Tuppence the Wonderbitch joined our core pack when Molson was in his prime, and when Ragtag Golden Retriever Rescue first began to specialize in the rehabilitation of badly abused goldens. She loved me from the start, and remained absolutely devoted to me her entire life. Though she got along just fine with male dogs, she took an active dislike to other females and became so, well – bitchy – around them that we found ourselves reluctant to rescue girls.
She became the protector of baby chicks, and as they grew up was often surrounded by her flock. But she could also be quite unladylike, rolling in mud and wrestling with her brothers. At a young age she blew out her cranial (cruciate) ligaments and had surgical repair of both knees. We had a board-certified orthopedic veterinary surgeon perform a TPLO on one side, but were so put off by his utter lack of caring that we had the other side repaired by our local vet using the traditional ligature method. The TPLO healed more quickly, but after a year we could tell no difference between the sides, and she had no orthopedic problems for the rest of her life.
Tuppence was a ball fanatic. Her favorite toy was a junior sized soccer ball, closely followed by a Frisbee. She would chase both endlessly. Generally submissive among her packmates, she reacted with fury if one of them was attacked. When Molson, our magnificent Alpha male, was nipped by a squirrel he had run down, it was Tuppence who raced to the scene and shredded the offending rodent. And when a tourist’s uncontrollable Jack Russell terriers ran onto our porch and attacked Glenfiddich, it was Tuppence who sent both back home bleeding.
She lived a month after being diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. We went for a slow hike the day before she passed, and on the morning of her last day I knew she was bleeding. Her belly was hard and her gums very pale. I worried about her all day, and left work early to be with her. As I stepped out of the truck all my males ran to greet me. Little Tuppence staggered out the door and collapsed at my feet. All day she had waited by the door, bleeding internally, waiting for me to come home. She died in my arms.
Her love for me was humbling…