Weekly Baggage: TC

December 20, 2007 at 8:26 pm (in my head, past, the fam)

TC was a purebred Doberman – a show dog. He was stunning even as a puppy and provided a fascinating visual contrast to our beloved terrier mutt. Even his sister, one of the rare blue Dobeys, couldn’t come close to matching his beauty. But he was almost euthanized before reaching his first birthday.

You see my beloved pup was born to a neighbor’s dog. And the neighbors, despite being good people, bred dogs for competition. Fortunately for me, TC had nerve damage in his front left paw. He dragged it around for the first months of his life and it would occasionally become infected. The vet explained that amputating the leg would eliminate the risk of infection and give the dog a nearly normal (and healthy) life. To the neighbors, this wasn’t a solution. The operation would cost money, as would food and care for a dog they couldn’t sell or show. They decided to put him down.

Now, if you know anything about me, or have gotten even a glimpse into the huge bear hug that is my father’s heart, you know we would never let this happen. TC became ours, the surgery was scheduled for the next month, and I was never able to look at the neighbors the same way again.

My handsome boy got to keep his soft, silky, complete ears (if you’ve ever felt un-cropped Doberman ears, you too might wonder why anyone ever decided to mutilate them as they do), recovered quickly from the amputation, and never seemed to notice he was missing a limb. Though stopping was a challenge, he could run just as fast as the other dogs. He played, he ate, he slept, he gave us unconditional love. Once in a while, he’d lift the wrong leg to pee and tip over while anyone watching giggled uncontrollably, but he’d scramble up quickly with his pride mostly intact.

He was a good dog who lived a good life. I was and am grateful for every chance I got to race him around the yard and play with those gorgeous ears. And that, my friends, is why I’ll be buying one of these: because once upon a time my household included a wonderful three-legged dog and because I am proudly my father’s daughter.

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