Tale of Tails: Tino & the Critters II

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tino2If you read our blog, you know about our dog Tino. If you don’t, you can read previous stories of him here. Today’s story is about Tino & the squirrel.

Tino lived to be about 14.5. Since we rescued him from a wilderness area, we’re not really sure of his age – but he was pretty old. He’d been blind since about age 9 and also had Canine Cognitive Dysfunction…or canine dementia.

We had just started having those difficult conversations about Tino’s quality of life and whether or not it was time to let him go. While the blindness really wasn’t an issue, the dementia was. He had very bad arthritis and his rear end sagged all the time – he couldn’t really stand up very well. He wandered in circles, forgot where he was, was incontinent and slept about 23 hours a day. We knew the time was close, but we had just lost our Sally about 18 months earlier, and just weren’t ready.

About this time, a squirrel got in our house. It was pretty weird, I opened the door to take the dogs out for a walk and the squirrel, who’d been munching on something on the front porch just ran in the house. I screamed (of course) and ran OUT of the house, so I didn’t see where the squirrel went. We hunted for it high and low armed with brooms and blankets to throw over it, but couldn’t find it – the door out to our back deck was open, so we assumed (hoped) that it had just run in the front and right out the back.

Being a Sunday evening, we settled in for some TV. After a bit I noticed that Tino wasn’t settling in, but rather pacing from his bed, down the back hallway to the dog door and back. Since he’d been displaying some disorientation from the dementia, I didn’t think much of it, but when it persisted even after I put him into his bed, I got up to investigate further. Sure enough, there was the squirrel – cowering in a corner of that hallway. It scampered away when it saw me – back the other way into the family room.

Our hunt began anew. We opened the doors so it could run out and then tried to herd it towards one of them, hoping it would see its escape route and take it. The squirrel was freaked out and I’m hopping from couch to table and back since I wasn’t going to step foot on the floor! Squirrels are fast little things and we were not having any luck. We regrouped in the other room, getting some additional equipment to try and herd it better and came back and couldn’t find it. We thought it had gotten under the sofa bed, but when we moved it, nothing was there. We searched the room and figured it had scampered out the door when we weren’t looking.

We sat and waited a few minutes, trying to figure out whether it was indeed gone and then I noticed Tino. He’d been involved in the hunt since it began, just kind of wandering around the room, trying to keep up. But now he was circling the sofa, stopping at the midpoint in the front, sniffing and then walking around to the same point in the back and sniffing. He was clearly smelling the squirrel IN THE SOFA. It was a sleeper sofa, so the squirrel had probably climbed up onto one of the metal bars of the pullout. But Tino knew exactly where it was and by watching him, so did I.

Steve turned the sofa over and sure enough…there it was. Totally freaked out, as were we…but Tino was cool as a cucumber. After more hopping around, we managed to herd it out the door and then closed everything up nice and tight. Tino wandered outside to make sure everything was ship shape and then came back in and went right to sleep, so I knew for sure the squirrel was out of the house.

That little episode gave us pause in our thoughts about Tino and the quality & enjoyment of his life. Tino was always a hunter and he clearly LOVED this little escapade and if it wasn’t for his persistence in sniffing out that squirrel, we’d still be looking for it!

Tino in his bed.

Here’s Tino in his bed – he couldn’t jump up into his favorite chair anymore and would sometimes fall out of it due to the dementia, so we gave him a bed on the floor.

Monday Mischief

Tino is a mischief master, so we are joining the Monday Mischief Blog Hop hosted by Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, Luna Dogs Life and My Brown Newfies


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19 Comments

  1. That is such a great story! We went through a similar painful back and forth with one of our cats, who was deaf and had dementia. It certainly ranks high as one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
    Coralee and Finn recently posted…Monday Mischief: Short LeashMy Profile

  2. What a clever pup Tino was! *waggy tail*

  3. What a sweet boy, I love the senior dogs!

  4. Tino was a duzzie…love the instinct….thanks for another interesting story, your dogs are fun to read about…you should write a book!

  5. What a great story! Even with the dementia and blindness Tino saved the day! A very special guy he was!
    Dogs N Pawz recently posted…Monday Mischief #50: Jumping an 8′ Fence?My Profile

  6. Tino was such a beauty. I love this story!

    Y’know, I thought of you this weekend. I was sitting on the back porch, a gosling on my shoulder, and a field mouse ran across the porch and under my chair. I lifted my feet, since a mouse scampering over feet probably isn’t a pleasant feeling. I imagined you jumping up on the chair and screaming and it made me laugh.

    Sadly, the chickens were scattered around the yard, far away. None of them came to catch the mouse. I just waited till I thought it was gone before putting my feet down.
    Flea recently posted…Funny Bone Monday, 28My Profile

    • LOL! Mice I can take a bit more than a squirrel! Wait till I get to the Tino & the bird story 😉

  7. Oh, I would have been the same – hopping from one piece of furniture to the next. I hate having critters in the house! It’s handy to have a pup when there’s a critter. Rita even helps with the bugs.

    Tino looks like such a sweet baby!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…The Dog’s Not Spoiled . . . MuchMy Profile

  8. Ah, what a great story! I would have run out of the house too, no worries. What a beautiful dog, Tino.
    Finn recently posted…GRANDMA!My Profile

  9. What a good story! Sounds like Tino would of had a blast at our house a few years ago when the dogs chased a ground hog into the basement!
    Jen recently posted…The Most Improved Dog FatherMy Profile

    • A ground hog – see, now were getting into territory that sounds really unappealing – much too big. What did you do?

  10. What a touching story! I bet it is like very confused older people that are suddenly jolted back to life because of a smell or seeing something but then they slip away again. How fun to have a squirrel hunt in your house…I will have to suggest that to my mom, I would just love it! I’m sure you miss him, he sounds like such a wonderful soul!
    emma recently posted…K9 Kamper Snacks | GBGV | Tasty TuesdayMy Profile

    • Emma, I bet you would LOVE to chase a squirrel through the house…not sure mom would though 😉

  11. That is a wonderful story. It is always difficult to know when it is time. Tino sounds like a great doggie.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–FocusMy Profile

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