The one where Tinker is Ten Years Old

Today’s a special day. My dog, Tinker, is ten years old. TEN. That’s huge for a dog! Seventy in dog years. It’s kind of huge for me too, because he’s been a big part of my adult life. I’ve never had a dog live this long. When I was little, we had a golden retriever named Pete. We got him when my little sister was just a few months old, and we had him until a few weeks before his tenth birthday (when I was in 7th grade), when he developed lung cancer and had to be put down. He was a great dog.

When my mom brought home Tinker in October of my junior year of high school, I was hesitant to have a little dog. We had a huge yard, and it didn’t make sense to have such a small dog. I had wanted another Petey. I was very unhappy at the time. We had just moved to Indiana a few months before, and I hated it. I missed my friends in Texas, and I didn’t feel like I fit in at my school. I was also having a lot of medical problems at the time. Also, it was October 2001, and the whole country was in a lot of turmoil.

So, I came home from rehearsal for Peter Pan (I was a spotlight operator), and discovered that my mom had brought home this:

For me. As a way to cheer me me up. And while I was still miserable for a while, that 5 month old ball of fluff has managed to cheer me up for nearly a decade. My mom’s co-worker’s wife bred Pomeranians, and Tinker comes from champion bloodlines. (Derby Pomeranians). That first night, I put him in his crate in the basement. My bedroom was also in the basement (because I was an angsty 17 year old, and that’s where angsty 17 year olds live). Tinker cried a lot. So I moved his crate into my room. He still cried. I took him out and let him sleep on my bed. He stopped crying. And then he threw up on my bed.

He hasn’t always lived with me. He didn’t go with me to college, but I definitely looked forward to seeing him whenever I went home for breaks or weekends. When I went home for spring break my freshman year of college, he devised a foolproof way to come back with me:

While I lived in 5 different apartments throughout college, Tinker stayed at home. My parents had divorced, and my new stepmom loved Tinker (because really, who wouldn’t?). When I asked to take Tinker with me back to college, my dad wouldn’t let me. So I got a cat.

When I graduated, I was living in an apartment with my sister. We had two cats, but missed having dogs. Our neighbors downstairs had a mini pinscher and a chihuahua, and those dogs had puppies. We decided to adopt Charlie, a hyper but adorable puppy.

When we brought Charlie home to my dad’s house, we discovered that he might’ve been a bad decision. My dad had apparently been trying to get rid of Tinker because they were trying to sell their house. So I defiantly said, “Fine. I’ll take him with me. We’ll have two dogs and two cats.”

In a two bedroom apartment.

Yeah, not the best plan. None of the animals were happy. My sister moved out a few months later, and I begged her to take Charlie with her. She did, and shortly after, her boss adopted Charlie. He’s now in a very happy, loving home.

So I was left with Tinker and my cat, Cosmo. We moved to Indianapolis when I got a job. We had a very happy few years of living together. In the Spring/Summer I looked forward to taking Tinker for a long walk as soon as I got home from work. I started taking Tinker to events all over Indianapolis: Yappy Hours, Mutt Strut, Dog Day in the Park, The Easter Begg Hunt, and The Dog Days of Summer (the last day at the public pool, where people could let their dogs swim for a few hours before the pool shut down for the year!). He’s even raised more than $800 for the Indy Humane Society in a cute photo contest (and obtained bragging rights as the 8th cutest dog in Indianapolis in 2009). Indy is a great city to have a dog in, because there’s an excellent community of dog lovers and things to do!

After a year in Indy, we moved in with some of my friends from college. Tinker and Cosmo got a new friend, Sassy the yorkie, Sarah’s dog.  For almost two years, we all went to more dog events, and it was awesome.

When I decided to move to NYC, I knew I absolutely had to bring Tinker, even if it would be difficult having a dog in the city. I got him neutered so he could run free in dog parks. I picked an apartment across the street from Astoria Park and around the corner from a holistic dog food store so that his needs would be easily met. Sadly, I couldn’t bring Cosmo with me, because Andy is deathly allergic to him. Luckily, Sarah and Sassy absolutely love Cosmo, and he stayed with them and is very spoiled and loved.

Tinker’s had a very exciting and stressful year. He’s traveled a lot- to NYC, to Las Vegas, and a few trips back to Indiana. I wish I could get frequent flyer miles for him. He’s had medical problems this year- a collapsing trachea and a mishap with eating bacon grease. He’s explored New York City, and had a few great days at Central Park. He’s walking a lot slower than he used to, and he’s sleeping a lot more. He’s never played with toys, but he’s been more interested in chewing on bully sticks and chasing pigeons lately. He has a good life.

I can’t imagine what I’d do without having him around. He’s my little buddy, and I’m so happy that he’s part of my life. Today we’re going to go for a nice walk and to Whiskers to get some treats.

Happy Birthday, Tinker!

Photo by Andy Bond

(Note: Sorry if this reads like an obituary. I don’t know if I’ll feel up to writing one when the time comes, so I thought I’d pay a tribute to him now, while he’s on my lap barking at the ConEd meter reader.)

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5 Responses to The one where Tinker is Ten Years Old

  1. Seashell says:

    Happy Birthday Tinker!!!

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  5. Lana Bradbury says:

    Hi Kristin, I just finished reading this and it was so lovely written and you can tell with lots of love! I saw your post this morning about Tinker passing away at 15yrs old I am saddened to hear of this, I have tears in my eyes! I knew as of late you were worried about him. I’m soo very sorry for his and your loss! I was blessed to see him when you lived with Sarah and Sassy. What an adorable dog! So fluffy! You did a wonderful job raising him to this age. I hope Lucy lives that long she just turned 10 in July! I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet, been there several times. Sending all my Love to you and Andy at this sad time! Hugs! Take care,
    Sincerely, Lana Bradbury

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