Tuffy in 1993
In May 1993 our precious dog, Ember died. The whole family was greatly upset. She had died the day after I returned from my second year of university. Dad was upset, but he was adamant about getting a new dog right away. He started watching the SPCA show on tv to see what dogs they had there. Mom and I were more cautious, we wanted to wait awhile before welcoming another dog into the home. Grieving had to be done. Did I say Dad was adamant? Within a week he had visited the SPCA with Mom to find another dog. He came back without one. I was happy about that. The next week he took me with him to the SPCA to “just look” at the dogs there.
He saw Tuffy and it was love at first sight. Tuffy came home with us, perched on my knees.
According to the papers given to the society when he was turned over to them, he was one year old. He was probably a bit younger.
I was hesitant to fall in love with another dog, I was still a bit upset about Ember’s death, and I was right ticked off at Dad for making the decision to replace her so quickly. But Tuffy, well he was a charmer. He liked me a lot, and hung around me for the first few weeks. I was weak, and he had such compelling brown eyes!
Tuffy became Dad and Mom’s constant companion. He was a delight with them. He would come up to Mom and jump on her lap and give her lots of cuddle and kisses. He adored her. When he was not delighting the parents, he would sit on a chair at the window and bark at all and sundry on both sides of the road. It was his territory and he would not be silent about their intruding in his space. He also barked at all the visitors. A bit of a terror.
When Mom died, Tuffy became Dad’s only company. They would take long walks around the neighbourhood. He was the man with the tiny black dog. Inseperable.
When Dad died 5 years later we were really worried that Tuffy would not take well to moving. He was after all, an old dog, about 13 years old. But he was a trooper. He made the journey to Ontario by car with little complaint, and when faced with Titus, my brother’s dog, he was great. They became buddies.
What an adaptation for him, to move to a new house, become part of a two dog home, new rules, new life, and he did it wonderfully. Old dogs do learn new tricks.
Tuffy did not save any kids from a burning building, he was not the dog you took to old age homes, or to aid the handicapped. But he was loved and loving, and a special part of our family. He lived an amazing 18 years (or thereabouts) and he was able up until the end, to live with a sense of dignity and personality. His death on May 9th marked not only the end of an era, a connection to our parents, but the loss of a beloved friend to my brother, his wife, me and Titus.