When I was nine, Tinker came into our lives. Tinker was a cocker-beagle mix. She was about the size of a cocker and she had slightly wavy hair on her ears. Her coloring was typical tri-color beagle.
The best laid plans
The plan was that Tinker would live outside. She had a dog house, and all was good until the ear infections started. The vet said cockers have oddly angled ear canals that don’t drain well, and Tinker had those ear canals.
The vet also said Tinker needed to sleep inside or she would have repeated ear infections because of the cool night air. I don’t know if that was true, but she didn’t have any more ear infections once we started keeping her inside at night.
Tinker was a good dog. She wasn’t a big barker, though she loved barking at the mailman. Check out that story here. She begged for food like any dog would, but she wasn’t obnoxious about it. And she didn’t jump on the furniture. She preferred lying at someone’s feet. Of course, she loved having her ears rubbed and her belly scratched.
Grandma and Tinker
My grandma, Florrie THOMAS MARTIN (1894-1979), lived with my family. Grandma thought it was nonsense to bring a dog in the house. “Dogs belong outside,” she would say. She didn’t pay Tinker any attention in the beginning, but that changed.
At the dinner table, Grandma sat at one end and I sat alone on one of the sides. I noticed that Grandma started dropping little bits of food on the floor at our corner of the table. Tinker would eventually find them and eat them. In time, Tinker took to sitting at that corner of the table waiting for Grandma to drop food for her. Still, I’d hear Grandma say that dogs belonged outside. This puzzled me for a long time.
Grandma had to go in the hospital for her diabetes when Tinker was five or so years old. While visiting Grandma in the hospital, my mom told Grandma that Tinker was wandering the house at night and wouldn’t settle down. Grandma asked, “Are you giving her her cornflakes?”
“Cornflakes?” my mom replied.
“Yes. When I get my bowl of cornflakes before bed, I put down a paper towel and give her a handful of cornflakes.”
Mom had no idea Grandma had been doing that. None of us did. We would see a paper towel on the kitchen floor every morning and figured Grandma had spilled milk and put the paper towel down to sop it up.
That night, Mom gave Tinker a handful of cornflakes on a paper towel. Sure enough that’s what she wanted. She settled down with her back against the front door, as was her usual, and went to sleep.
An a-ha moment
It wasn’t long after that when Mom told me the story of Grandma and her beagle, Jenny, and how Grandma saved Jenny’s life. Then it hit me why Grandma said dogs belonged outside, but still spoiled Tinker. I never saw Grandma pet or scratch Tinker, but maybe she did when no one was looking.
Copyright © 2017 Nancy H. Vest All Rights Reserved