May 13 2007 - November 25 2012
Written by his owner, Wendy McQuiston, Red Oak, TX
Timothy was born to DC VS Endless Summer Nights JE (Naughty) and DC VS Impossible Dreams (Magic).
His was a special litter (aren't they all?) because it was sired by my "heart dog Magic" when he was 10. There were 2 red boys and one B&T girl in the litter. Magic cloned himself with the two red boys and Naughty cloned herself with the one B&T girl.
When Timothy was born, my heart fell because before he was dry, I realized that his back legs were on........backwards. There's no other way to explain it except to say that the kneecaps faced the wrong way and it was so OBVIOUS that it was a serious birth defect. My heart fell. But I decided right away to let him live and to reassess the situation as he grew. If he was in pain as he grew, I could put him down later. In the wee hours, as I was awaiting the end of the litter being born, I emailed a few friends. I was very distraught over the limb deformity, needless to say. About 6 am, I received a phone call with a friend SCREAMING into the phone, "You didn't OFF that puppy did you?". "No, I didn't" was my response to her. Oddly enough, just the week prior, we'd been discussing the very awful but needful topic of WHAT to do in the wee hours of the morning if you do have a puppy born who needs to be put down. At that time of the morning, you're stuck with an emergency clinic and they're simply NOT going to know how to put down a new born puppy. So this friend told me what her vet had told her and how to do it. She was terrified after our discussion that I'd "offed" him. No, not for something that clearly wasn't causing him any distress......... as he had immediately scooted over to his Mom and started nursing. Anyway, the friend explained to me that she'd had 4 puppies born that way and that they all straightened out on their own. I tried to explain to her that these legs were BACKWARDS and surely wouldn't straighten on their own. But they did. Within 24 hours they were already better. Within 72 hours they looked completely normal. It is possible that Timothy's "mission" on earth was to save future puppy lives by my spreading the word about his "miracle" recovery. I've told Tim's story to numerous breeders and veterinarians. FEW have ever heard about it. Even worse were the ones who had a rather sick look on their face; I suspect they'd seen a puppy like this and put it down. Of course, his "deformity" is how he earned his name. My weird mind started calling him "Tiny Tim" early on. As he grew and became a wonderful, elegant dog, it became "Timothy".
Timothy finished his bench championship pretty quickly. He enjoyed showing but more than that, enjoyed the one on one "Mom time" and meeting new friends. He especially loved his "Aunt Cathy". In fact, he showed better if his "Aunt Cathy" was there. I think he even showed better for her than he did for me. They always had a special relationship.
Timothy had a rather "unusual" bark. He didn't fully open his mouth when he barked so his bark sounded "muffled". It was cute, unique and unfortunately for him, so distinct that it was always obvious when he was the one barking. No blending into the mob of barking fools for Tim.
Timothy's start in the field was a little slow but one run in Saint Louis was so memorable. It's one of the few runs I really remember. The one judge had already "blown Tim off" and wanted him picked up. The other judge (for whom I'll always hold a special spot in my heart) kept waving off the other judge and was watching Timothy. You could SEE the dog's mind racing as he tried to figure it out. You could see him sniff, get excited, go a little off track, realize that he'd lost it and come back to the line. He was moving very slowly but he was very methodically working it out. He worked his way half way down a "lane", made the turn to the left and was still working it out. He lost it when the rabbit jumped to the right, off the lane and into the brush. Timothy just couldn't figure it out but he wasn't willing to give up. I was SO excited to watch him figure it out. It doesn't matter that he didn't get a placement or a ribbon.........it was just exciting to watch him using his nose, doing what his ancestors from so long ago had done and GETTING IT. Timothy had gotten to the point where he was READY for field trial season and we were looking forward to it this winter.
Alas, life had other plans. In the spring of 2012, he had a lump come up on the side of his neck. The vet tried to take a needle biopsy but nothing came out. It wasn't sore, didn't bother him and we were on the fence about what to do. The vet and I thought it was a salivary gland. Of course, now we now it was a lymph gland and that we made the wrong call. In June, Timothy became very ill and stopped eating.
He lost 5 pounds in about 7 days. We were out of state at the time and I'd hope to make it back home to our vet but he became so sick, so fast that I had to go to a vet there. After blood work, she was fearful that he had liver cancer. We made it home and went immediately to a canine Oncologist. He narrowed it down to either Lymphosarcoma or histiocytic sarcoma. Neither diagnosis was good. In addition to the lump on his neck, he In addition to the lump on his neck, he was full of internal tumors. The histiocytic sarcoma was completely, totally NOT treatable. The Lymphosarcoma, in the vet's words was "treatable, not curable". I heard his words as if they were coming from a distance and it took quite some time for them to sink in. The bottom line was that with treatment, MAYBE a year of life after treatment, without it, weeks. It was as if I was paralyzed. I couldn't make a decision. Adding to the dilemma was the cost. It would cost at least five thousand dollars. I hate for cost to be a factor in a dog's care but that's quite a lot of money.........especially when it wasn't going to save him. He was terribly ill and needed to be put down if we weren't going to do the treatment. But neither my husband nor I could bring ourselves to get in the car and make that painful drive to the vet. The oncologist gave him the first injection, just to make him feel better and it was miraculous. Within 24 hours, he was feeling good and eating. Then I heard from a friend that she has a dog who is 5 years post treatment for Lymphosarcoma. With that hope and a dog who was acting and feeling normally, we began treatment. The oncologist told me that it was a miracle that my friend's dog was alive 5 years later and not to expect another miracle. Privately, I thought, "guess we'll show him". Within just a few treatments, the lump on his neck disappeared and the internal tumors all disappeared. The oncologist was surprised at the quick response.
For the most part, he sailed through his treatment. Even the treatment that was supposed to make him vomit and have diarrhea didn't do so. One drug would make him not eat for two days afterwards. But we kept him plumped up so that those few days didn't drag him down. He loved his extra food and got so fat that I had to cut him back some. Timothy LOVED going to the Oncologist's office. The staff there loved him. They were constantly telling me how much they loved Timothy. They decided that I should give him to them and that he could go home with one staff member per night and spend his days at the clinic being loved on. They told me that he got carried around and if he WAS in his cage that invariably, someone had their head in there, loving on him. On treatment days, he was bouncing at the front door, eager to go. I thought we had our Timothy back.
He was in week 19 of 25 weeks of treatment when he stopped eating, clearly didn't feel good and had white gums. I hoped that it was just a temporary set back. When the vet called me, he said that the cancer had come back with a vengeance. He was full of internal tumors again and the fact that they'd come back during the treatment was an even worse sign. The oncologist wanted to do some more testing to see if it was the Lymphosarcoma or the histiocytic sarcoma but I could not see the sense of that. We were treating as if it was the Lympho and the Histio wasn't treatable at all. So figuring out WHICH one made NO SENSE at all to me. He said we could go to Plan B which was a different drug, injected every 3 weeks but even at that, it was not going to save his life. Considering the fact that the tumors were all back, in the middle of treatment, Plan B just didn't seem sensible and we decided to stop treatment. I wish I had a magic bullet that would have saved his life but this particular cancer is deadly. My friend's dog is the ONLY dog I've heard of who has survived this particular cancer.
Sadly, we knew that Timothy's battle was over and that the cancer had won. We brought him home and tried to prepare ourselves to take him to the vet for that final trip. I've had many dogs in my life. Dachshunds seldom give up and die. The vast majority of them have to be put down. I've put down MANY old Dachshunds. While it's hard, it's a gift I can offer them when they are at the end of their life and it is time. This, however, was harder, impossible, really. While we were trying to find the courage to make the trip, our pet communicator told us that Timothy wasn't really ready to go yet. He knew that he was dying and wasn't afraid but wasn't ready yet. He wanted a couple of days to sleep in the sunshine. We offered him anything to eat that he wanted. He had things that we normally never give the dogs. Doughnuts and a blueberry muffin were particularly enjoyed as was bologna. About the only thing he'd eat reliably was baby food meat. But even that became unpalatable and we knew it was time to say goodbye. We ponder why it had to happen. We ponder the unfairness of it.
But mostly we grieve as we say good bye.