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The Middle Years

In 1991, we finished building our new home out in the country (sort of--it's still in the city limits), and we moved out there in March.  While building the house, we'd built in a 'doggie-door' just for Tiffany.  I'd installed some of these before in the screen door of our Euless home, and the rent home in Mansfield, and Tiffany was an old hand at going in and out through these.  With the new house, we finally didn't have to leave the regular door open so the Tiffany could get out.  Only one problem...when we moved in, we didn't have a yard established yet, and Springtime is the rainy season in Texas.  In no time at all, we'd developed a muddy track on the carpet starting at her door!  I laid out some boards to allow her to get to the porch by avoiding the mud immediately next to the house, and I placed some carpeting on the porch, just outside her door, and this helped quite a bit.  When the grass finally came in, we were greatly relieved.

Tiffany_on_the_road.JPG (44547 bytes)Tiffany still loved her walks, and every morning that I didn't have to go somewhere for work (I'd try and work out of my home office as much as I could), we'd take a walk in the morning, and every morning, we'd walk up and down the road for a half an hour.  During our morning walks, we'd wander all around the neighborhood, and even up and down the 'main' road that Carlin connects to.  Sometime around this time, she learned the word 'Walk'.  Whenever I'd ask if she wanted to go on a walk, she'd get very excited, bark, and run to the front door (usually sliding on the floor, and running into the door).  She also learned the words 'company' and 'Mom'.

It was during this first year at the new house that Tiffany got her first serious medical problem.  As I remember, it was early summer, and one morning, she was very listless--didn't want to do anything, not even her walk!  We took her to the vet (Dr. Bobby Hart of Walnut Creek Animal Clinic --Great people there!), and he diagnosed her with Erlichia (or something like that)--a parasitic disease passed on by mosquito and tick bites that was brought back from the K-9 patrols in Vietnam.  After getting her home, we put her on the couch (her favorite place) to make her comfortable.  There she stayed for the next two days--she didn't eat or drink either!  After this, Dr Hart suggested we try giving her some plain white rice.  Willing to try anything by now, we cooked up some rice, and let it cool off.  we offered it to Tiffany, and she actually started eating it!  So, we hand-fed her as much rice as she wanted, and it was heartwarming to see her eating again.  After the rice, she managed to drink some water, and we nursed her back to health.  That was a close call.

Alex was born in October of that year, and Tiffany seemed to be OK with that.  She was still kind of unsure around Jenne (now 3), and any other small mobile kids, but she was alright with Alex as long as he wasn't trying to touch her.

We kept up our morning/evening walks for the next few years, until one night, when we went out the front door for our evening walk, Tiffany just stopped.  The crickets and/or tree frogs were quite loud that night, and apparently she was frightened by the sound.  She wouldn't walk any farther, and only wanted to go back to the house.  From that night on, she never wanted to take an evening walk again.

When Alex was about 2 or 3, I (Steve) had another one of my very painful Kidney Stones, and Cheryl took me to the hospital.  We'd got in touch with Cheryl's parents, and they came over to sit with the kids while Cheryl was busy with me at the hospital.  During this time, something happened at home--we never got a good straight story, but apparently somehow Alex fell onto Tiffany, and she got quite upset at this, and bit or scratched him on the cheek (personally, I think that the would looked like a tooth mark).  If you look on his right cheek, you can still see the scar today!  Anyway, her mother thought we should put Tiffany down right then and there.  I know that Dr Laura would have voted to, at the very least, get rid of Tiffany to a family without kids, but we were too emotionally attached to her, and justified to ourselves that it was an accident.  Needless to say, we kept a close eye on her for some time after that incident.  Alex too, from that point on, was very leery of being too close to Tiffany.

TiffAtKidsRoomWindow.JPG (9567 bytes) I had an old large pillow that we placed on the floor in the "kid's room" (this is the room that is usually called the dining room, but ours has the kid's couch, TV, video games, other games, and other assorted toys from many years).  I usually kept the blinds in this room open at least for the bottom foot or so.  This became one of Tiffany's favorite resting places.  She'd lay on the pillow, and it was just the right height for her to watch out the window for anyone to drive up, and to keep an eye on any squirrels and/or birds that would dare venture into 'her' yard.

At some time in her middle years, Tiffany became very sensitive to loud noises.  This could be why she no longer wanted to take her evening walks.  When we took our walks in the mornings, if there was ever a large truck driving down our road, she'd give it a WIDE berth.  In fact, there were many occasions, when the very loud trash truck would drive down our street that Tiffany turned tail and ran all the way back to our house, leaving me behind!  She also became very sensitive to the sound of thunder, and whenever a storm hit, she'd either hide somewhere, or snuggle up closely to someone (usually on the couch) and shiver until the storm had passed.  Poor girl.

One of her favorite treats was raw baby carrots!  I remember one day, we were snacking on some, and she (as usual) wanted some of what we had.  Usually, if it wasn't something bad for her, I'd let her try it.  Surprise, she liked carrots!  We'd give her a handful, and she'd crunch her way through the whole pile!  We even got to playing a game with them.  We'd throw them up in the air, and she'd jump at them.  She never caught one (she never really tried), but sometimes, she'd pick one up in her mouth, and fling it into the air herself!  Quite a sight to see.  She reminded me of a cat playing with a toy.

The Early Years

The Middle Years

Old Age

Over the Rainbow Bridge

 

 

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Last modified Sunday, August 12, 2007 08:16:17 PM