TINKER’S WORLD

FOR JUDY DYKSTRA-BROWN AND MORRIE

Can you set a price on love? Can you set a number to it? Can you calculate it by the cost of veterinary care? Squeaky toys? Greenies?  Dog food? Grooming?

96-TinkerAtHomeHPCR-1

Tinker Belle was a Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, usually called PBGVs or Petites. They are a medium-sized, shaggy rabbit hound from the Vendée region of France.

PBGVs are not the dog for everyone. Smart, sometime scarily. Natural clowns who will do almost anything to make you laugh. Noisy, nosy, and into everything.

Tinker Belle was special. From the day I brought her home, she wasn’t like any other puppy. Incredibly smart. As a rule, hounds are intelligent, but she was something else.

Housebreaking? We showed her the doggy door. She was henceforth housebroken. She could open any door, any gate and close them behind her. She would open jars of peanut butter without leaving a fang mark to note her passing. All you’d find was a perfectly clean empty jar that had previously been an unopened, brand new jar.

75-TinkerInSnowHPCR-1

She was sensitive. Probably a born therapy dog, she knew who was in pain, who was sick. She knew where you hurt. The only dog who would never step on a healing incision, but would cuddle close to you, look at you with her dark, soft eyes and tell you everything would be fine.

She never hurt a living thing, not human or anything else … except for small varmints she hunted in the yard. She was, after all, a hound. A hunter, born to track, point and carry prey back to a master.

She was the smartest of our dogs, the smartest dog ever. Not just a little bit smarter than normal. A huge amount smarter. When you looked into Tinker’s eyes, it wasn’t like looking into the eyes of a dog. She was a human in a dog suit.

She knew. We called her Tinker The Thinker because she planned. Remembered. She held grudges. Nonetheless, she was at the bottom of the pack hierarchy.

We thought it was her own choice. She had no interest in leadership. Too much responsibility maybe? But the other dogs knew her value. When they needed her, other dogs would tap into her expertise in gate opening, package disassembly, cabinet burglary, trash can raiding, and other canine criminality.

75-TinkerPrisonerHPCR-1

Throughout her life, she housebroke each new puppy. A couple of hours with Tinker, and the job was done. It was remarkable. Almost spooky. She then mothered them until they betrayed her by growing up and playing with other dogs.

When Griffin, our big male Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen came to live with us a few months after Tinker, they became The Couple. inseparable, deeply in love. They ate together, played together, slept together, sang together. When about a year later, we briefly had a little Norwich Terrier pup and Griffin (what a dog) abandoned Tinker to go slobbering after Sally.

Tinker’s sensitive heart broke. She became depressed, would not play with humans or dogs. For the next decade, Tinker wouldn’t even look at Griffin. She apparently blamed us, too, her humans for having brought another girl into the house. In retribution for our crimes, Tinker began a Reign of Terror.

75-SnacksHPCR-20

Tinker took to destroying everything she could get her fangs. She was three years old when the destruction began.

She’d done a modest amount of puppy chewing, but nothing extraordinary. She was more thief than chewer. She would steal stuff and hide it. Shoes, toys, towels, stuffed animals. After Griffin betrayed her with that stupid little bitch — Sally was indeed the polar opposite of Tinker being the dumbest dog I’ve ever known and ill-tempered to boot — Tinker was no longer a playful thief. She was out to get us.

Nothing was safe. She had a particular passion for destroying expensive electronic devices. Cell phones, remote controls, portable DVD players, computers. If she could get a fang to them, she killed them.

She would do enormous damage in under a minute. We couldn’t leave the room unless we put everything where Tinker couldn’t get it. She struck quickly. When we went to bed for the night, every item had to be locked away. If she couldn’t get to an electronic item, she ate the sofa, the rocking chair, the coffee table, a lot of books, many DVDs.

For dessert, shoes were yummy. I didn’t own shoes without tooth marks. We called them “Tinkerized.” We had a grading system from 10 – Utterly destroyed, to 1 – Only shows if you look closely. Most of my shoes fell into the 2 to 3 range and since she tended to start at the heel, I figured most folks wouldn’t notice.

75-Tinkerized2HPCR-15

During one memorable intermission, Tinker dismembered the remotes. She pulled off the backs, tore out the batteries (but did not eat them), then ripped out the innards — in under two minutes.

She didn’t waste time. If she had leisure, she’d also tear out keys and mangle cases, but if time was limited, she went straight to the guts of the thing. She was good.

For her entire life, we lived under siege. If you didn’t want it Tinkerized, you couldn’t leave it exposed, not for a minute.

For the last year of her life, after we brought Bonnie home, Tinker became a real dog again. With Bonnie, Tinker ran around. Played tag. Joined the chorus when the pack pointed their muzzles at the sky and sang.

Hounds have beautiful voices and Tinker’s was the best.

Three years ago, Tinker died of cancer. She had shown no symptoms except a slight slowing down. One day, she collapsed. A couple of weeks later, Griffin had a stroke and died too. They were exactly the same age and I don’t believe for a minute that their nearly simultaneous passing was a coincidence.

After the two hounds were gone, the pack did not sing for half a year. One day, mourning ended and they started to sing again.

Great Griffin

Griffin, who broke her heart

What was Tinker’s true cost? We paid $700 for her as a pup. She caused thousands of dollars of damage to electronics, furniture, shoes, books, DVDs, videotapes, dolls, stuffies — who knows what else?

She paid us back and more. When I was ill, Tinker never left my side. When I was back from surgery, missing another piece of me and in pain, Tinker was there, never placing a paw where it would hurt me. How much is that worth? What is the true cost of a lifetime love of a dear friend?



Categories: Anecdote, Animals, dogs, Humor, Pets, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

25 replies

  1. Sometimes the hard cases are the ones we love the most. It works with kids, it works with animals. Tinker sounds like a truly memorable animal, faults notwithstanding.

    Like

  2. I do hope this helps to give Judy strength and possible insight with Morrie. His destruction seems to be overwhelming also.

    Like

    • There are very destructive dogs. Most dogs grow out of it. A very few don’t. Bonnie, our Scottie in her maturity, is playful, NOT destructive. She’ll steal your socks, grab a dish towel … and food isn’t safe if she can get to it … but she doesn’t go on rampages. Tinker was unique in a lot of ways. I’ve never known any other dog as smart or as clever — which is how she could be so evil while being the sweetest dog in the world.

      I would be very surprised if Morrie didn’t shape up … but I fear she will need to crate him unless she can watch him. He needs to understand it’s not okay to destroy stuff, even though he probably thinks it’s all in good fun. Scottie’s are funny, tough little dogs. VERY tough.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I crated my dog at different times after her destructive moments. She was a husky/lab mix. Years ago, I came home one day after work and she had blood on her paws. What do you do with that? I’m glad it was just before a week-end and I had time to devise a plan. Turned out she didn’t like the crate where I had placed it. She did better in its original spot in a corner and eventually I could leave it open a bit and she would still stay. Then no crate was needed and she would just go to the spot when I left. Creatures of habit.

        Like

        • They also get less crazy as time matures them. They hit a maximum craziness period between 9 months and approximately (depending on breed) year-and-a-half. After that, they usually settle down and become reasonable canine citizens. It’s just getting through the crazed puppy period.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. The stuff Cody has destroyed would total way more than what we paid for her. But I would never give her up. She makes me happy when I’ve had a really bad day at work, and I’ve been having a lot of those lately.

    Like

  4. I have read about Tinker before also in your older posts. It is so surprising to know that dogs like Tinker also exists in this world ! So well said that she is more than a dog. A human in dog suit !

    Like

  5. Like special people in our lives, there are also special animals that touch us. Tinker was one of these dogs.
    Leslie

    Like

  6. Oh Gosh, I hope our new puppy won’t see this. Some things you can’t put a price on. Some things are and should be priceless. I talked with a friend of mine last night, he has two great dogs, Mother and daughter. The economy rattled him a little bit, he made wrong choices and fell off his high horse. Now he is ready to move on and the dogs are in his way. He put an ad up last night looking for a home and if he can’t find one he will put the dogs down. I didn’t say much on the phone, looked the ad up and texted him later. It will cost him my friendship.

    Like

  7. Beautiful story of Tinker’s life and what she brought to your life

    Like

  8. Oh, you made me teary-eyed with this post. You are correct, you cannot put a price on the love of a furry friend. My cat, Gibbs, has done damage with his claws and devious behavior, but I would not trade him for anything. He’s my buddy.

    I’m sorry about Tinker and Griffin, although we know, as pet owners, that the critters usually go before us. I’m so glad, though, that you had such a wonderful experience with your dogs and have memories that will last forever.

    Like

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Thoughts & Theories

My Personal Rants, Ravings, & Ruminations

Our Eyes Open

Come along on an adventure with us!

France & Vincent

Writing Magic, Myth and Mystery

Barb Taub

Writing & Coffee. Especially coffee.

This, That, and The Other

Random musings on life, society, and politics.

Keep it alive

A look at life, achieving good physical and mental health and happiness

Covert Novelist

Just another WordPress site

Salted Caramel

Blogging, Motivation, Lifestyle and much more.

Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.

Green Screen

The Environmental Movie Podcast

bushboys world

Photos of my world and other stuff I hope you will enjoy too. Photos taken with Canon PowershotSX70HS Photos can be purchased.

musingsofanoldfart

Independent views from someone who offers some historical context

My Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Trent's World (the Blog)

Random Ramblings and Reviews from Trent P. McDonald

Views from the Edge

To See More Clearly

serial monography: forgottenman's ruminations

wandering discourse, pedantic rant, self-indulgent drivel, languorous polemic, grammarian's bête noire, poesy encroachment approaching bombast, unintended subtext in otherwise intentional context, unorthodox unorthodoxy, self-inflected rodomontade, …

draliman on life

Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think

The English Professor at Large

Posts about old Hollywood, current concerns

sparksfromacombustiblemind

EMBERS FROM SOMEONE DOGGEDLY TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL...

The Day After

Musings, Photography, Writing, and More

THE SHINBONE STAR

NO LONGER ENCUMBERED BY ANY SENSE OF FAIR PLAY, EX-JOURNALISTS RETURN TO ACTIVE DUTY TO FIGHT THE TRUMPIAN MENACE!

Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World

ScienceSwitch

Your Source For The Coolest Science Stories

A Day In The Life

People, Places, Nature, LIFE!

Curious Steph

explorations on the journey of living

%d bloggers like this: