Tanner Whippet

? - 6/21/2011

Me, Tanner, Keenan, Chyna, Loo, and Garret
Tanner in the green sweatshirt,
a shirt he insisted on wearing...until he got inside it.
Chyna is showing her better side - and Loo is not very happy at all.

We originally started looking for a whippet to adopt after our second whippet, Percy, passed away and his pal, Loo started looking for him. Loo ranged far and wide - very sneakily sneaking off at night to hunt for his friend. Loo was savaged by either coyotes or a small mountain lion (we're not sure which), fought bravely (and lost both his front fangs in the process) and managed to crawl to the back door. The vet stitched him up, but as soon as he was healed he snuck off again and was hit by a car. We could tell because he had a tire track across his back and (as my youngest son noted) a "hole" in his head. Even though his tail was wagging, we realized that he needed a new friend.

So, we started looking.
...and ran into Mary Cuthrell and Patricia Shriner and the kind folks at whippet rescue. As it happened, Mary didn't have a good whippet for us, but she knew someone who did. So we took our boys and headed off to Jurupa where we met Tanner.

Tanner was already an older dog (about 6 or 7). He was large, for a whippet, and had an assortment of little scars on his muzzle. At our first meeting, he basically "sold" himself to each of us - playing catch and rough housing with the boys, sitting calmly at attention by my husband...and falling dead asleep on my skirt. We had hoped for a younger dog - but it was obvious that Tanner wanted to be our whippet. We went home, discussed it, and went back the next day to bring him home.

We were Tanner's fifth home. He didn't have a very good track record. He lived in a garage with his first family, was sold to a single woman and trashed her apartment the first day she left him to go to work. Doggy sedatives didn't help - so he was off to another home where he was left in the basement at night while the rest of the family was upstairs. We were warned that he could "rush" the table to get food...and to watch him around the kids "just in case."

I'm glad we didn't pay too much attention to the "horror" stories. Tanner fit right in without a hitch. He was a perfect gentleman from the beginning. As for rushing the table, we never saw it. In fact, all it took was a gentle "go to your mat" - and Tanner would lay on the mat by the kitchen door. He tuckeled the boys in bed at night, and was a gentle and quiet companion by day.

Three snoozers: Loo, Chyna, Tanner

...but not too gentle. He caught a rabbit in the back yard and numerous lizards and heaven knows what else. He loved to race and surprised everyone at the practice races. Afterward, we found out that he hadn't been able to finish the Turkey run. As part of a family, Tanner sparkled like the diamond he was.

House-trained and apparently obediance trained, Tanner was the perfect dog. We could take him anywhere. He was a breed ambasador for many Pet Expos and dog shows. He patiently waited with me at the pool as our sons finished up swim practice. He walked with me to bring our youngest to the bus - and came to help walk home. He loved to sit in the front seat with the seatbelt on. Always the gentleman, he would wait for me to come around to his door and put his leash on before jumping out.

As you might have guessed, he was my dog - a "mom" dog. Following me around the house like a white shadow. Always just a few steps behind. Wherever I went, that's where Tanner had to be. He had his own special bed in the office and in the family room. If he couldn't see me, he'd drag his bed until he had an unimpeded view. While he could still jump up on a bed, he would plop on the office daybed and just stare. When he couldn't jump, he used a bed on the floor - within view of the desk. As I'm typing this, the floor bed is empty. It's a strange sight.

Tanner wasn't always an angel. He was the worst "bad dog" at the races. Impatient, jumping, and biting up turf like a billy goat, he had to be wrapped at all times. After biting me in the butt, he needed a muzzle, too. Finally, we needed to leave him in the car or take him on a walk far from the other dogs.

Tanner lived with us for over 10 years. The young boys grew into young men. The oldest graduated from college. Our whippet family grew to four, occasionally five, then back to four again. Tanner played the indulgent grandfather to Zephyr, our last whippet puppy. With a goofy little smile on his face, he let her get away with everything.

Last summer, Tanner suffered his first stroke. He recovered, but was a bit slower than the other dogs. The second stroke came this April. My son noticed it right away. Again, he recovered, but not nearly as well as before. Slowly, he got more tired, tippy, and frail. We fed him by hand, then with a spoon. But finally, one morning he didn't want to get up...and he let the hand-fed morsels of barbecued chicken simply fall out of his mouth.

We knew it was time to say goodbye to the most loyal, and best whippet we have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Goodbye, Tanner.

I see you running and racing in green grass, tail held high.
We hope to see you again when we cross over the rainbow bridge.