It's taken me some time to post this. This post is very long. Writing this is therapeutic for me, and I certainly don't expect anybody to read it through.
Timothy Lee was born September 4, 1994. At that time I was a freshman at college, and living in my own little efficiency apartment in town. I grew up with Shih Tzu’s, but never had a dog on my own, and had decided it was time.
I found an ad for “Levi”, a 3 month old Shih Tzu, in the local paper. After calling the number on the ad, a beat-up pickup truck met me at the Sheetz down the street from my apartment. In it was an older couple, and they had to scoop “Levi” up from under one of the seats.
I realized immediately that this was a mutt, not a Shih Tzu! But his crazy hair and his brown eyes won me over in an instant. They were asking $200, which was a fortune to a broke college student. I asked them to wait there as I ran to the bank and took out the cash, ran back and purchased my boy. I guessed that he was probably a Shi Tzu/Terrier mix and I renamed him Timothy right away. His name turned into Timothy Lee pretty quick. Eventually I also nicknamed him my “Lovebug”, which turned into “bug”, and in the last few years “buggy”.
As a college student, I often worked with animals. I was a pet-sitter, barn worker, and worked in a pet store, sometimes all in the same week. My college was an equine college. I often took Timothy with me to college and jobs. If I left him home he had separation anxiety. Timothy was a escape artist. It didn’t matter what kind of contraption I tried to lock him up him, he would manage to escape every time.
Timothy was very smart. I taught him to sit, stay, roll over, and speak (bark). My favorite trick that I taught him was to give me a kiss. I’d sit on the ground and say “do you love me? show me you love me” and he would politely put both front paws on my chest and give me a soft lick on the face. That trick even won me a “Best Pet Trick” ribbon at an event, which I was ridiculously proud of. As Timothy got older, when I asked him to do one of his tricks, he would first sort “umph” at me, and then do his trick. Then even older, he would halfway roll over and roll back, knowing I wasn’t going to make him go all the way anymore. As a youngster he would roll over as many times as you asked, over & over again, with me giggling the entire time. Timothy also went with me to many horse trials, and loved jumping each cross-country fence as we walked along. He also didn't come to the word "come" so much as a "cluck", as you would cluck to horses. I didn't intentionally teach him to respond that way, it just sort of happened. As he became elderly and lost some hearing, he could still easily hear and respond to a "cluck".
When Timothy was in his teens, I was in my 20s and bought a small place of my own. I also got a cubicle job, and obviously couldn’t take him to work with me anymore. My parents have a huge house with a huge fenced in yard, and agreed to keep him for me. I missed him, but he loved his yard, and I felt that he had earned that luxurious lifestyle.
In the last year in half, Timothy’s kidneys started to deteriorate. My mom was such a great caretaker. She helped with feeding him as his appetite was not always there. She took him to the vet whenever needed for bloodwork & fluids. The last 9 months she gave him IM fluids every evening. My dad made a contraption for her that hung out in the family room, with fluid bag and hose and needles. Timothy never minded the needle, and somehow seemed to understand the necessity of it. In the beginning he did squirm a bit, but only because he isn’t a lapdog and he had to stay on your lap for a few minutes while the fluids went in.
Timothy was never a lapdog. He was my bestfriend, always at my side. But he was never cuddly. In the last few years he actually, for really the first time ever, started to want a couple seconds of my time when I would visit. He would come out of his doggie bed (that he only he slept in of course) and come up to me, give me a couple licks and let me pet him for a minute, then go back to his bed. He also ruled my parent’s house in his own quiet way. When my mom’s mom moved in and had a caretaker that came in during the day, Timothy would follow them from room to room, always staying by their side but out of their way, as if he was watching over them. When my mom herself went from room to room he would follow. If mom left him in the family room behind the gate for too long, he would very quietly, almost whisper a single bark. If that bark didn’t work, then he would wait a minute, bark a little louder, wait another minute, bark just a little louder, and so on until she responded. As his kidneys were failing he had more accidents in the house, but always went to the pee pads to use. He was just such a smart little dog.
My mom took the dogs (she has 2 Chihuahuas of her own) on walks almost every evening. Timothy LIVED for his walks. At certain points she could let him off his leash and do his own thing. He always stayed near her, came when called, and spent his time sniffing at anything and everything. He always seemed to sort of “prance” or “trot” wherever he went. The last few months he really slowed down. Mom would take out her 2 dogs, then come back and take Timothy out for his own special walk. A couple months ago I was lucky that I got to spend any entire 10 days taking care of him as my parents went on a cruise. I was even able to take him out to Loch Moy for a few hours on a beautiful day. Timothy rode in my truck staring out the window the whole time. Got very excited when he felt the truck hit gravel. And then had a blast running (slowly) through the grass at Loch Moy. I took a bunch of photos, knowing it was probably the last time I would get a chance to do so.
I will never be able to thank my mom enough for how she took care of my boy, she knows how much I appreciate it, and yet there still isn’t enough I could say or do to prove just how much.
2 Sundays ago my mom called me and told me I needed to come over, that Timothy wasn’t acting himself. I got there and he looked confused, unbalanced, disoriented. For the first time ever he looked uncomfortable. Up until this day he looked old and frail, but not unhappy. Not this day. I hated seeing him like that and knew it was time. It may have been Sunday but I called the local vet.
The experience of putting him down was horrible, and I wish it had gone differently, though I certainly understand in general how it works. This particular vet allowed you to sit with them as they gave me them the first sedative, but once asleep they took him to the back to administer the final shot, and we weren’t allowed to be with him. Had I known that ahead of time I would have gone elsewhere. I understand he was asleep and didn’t know what was going on, but I wanted to, and intended to, be with him til the absolute end. After they gave Timothy the first sedative the vet left the room and I held him. My mom was by my side. We were both softly crying. I felt him fall asleep in my arms, along with some routine twitching. I laid him on the table on the blanket so I could go get the vet when he started jerking. I don’t know what else to call it, but his whole body twitched/spasmed and his head and neck were jerking up and down and his teeth were chattering. This lasted for at least 30 seconds, at least. It was horrifying, and went on just way too long. I understand that this can happen, but it was still the absolute worst thing that I have ever seen or been through. I felt horrible. The vet kept saying that he was asleep and didn’t know that this was happening, and I understand that, and yet it was still just horrible. He finally calmed down and she took him away. I was bawling. I kept myself together through the whole ordeal, gently crying but not too bad, but fell apart when this happened. I know not to blame myself, I know I didn’t do anything wrong, and yet I feel horribly guilty that this wasn’t a smoother transition for him.
That very morning something weird happened though - my dad always wanted Timothy cremated and we would keep his ashes. I never cared either way. Until the morning of, when all of a sudden it was terribly important to me to have his ashes. I don't know why my mind changed. I received his ashes within a week in a very pretty wooden box. I have to admit to having it on my nightstand right now, and I give it a kiss before I go to bed. I know how silly that sounds, but right now I can't help it. It's all just too fresh right now.
So RIP my little Timothy Lee, my buggy, my best friend. I miss you every day, have photos of you on my phone and in my home and cubicle, and know that you are in a better place. I hope we see eachother again someday, and that you will be waiting with Misty’s 1 & 2, Sabbath, Fluffy, and Misha.
What a handsome little man. And yes, I read the whole thing too - with tears in my eyes. RIP Timothy Lee. He's up over the bridge now with no pain, romping with my Dash and Louie and Snaps and Domino and Simon and they're all in a better place, hopefully paving the way for us.
Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
Now apparently completely invisible!
Super hugs, what a wonderful tribute, I read the whole thing and am sitting in my office bawling!
We lost our Australian Shepard the same day, and although each day is better it is still very hard not to have him w/us! We were going to take him to be PTS at boarding pick up in the afternoon, and when we were out digging his hole to be buried he passed away in the house. I felt so bad we weren't with him, but am glad he slipped away on his own. I'm so sorry for your experience at the vet and send my biggest hugs!!
I'm so sorry you lost your Timothy. What a wonderful life you gave each other. Hugs to you & to Timothy. I know he's having a great time right now, unburdened by illness & old age. Playing like the puppy he really is.
Tazzie, I read the whole thing, feeling very sorry for you and your pain...then I got to the bottom of your post and saw your pics of Timmy. I laughed out loud. What a funny faced ruffle headed adorable little mutt.
Don't cry because he's gone, smile because you had the honor of knowing and loving him...