Your wings were ready, our hearts were not.
Tiger – AHK Poppa’s Tiger – came into our lives on March 7, 2012.
Tiger was a ‘Bama boy. He ran 30 races in his career, all of them in Mobile, AL, from March 5, 2011 to September 5, 2011. He won 3 races and finished 2nd in 3 races, so he was a better racer than I was when I was racing bikes.
Larry picked him out to be his new friend after meeting a number of adoptable hounds at Greyhound Pets, Inc.
Tiger settled into his new life in our small apartment in the shadow of the Space Needle in Seattle.
But he was terrified about the world outside. Getting Tiger adjusted to going for walks took lots of patience and encouragement. Gradually, he became more accepting of the idea that the world outside wasn’t going to hurt him, and was, in fact, a pretty interesting place full of new sights, smells, and nice people and dogs to meet.
Tiger came to love his neighborhood walks with Larry, and later with Truman, and Campy. We made new greyhound friends in our neighborhood around Seattle Center.
Tiger also went through a bit of a destructive phase. He was particularly proud of himself after destroying his bed.
Tiger and Truman even ended up in a Nordstrom catalog shoot at the nearby Sculpture Park.
We moved to Portland in the spring of 2014. Tiger and Truman loved their new home in the very dog-friendly Pearl District.
We enjoyed daily walks at The Fields park, which was very close to our home.
We made life-long friends with other neighborhood greyhounds and their humans.
Tiger, along with Truman, became hero dog blood donors at Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland.
In late 2016 we packed up and moved again. This time to the Methow Valley in north-central Washington.
Tiger and Truman took yet another move in stride and quickly adapted to a rural lifestyle.
However, they always enjoyed returning to Portland to visit their friends and former home.
They were Urban dogs at heart.
We celebrated Tiger’s 12th birthday on January 23 with carrot “pupcakes” and the promise of getting a new greyhound friend for him in the spring. We had just lost Campy in November.
Up until a few days after his birthday, Tiger appeared to be in remarkably good health. He still played with his toys and charged around the living room like a puppy.
That all changed the last week in January. Suddenly Tiger seemed to be very uncomfortable. He stood in a stiff, awkward position. I went over him searching for lumps or bumps that could be causing his discomfort. I picked up all his feet and inspected them for cuts or rough spots. None in evidence. But Tiger flinched when I picked up his right front foot, leading me to suspect something was wrong with his shoulder.
Having lost two dogs to osteosarcoma in 12 months, I am very concerned anytime one of our dogs shows any sign of discomfort. I got in to see our local vet right away, who concurred that something was likely going on with his shoulder. Tiger was scheduled for an X-ray the following week. In the meantime, I would keep him comfortable with gabapentin and anti-inflammatories.
Then, a couple of days later, Tiger seemed much better. He was back to his old playful self and was engaged again on our walks, sniffing everything and barking at vehicles on the road. I canceled the X-ray appointment, thinking that bone cancer wouldn’t suddenly resolve itself like that.
On February 17, I was brushing Tiger and noticed a large lump on the right side of his chest. The lump had not been there earlier that morning. So, of course I freaked out again and called the vet to get Tiger in ASAP. We were able to get in that afternoon. Our vet said Tiger had developed a hematoma. He took blood and tissue samples, and arranged for Tiger to come in the next morning to have it drained. Tiger had done nothing to injure himself in such a way that a large hematoma would have resulted.
Tiger turned out to need a more complicated procedure than simply draining the hematoma, as the lump are wouldn’t stop bleeding when the vet lanced it. He ended up having to cut into the deltoid and located a “hole” that was filling up with blood. So he sutured that shut and took tissue samples to be biopsied, as he thought whatever was going on didn’t look normal, as if a tumor might have burst. So poor Tiger had a ton of stitches, internal and external, along with a drain tube and was quite uncomfortable.
He went back on gabapentin and antibiotics. He was scheduled be get the drain tube out the following week, by which time we hopefully would hear back on all the bloodwork and tissue samples that went out for biopsies, cytology, and blood analysis. Of course we freak out anytime anything happens after what we’ve been through with Campy and Truman.
The pathology reports back on February 23, the day he was scheduled to get the drain tube out. The reports showed that Tiger had hemangiosarcoma in his right shoulder. He spent a week being miserable with the drain tube in his shoulder. We we weren’t going to subject him to any more suffering. We said good bye to Tiger that afternoon. We are devastated.
We will adopt another greyhound soon. We had hoped that Tiger would help us choose a new hound.
After losing Campy to osteosarcoma in early November, it became apparent that Tiger wanted a new friend. We had already arranged a trip for Tiger to choose another greyhound companion on March 20. We will still make the trip and will bring another dog home for us to love and to help heal our broken hearts.
Tiger, you were a kind, loving, loyal, gentle greyhound. Thank you for trusting us and being my best friend for nearly 9 years.
“Now I know I’ve got a heart because it is breaking.” – the Tin Woodman