December 22, 2014

Tinsel – A Christmas Tail

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , , , at 2:21 pm by havenoftheheart

(From the Haven’s Archive 1991)

If dogs had nine lives, then Tinsel has only eight to her credit.  Tinsel was one of five tiny four-week old pitbull terrier pups found in a farmer’s field.  The pups were clinging to the frozen body of their mother, who had been shot.  A caring neighbour brought us the pups in early December 1991.

Having been deprived of proper care, these little pups were severely emaciated and full of parasites.  With treatment this can easily be rectified.  After several dewormings and plenty of good food, all the pups grew rapidly and became the picture of health – all except Tinsel. Her body remained gaunt but her potbelly grew and grew. I knew that something was terribly wrong, so off to the vet she went.

Numerous blood tests, X-rays and ultrasound revealed nothing conclusive except an extraordinary high white blood cell count.  The only solution would be expensive exploratory surgery. Although the tiniest of the lot, Tinsel was so full of energy and love that I could not deny her a chance to live.  I knew she wanted to live!

The surgery revealed an abscess the size of a grapefruit behind the umbilical cord. An infection must have set in when she was born and left untreated, it continued to spread. To make things worse, the abscess ruptured during surgery, filling the entire abdominal cavity with the most putrid, fowl smelling pus.  Both vets who wereperforming the surgery, turned to me and pleaded with me to allow them to let her go. “There is no hope! It will take well over an hour to clean her up.  She’ll never make it!  Even if she were to pull through the surgery, she’ll be dead in the morning.”

But their pleadings and rationalization met a deaf ear.  I saw Tinsel breathing steadily and I remembered the twinkle in her eye.  I could not allow anyone playing God with the life of this little puppy.  Had God wanted her to die, it would have happened before she came to the Haven. Over and over I heard them say to me: “Do you realize how much this is going to cost? And she’ll never pull through! Just think of what youcould do with all that money!” I did think. I thought of Tinsel. I did not see this as failure, but as a victory half won.  “She’ll make it” was my reply.

And make it, she did, with flying colors.  To this day the two vets at the nearby clinic still call it the Christmas Miracle.  Tinsel has since been adopted out to a wonderful home along with her littermate, Tweedy.  The last time that I saw her, she was a compact, turbo-charged puppy, who had grown from a tiny handful to a whopping seventy pounds.

My little Tinsel was undoubtely my most expensive but also my most treasured Christmas present ever.  Merry Christmas, Tinsel!


Tinsel (1991 – 2005)

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