you. We are so glad to hear that you liked it

Pippa said...

Mistress says she always misses them. All of them still.

Anonymous said...

Tess sounds like such a special dog. I love the term you used, "Heart Dog." I had a Heart Dog in high school, McSpot. and Rusty is a Heart Dog for me.

Rusty has something for Scooter and sunny.

Sharon (Rusty's mom)

the 4 Bs said...

you are very lucky to have had Tess. she sounds like a very special girl. dogs are wonderful.


Willow the Black Dale said...

The leaks are coming and won't stop. Oh make them stop!!! My mommy had Sadie who was so very special to her like that. Now she has me.


What a sad story. You were very lucky to have such a wonderful dog.

Essex & Deacon

PS: To get rid of the spaces go back and edit the blog and start doin a little deleting. This happens to us when we edit posts sometime.

We left you award over at our blog too. After such a touching story it is well deserved.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

What a great tribute to your Tess.

Roxie, Sammy and Andy said...

What a sad but wonderful story. You are lucky to have found a heart dog. So many people are not even aware that a dog can be so attuned to people. Tess sounds wonderful and we know your days just aren't the same without her around. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Roxie, Sammy & Andy

BenTheRotti said...

This made Mum cry because my Bridge Brother Ben was very much her heart dog, Dad used to joke that there was an invisible umbilical cord attaching from them. Mum even risked her job by taking him there (she wasn't technically allowed) because she couldn't bear to be parted from him. They had 15 years together and it broke Mum's heart when he left. I'm slowly worming my way into the position of her new heart dog (gotta break down those barriers first, she is too scared to get THAT attached to another dog!) Mum is sending you lots and lots of hugs and love, she has my bridge brothers ashes as she says he was happiest at home with her.

love, licks and rotti slobbers,

Ben xxxxxxx

Chef said...

Jamie, thank you for sharing your feelings about your Tess. It really has gotten to me. You two went through so much together and it is so wonderful that you had each other during those hard times in your life. It was a beautiful tribute.

Linda and Chef

Coco said...

My gosh, this post made my mommy cry. I look ver ymuch like your baby Tess. In fact, i was born exactly 11 days after her 1 year passing (8/1/08). Mommy understands about having a Heart Dog. She still cries when she thinks about her Heart Dog. He was a 185 pound rottweiler. He understood he loke no other. Mommy thinks im going to be her next Heart Dog...I just need to get this potty training thing down and im good!

I would like very much to to be your friend too, please add me to yoru friends list as i will add you to mine.

With Love, tail wiggles, and puppy kisses,

Coco - The Princess

mare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mare said...

We have been privileged to know what you call heart dogs and what I know as Pure Love. You can find our current crew here (its a blog for kids in special circumstances) but, as you have learned, you are not alone in your bond with Tess.