A Tribute to Tommy Tuppence
Tommy was bred by me in October 2000. He was actually born in the car as we we were taking his mother to the vets. Her labour had stalled & she needed an injection to get things moving again.
Tom was intended to be a show dog but my increasing mobility problems made me decide to get a smaller breed that could be shown at a slower pace, so that was when my first Japanese Chin came into our lives.
He was a wimp, one of those dogs that gave a yelp very occasionally for no reason. When I found out about SM I wondered, but thought I was being paranoid. When the first low cost scans became available I took him for a scan. He had a syrinx.
He went deaf at a young age, he was good at obeying hand signals when you caught his eye, but walks were often complicated by Tommy taking off in the opposite direction to all the other dogs and not looking back.
Tommy was one of the sweetest natured dogs I have known. He was frequently mugged by little Chin Bridgette, who would attack him and steal his treat. Tom would wag his tail and apologetically step back to let her take it. I don't think he knew how to growl.
When I smiled at him his face would change. He had the most expressive face and beautiful dark eyes. Even when he had lost most of his teeth and his poor tongue lolled out his mouth and stained his muzzle, I would look at him and my heart would melt at the gentle look on his greying old face.
Tom's SM was well controlled for many years but this Spring it became impossible to control his bouts of SM pain. I arranged for him to go into the Cavalier Collection Scheme and be PTS at Cambridge by one of the researchers, Dr Penny Watson.
Penny on hearing Tommy had recently been changed to a high fat kidney diagnosed him as having pancreatitis ( he had no diarrhoea or vomiting ) which was heightening his SM symptoms. I brought him home again with sedation until the pancreatitis attack had diminished and a change of diet.
After that it was a bit of a roller coaster. Two dental operations proved necessary, a homemade rice based diet to try and balance the conflicting dietary demands for renal and pancreatic diseases. A stubborn urinary tract infection. Through it all Tommy Tuppence remained loving, with slobbery misdirected kisses from his unruly tongue and he seemed free of pain, his body relaxed with no twitching when sleeping and with no pawing at my legs for help and attention. I loved the fact he was still just a little bit naughty by deliberately taking himself off in the wrong direction during walks.
Unfortunately blood tests taken last week showed that we were not being successful in controlling the kidney disease. He had lost a lot of weight and his back legs were letting him down.
On Wednesday I took him back to Cambridge and Penny Watson knelt beside him on the floor and gave him rest. I had my hand on his side and I felt his heart stop. It was so quick, and so easy for him, and I appreciate with all my heart the care & kindness shown to us.
I had him to love and spoil for another seven months. It was a special time, I wish it had been longer but I am relieved that I decided to let him go while he still seemed comfortable in his body. I was told that the raised levels in his blood would have soon caused him to start fitting.
Tommy has given samples for the three research projects we support through the Collection Scheme. His ashes will eventually join those of my other dogs on a special beach in Norfolk.