The Unsinkable Tiger

October 16, 2012  

Ruby’s Elderbull “brother” Tiger has been through a lot and lived to tell the tale

By Ruby the dog, as told to Patrick Bettendorf, first posted on Aug. 2, 2011. Now Tiger is 16 years old and going strong

I love my family including Mom, Dad, Sadie and all five of my furry adopted siblings. But, there is one of them I think deserves some special recognition. It’s Tiger. At 14 years old, he is wide, low to the ground and what they call an Elderbull nowadays.

When he joined our tribe, Tiger was at a pet adoption event, and he was about 5 years old. With his ears chopped to the skull and an unsteady gate from a spinal injury due to abuse, he was not an easy sell to convince Mom to foster him, at least not at first. But when she looked past his physical “issues” into his deep soulful eyes, it was a done deal.

“He looks like a good boy, gets along with other dogs too,” Mom said. “Let’s foster the poor guy.”

What you have to understand is that Mom and Dad are terrible foster parents. They’re foster failures, and they’re called that because they have adopted so many. And in my opinion, that’s a good thing. After all, I was supposed to be in their house just for a long weekend back in 2003, and I’m still here today. So by the time she laid eyes on him, Tiger had already found his forever home.

From the day he came into our lives, Tiger has always been a sweet and patient gentleman. He steps aside if one of us finishes our food quickly and we want to sample his. Dad now stands guard over Tiger and makes sure he enjoys every tasty bite of his meal unmolested by us sirens as Dad calls us.

Poor Tiger had a few emotional issues.

One time Mom and Dad put a nice comfy blanket over him as he slept shivering. With that he woke up in a flash, took off for the back porch and hid for two days under a table. Nothing could coax him out, not even yummy smelling bits of chicken.

“What had happened to this kind soul?” my parents asked.

It was very sad.

Then there were the motorcycles. Tiger loved motorcycles. Anything that sounded like a Harley Davidson awoke something deep within him. If we were out for a walk and a Harley started up with that signature blast, he’d pull up short, tail wagging and head bobbing trying to see if there was anyone he knew from his past. When the hog roared off, he’d watch until it disappeared.

Again, it was sad to see.

But as time passed by Tiger paid less attention to motorcycles and settled into his new life with class and style. He has discovered many wondrous pleasures. His favorite is swimming. But because of his thick muscles, he needs a life preserver or he’ll sink like a stone.

Tiger became a Mama’s boy of the first order, and he’s always helping her in the kitchen, snuggling and giving her plenty of pit bull hugs and gentle kisses. If Mom is not home at mealtime, he refuses to eat till she returns.

Then in his latter years another change took place in the dear boy’s life. Mom and Dad adopted a 2-year-old girl from China. A problem? No way! Tiger loves her like he’s her kind grandfather. He shares everything with her and I’m confident he would give his last ounce of strength to protect her.

Nowadays, in his final years, Tiger is serene, still proud, still enjoys life and is involved with the world around him. But his once immensely powerful body is starting to betray him – I suspect its difficulties from bad breeding and early injuries.

Still, his is a life fulfilled, and on cold nights when Mom puts a blanket over Tiger to keep him warm, he gives her approving little snorts as if to say, “Thanks. Everything is alright.”

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13 Responses to “The Unsinkable Tiger”
  1. AnnVanderlaan says:

    A beautiful story about another elderbull as told by Ruby

  2. jennmartinelli says:

    Such a wonderful story. I’m a foster parent failure too. So far two kitties have come to my home and not left. I’m sure a lovely bully or other shelter dog is soon to follow. Thank you to Tiger and Ruby’s family for all their love and for opening their home to so many animals in need! Kisses to Tiger.

  3. blazer says:

    I must be in a delicate mood, this brought tears to my eyes! What a good boy.

  4. StubbyDog says:

    @AnnVanderlaan thanks Ann.

  5. StubbyDog says:

    @jennmartinelli So many foster failures, so many great pets. 🙂

  6. StubbyDog says:

    @blazer He really is a good boy.

  7. barb94044 says:

    Dog is God.

  8. barb94044 says:

    Dog is God.

  9. barb94044 says:

    Dog is God.

  10. StubbyDog says:

    @barb94044 🙂

  11. barbaraleeanderson07090 says:

    Ruby, thank you for sharing this lovely story about your wonderful brother, Tiger.  I’m looking forward to meeting him one day and getting one of his sloppy, wet pittie kisses, when we’ve all crossed over that rainbow bridge and are frolicking in the sunshine together!!

  12. jennmartinelli says:

    Thank you for sharing this lovely story of your brother Tiger, Ruby. What a wonderful happy ending to the tough start this sweet guy got in life.
    I especially love that he’s a momma’s boy. 😉
    Kisses and belly rubs Tiger!

  13. PatriciaConnolly says:

    Choking up with tears here.  Why, oh why, won’t my pig headed husband let me make a difference for these wonderful dogs. But it’s oh no, not around his grandchildren. My heart breaks every day for the ones waiting for adoption (without hope) and the ones who have gone to the Rainbow Bridge because of uneducated or cruel people.