(You can watch his videos here on Youtube!)
This is Detective Tinkerton. I adopted him back in November of 2010. He was an abandoned and very neglected little Papillon found in San Francisco.
I discovered Detective Tinkerton online while searching for Papillons on Petfinder.com. I was looking for a buddy for my other Papillon named Finn. Detective Tinkerton was from Muttville Senior Pet Rescue in San Francisco.
He was found in an abandoned apartment in San Francisco. He was emaciated and covered in fleas. Who knows how long he was left alone. He was also pretty blind, somewhat deaf, had hardly any teeth, an old jaw injury from who knows what, a fistula ( which was an abnormal connection between his sinus cavity and his mouth. So basically he had a hole into his mouth from his nose) which was very infected, he had a suspected brain tumor and a mass in his belly, low blood sugar and had mobility issues due to something possibly pressing on his spine. He was in very bad shape and it was obvious that his former owner never had taken him to a Veterinarian for care. He had the will to live like no one had ever seen. Even after all of the issues he had, he was the happiest little fellow!
When I first saw this photo (above picture) of him on Muttville.org, I wasn’t sure if he was real?! He seemed very cartoon like. Then I decided to inquire about him. I played the email game with Muttville’s owner Sherri Franklin for a few weeks. She told me he was going in for x-rays and tests. She got back to me stating that his days were basically numbered and he would be a “hospice” situation. Later that night I talked it over with my husband and we (or should I say) made the decision to go and get Tink! He needed a good ending to his life after all he had been through and I wanted to be there for him.
On a Sunday we got up early to drive up to Sherri’s house in San Francisco where Tink and a few of the other rescues lived. Many of Sherri’s rescues were fostered out to volunteers in the area. Sherri said Tink had stolen her heart and she wanted to care for him herself until he was adopted. She said he slept with her in her bed each night. We arrived to her house where my husband and our 4 year old Papillon Finn waited outside. I walked up the stairs to the door and knocked. All the dogs inside started to bark. She answered the door while pushing back some of the four-legged greeters. I squeezed my way through her door to a room full of life with a variety of barking dogs. One little poodle mix immediately came up to me with this look in her eyes saying “Are you here for me!” It broke my heart to see the desperation in her. But I could tell they were all well cared for at Muttville. You can see how dedicated these women are who run it. Every dog gets his or her chance at finding a home. No one ever gives up in finding the right adopter and they know there is someone out there for all these helpless senior dogs.
As we were talking over all the high-pitched barking and excitement, I searched around the room to see where “The Detective” was. Then, I noticed on the sofa this tiny little black and white dogs head pop up with these huge foggy blue eyes. He seemed to know I was there for him. It was like as if he was getting up to dust himself off and prepare to greet me. I was a bit shocked by how bad he looked. He had no fur on top of his head and his skin was hot to the touch. His hair had fallen out from the flea infestation. His tongue stuck out like a child making “raspberries” at you out of the window of a passing car. He shook with excitement like all the other dogs. One of the volunteers yelled “yeayyyyy Tink your new mommy is here”! My heart sank when she put him on the ground as I watched him struggle to walk. He wobbled and tottered about the living room like an old drunkard! I greeted him but was afraid to pick him up since he was so tragically frail. I was afraid I would break him in half. I could tell from how all the volunteers catered towards Tink, that he was a very special little guy. They all loved him and cherished him.
Sherri and I discussed his medications and food requirements, vet info, my donation, etc……. She asked me if she had mentioned that he barked like a chicken when he wanted to go outside. I said “no” and laughed. I was looking forward to hearing that! She took him outside and showed me how easy it was to get him to go potty. She placed him onto a chunk of fake grass and he immediately went pee. What a good boy! When we finished talking, I gently picked him up and carried him outside to meet Finn and my husband. He was light as a feather!
Finn really did not want anything to do with him at first. He seemed a bit annoyed by his new housemate and I think he knew something was wrong with Tink. Tink walked around and did some last-minute potty chores before we got in the car for the ride back to Santa Cruz. He settled down in my lap on his doggie bed and I began to shower him with kisses!
(my sister and Tink on his first day home)
When we got home, Tink walked around and smelled every corner of the house. I could tell he could see a little. He would react if he got to close to objects would take care in stepping where the wood floors transitioned to tile. He could also track my hand movements. He did not seem to really care or worry where he was or who he was with, he just seemed happy to be alive and seemed to know he was going to be taken well care of and pampered to the fullest.
(this is my favorite photo of Tink!)
Within one month we got him up from 4 lbs to 7 lbs! He ate allot at first and would gobble down his food. I am sure he had competition while eating at the shelter. Eventually he mellowed out and was not so piggish when he realized the plate of food was all his. He started to regain his strength and began walking allot better. He would actually trot behind me when I would take him and Finn for walks. My shadow was his guide and he would follow my every step. His hearing was not the greatest and he would use his nose to find my scent. I had to keep an eye on him so he would not fall off the sidewalk or crash into things. He did really well and worked his way up to walk 5 blocks! He gained a large fan club while we were out on our walks. Other dog owners that had gotten to know him would cheer on his progress. We started his own Facebook page so all his fans could keep up on his progression! He got to 108 friends! Most never even met him but were inspired by his story.
(Tink following my shadow)
( this photo is of him passing out after drinking a big bowl of water!)
He eventually was able to climb up 3 steps on our back deck and had no problem with guiding himself right to the door! And yes, his chicken like bark was pretty funny! He would stand in our living rooms bay window and bark. I really don’t think he was seeing anything but just knew there was a window that need some barking out of! I could not help but smile and laugh every time he did this. Sometimes he would get stuck under a chair or behind some other furniture and would bark for me to rescue him. He would at times get turned around and lose his sense of direction. We could not help but snicker when he would wake us up at 3 in the morning barking in our bed. He really did not know when morning really was.
Finn would try to play with him but I think Tink really did not understand what was going on. Finn would look at him, like “come on, chase me!” and then eventually give up and go beat up and play with his best buddy our cat Harper! Harper would sometimes give Tink a little kick-start with his paw and Tink would scurry off in a hurry. He did not seem afraid but just did not understand what was happening. But he did have a play technique. He found me where ever I was in the house by sniffing the floor and then would do his little happy dance at my feet. I would pet him up and he would wiggle his butt and try to spin or jump. We were guessing he was around 14 years old. Papillons can live to their 20’s if well cared for. Tink could possibly have been even younger than what we thought. All his health issues could have aged him a ton.
( Finn and Tink walking along the Ocean)
( out on our walkies!)
Things had been looking up and then one morning we woke to Tink limping and had trouble balancing on his feet. His front right leg was pulled back and tight to his body. My Vet was not sure what he did. If he slipped on the floor and hurt himself or if he had a stroke :( . I felt sad for Tink but he did not seem to let it bother him too much. The thing that did bother him was that what was remaining of his vision was now gone. His cataracts were getting worse. He seemed to be depressed and did not want to go for walkies with Finn. I would carry him from then on and put him in the grass to do his business when we were out and about. He seemed to like being carried and his spirits eventually rose. He regained some confidence and started to walk around everywhere again. He would even find a tree and try to lift his leg and pee on it! I took him with me on a cruiser bike ride to the local brewery to meet our friends. I had designed a pet carrier that I wore in the front against my chest for Finn. Finn loves to go for a bike ride! I thought I would see if Tink would enjoy this as well. And he did. He would raise his nose and take in all the smells and let the wind blow through his big ears! While at the brewery he would walk around all the other patrons in search for some dropped crumbs. He would get some weird looks from some of the people when they saw his eyes! Some would comment on how scary he was which I of course did not like. He was not scary to me. I thought he was adorable! This was his only bike ride. I am glad he at least had the one chance.
( Tink begging!)
( This is my screen saver on my iPhone!, I love this picture too!)
His cataracts eventually turned to Glaucoma. A very painful eye disease. We got him on the right meds and had pressure tests every few weeks at the Ophthalmologist Vet here in town. The Doctor was happy his pressure had dropped at the last visit. Tink celebrated by farting and clearing out the whole waiting room! ;) His walking got worse too. He had trouble getting up more and more and getting started once he was standing. Once he was on the go things would start working again and he would be fine for a while. But it was still really difficult. He then started to lay around more and more and just sleep. The muscle he regained in his legs deteriorated quickly. He started to wobble and totter about again. Not as bad as when we first took him and was different. I could tell something was drastically wrong. He was of course in our hospice care and we knew that his days were numbered. We felt lucky to have had him in our care for 4 and a half months when they had predicted he would only live for a few weeks.
On the morning of April 5th 2011, Tink could no longer get up. He struggled and howled. I could hear the distress in his cries and feel it in his body. I showered him with kisses like I did each and every day. I knew this was it and I had to make the dreaded phone call to my very dedicated Vet. My Veterinarian Hannah Good was so helpful with me and Tink. She told me I was a saint for taking him in and that I would fly with the Angels! She also said to me that when the day came of him passing, I would be very upset. I was not just upset, I was a train wreck! I had fallen in love hard for this sweet little soul. The only good thing in the end was that he was only in distress for a very short time. I did not have to take him into a cold clinical Vet Office to be put down. Hannah came to me and we quietly ended his pain with him in his blanket which was comfortably placed on our bed where he had slept each night. He went peacefully and quick. I thanked and hugged Hannah for being so kind and for all that she did and gave Tink a kiss goodbye. We picked a nice spot in our back yard near the house where Tink liked to walk around and buried him. He is in a safe place where we can say good morning to him and good night.
Detective Tinkerton definitely had something very special about him. He touched so many that met him. I feel very lucky to have had him in our lives. Even through all his rough days, he was still a joy. And there were some pretty rough ones! He would always perceiver and amaze us with his will to keep going on. Rest in Peace little fella! We miss you and will love you forever as well as will never forget you!
The last photo taken of Tink with us………………
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