Tink loving life…even during an ice storm. Most excellent photo by Jim Thomason
Today is the fourth annual national…
Worldwide, Universal TINK DAY!
You do know what Tink Day is, right?
Ok. Twist my arm. I’ll tell you.
The tale of Tink actually started on Saturday, May 1, 2010. I was off running errands. Jim was off running errands. The weather was gorgeous, spring was in the air, and it was a busy, get-things-done kind of day.
Just as I was getting down to the business of checking things off of my to-do list, my phone rang and Jim uttered those telling words, “Where are you?”
Now that may sound like a really innocent question, but in Nancy-Jim speak, the actual translation generally is: I have found an animal of some sort and I need help.
My immediate response was, “Why? What did you find?”
While cutting through the back alley of a strip mall (note: MALL, not CLUB), Jim caught a quick glimpse of a small dog sniffing around a dumpster. OF COURSE he stopped to check on her.
When he parked the car and got out to call to the little dog, she took one look at him and shot immediately under another nearby dumpster; this one a giant compacting dumpster. Not the type to just shrug and go on his way (yeah, another one of the million reasons I love this guy), Jim stopped to investigate.
Our first glimpse of dumpster dog.
On hands and knees to look under the dumpster, Jim could just see, in the small, filthy space, a tiny face peering back. Well out of his reach, Jim tried to coax the dog into coming out to see him. He even bribed her with some dog treats he had in the car (doesn’t everyone always carry a few emergency dog treats?). Dumpster dog, however, was having none of it.
This is where Jim hoped I could step in. Sometimes a dog will be wary of a man, but might respond better to a woman. You see it all the time. Jim also suggested that I run to the store for something a bit higher value than dog treats. Yes, it was time to break out some stinky lunch meat.
So I ran to the nearest convenience store (my regional favorite, Quik Trip—and yes, I will continue to plug them until they decide to sponsor my blog and/or give me free fountain drinks for life). There I found what would surely be Dumpster Dog’s olfactory siren song.
Bologna. I really can think of no better purpose for the stuff than bribing a dog away from a dumpster. Stinky bologna in hand, I rushed to meet Jim in a back alley. He takes me to all of the nicest places.
There I found my partner, sitting on the dirty pavement, appearing, to the unknowing eye, to be talking to a dumpster. Further proof that public appearance means NOTHING when trying to save a cute little dog.
Jim stepped back while I, confident of my dog magnetism (especially when wearing Eau d’Oscar Meyer perfume), plopped down on the warm pavement to work my charm on what was sure to be my new little bestie. I talked to her in my best soft, reassuring voice. I offered very lovely, stinky, slimy bologna. I gave it my very best shot. And I was shot right down.
In fact, I even thought I heard a little growl. But not really a growl. A moan? A groan? Maybe more of an audible sneer? Whatever the sound, it did not convey an oh-yay-the-human-of-my-dreams-has-arrived message.
Ok. Plan B.
It was apparent to both of us that Dumpster Dog was no stranger to this way of life. The space under the dumpster was obviously her current home. She felt safe there. Nothing could really touch her there.
So we decided to back off for that moment and visit her the following morning. It would be a Sunday morning, so the strip mall would be quiet and we would surely convince this little darling to run into our waiting arms.
Sunday morning dawned and we were in the car, on our way to claim our newest foster dog. When we pulled to the stark space behind the building, Dumpster Dog was actually resting in the shade of the one tree planted in the middle of the one small patch of grass adjacent to a loading dock. One glance at our slowing vehicle and she was once again a white blur darting beneath her dumpster fort.
So we sat and talked to her. We reached as far under the damn dumpster (it was swiftly earning that name) as our arms could reach to offer bits of turkey, chicken, and hot dogs. While she would stretch her neck to pick up offerings tossed her way, she was not budging an inch.
That’s ok. She was just not ready. And she was still making that weird noise that we couldn’t decipher. We left a bowl of water and a bowl of dog food. If Dumpster Dog needed us to work a little harder to gain her trust, then work a little harder we would.
And so our lives as part of a bizarre dumpster sit-in commenced.
Between the two of us, I would say we visited Dumpster Dog around five or six times throughout the day, for the next four days. Fortunately we were having a run of gorgeous, mild spring weather, so sitting in the middle of a sea of concrete chatting up an invisible dog was not a completely unpleasant task.
We got to know the UPS guy who said he had been tossing food to the little dog. We learned from the employees of Bed Bath & Beyond (anyone else pre-occupied by this company’s decision to eschew not only the Oxford comma, but all forms of punctuation? Only me?) that our little dog had been sharing their dumpster’s address for around six to eight weeks. They too had been tossing her some food, but gave up when the dog refused to warm up to their attention.
Gave up? Blasphemy! Heartstrings twanging at the thought of this little creature surviving on her own for such a long time, our determination to win her over doubled.
I went by on my way to work. I spent my lunch hours with her. I stopped by after work every day. I ran over to Dumpster Central every chance I could.
I read books to her. I sang to her. I shared my lunch with her. I made her all sorts of crazy promises. Had she crawled her way to me on visit four of day three, I believe she would have been the lucky winner of a BRAND NEW CAR! (Price is Right Voice…Bob Barker version. No offense, Drew, it’s just not the same.)
Meanwhile Jim was putting in an equal number of visits. We were nothing if not determined and Mother Nature was brewing some incredibly good inspiration.
Spring in Oklahoma. Yes, it can be quite lovely, and in the click of the minute hand, it can turn quite nasty. The forecast for the coming weekend promised strong thunderstorms and heavy rain. We could not stand the thought of this little, lost dog left to ride out storms of that magnitude by herself. We also did not relish the thought of huddling under umbrellas (AKA: lightning rods) to keep her company through it all.
Dumpster Dog had to surrender.
Friday rolled around. I visited in the morning. Jim visited later in the morning. I visited at lunch. I begged the little dog to come to me. I desperately wanted to be able to call Jim to tell him that she was safely tucked in my car.
Instead, I was the one to receive that delightful message—live and in person.
Right after work I headed over to my now-favorite dumpster in the world. Just as I was rounding the corner for yet another visit, there was Jim, walking toward me, cradling a small white dog in his arms. OH happy day!
Jim and Tink. The first of many selfies.
I will admit that I just burst into tears. Finally, this precious little dog was safe. I believe my first words were, “I love her! We’re keeping her!” Oops. Did I say that out loud? Yes, over the course of the week, this dog had become more than just someone’s dog. She was our dog—in my heart and mind. I just failed to mention that concept to Jim…until I saw him holding her.
Laughing and hugging in relief, Jim told me that in desperation he finally just stretched out on the pavement and shoved himself as far under the dumpster as he could fit. Let’s consider this visual for just a moment: A man flat out on his back in an alley who, to the unknowing eye, likely appeared to be half crushed by a huge dumpster. Thank goodness for seldom traveled back alleys and a few I’m-not-getting-involved passersby.
Jim just stayed right there. He shut his eyes and pretended to nap. He became one with the damn dumpster. For 45 minutes.
Eventually, he felt a cautious sniff at the top of his head. He still didn’t move. Slowly, a little white dog with faint black spots moved to Jim’s side to curl up with him. And so a beautiful and devoted friendship was born.
Upon finally meeting her up close and personal, it was immediately clear that the little creature who had seemed so very shy while in her hiding place, was actually a very friendly, fun dog. The odd not-exactly-a-growl sound that she emitted from her dumpster fort (where Jim swears she lorded over an army of minion mice) now seemed to be from some sort of congestion, so off to the vet we ran.
This is where it is a very good thing to have a best buddy who is also your awesome veterinarian. Stick around after hours on a Friday to see our latest foundling? Well, sure she would.
A quick exam revealed a basically healthy five to six month old puppy that just seemed to have a really stuffy nose. We headed home with antibiotics and very high spirits.
First visit with Dr. Lauren. She’s really nice.
We got to know our new puppy and found that she was one huge character packed into an 18 pound body. Her small stature combined with her huge spirit quickly earned her a pixie-inspired name…Tink.
Now properly named and in procession of two completely love-struck humans, Tink should have been ready to just live out her happily-ever-after, but following a full week of antibiotics, her cute little nose was still doing a heck of an impression of the Sleestaks from Land of the Lost. (If you don’t get it, check it out on YouTube…you don’t want to miss out on this slice of pop culture).
So we headed back to the veterinarian, who consulted with another veterinarian. Who then sent us to see another veterinarian with a fancy scope-thingie. Who then found that Tink wasn’t ill at all. Her nose had apparently suffered major trauma, likely as a very young puppy, and both nasal passages were almost completely blocked. The noise we kept hearing wasn’t growling, groaning, moaning, or even a really good Sleestak impression. It was simply a puppy trying to breath.
Well if we didn’t love her madly before, that sure sealed the deal.
With our “free puppy” in tow, we were sent off to a veterinary specialist in another city. He performed a surgery that he hoped would result in a reduction of some of the scar tissue and blockage in Tink’s nose.
A few thousand dollars and six weeks of green tubes protruding from said nose later…we still had a really cute little Sleestak.
So no, Tink still really can’t breathe through her nose. But she has overcome and we have grown accustomed to her snoring. Jim says I’m louder anyway. Ironically, I really can’t breathe through my nose very well either. Paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it?
Tink has now been head of our canine household for four wonderful years. She is Jim’s devoted little buddy. Oh she likes me too, but I would never want to ask her to choose between us because I guarantee she wouldn’t give me a backwards glance. Jim is Tink’s prince in this fairy tale. After all, he’s the one who crawled into the dumpster fort to save her, didn’t he?
A couple of years ago we had the opportunity to have Tink meet with our favorite animal communicator, Pam Case. It’s always fun to hear what our furry friends have to tell Pam–she always manages to hit several proverbial nails squarely on the head.
We purposely did not tell Pam any of Tink’s story—nothing about her rescue or her injured nose. Pam and Tink “talked for a bit.” Pam related many stories about Tink’s thoughts on her life with us. She told us many likes…a few dislikes. She did not, however, say anything about Tink’s life before we found her. So I asked Pam what Tink thought about her life before coming to us.
Pam got very quiet and still for a moment as she studied Tink. Tink studied Pam right back for that moment, and then hopped up to go sniff around, as best as a dog with a broken nose can. Pam looked up and said, “All I saw was a heavy work boot coming straight at her face. After that, she said she didn’t want to think about her life before coming home with you anymore.”
Well, what a great little teacher Tink turned out to be. The image that Pam related to us (and she had no prior knowledge of Tink’s nose problems), was exactly in line with the type of injury the veterinarians believe Tink suffered. Exactly.
But according to Tink herself, dwelling on the past was wasted energy. That was then, this is now, and now is a pretty damn good place to be. We should all be so wise as to follow Tink’s lead. Leave the past where it is and go sniff something new.
Thanks Tink. Thanks for four great years and many, many more Worldwide, Universal Tink Days to come.