Rest in Peace, Tinker Bell

Rick Watson
Posted 6/11/17

A word of warning — this is a bittersweet story about a tiny critter that lived next door in the home of Jilda’s brother Ricky and his family.

Our niece Samantha loves animals. She’s had ferrets, frogs, hamsters, cats, and lots of dogs. Her …

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Rest in Peace, Tinker Bell

Posted

A word of warning — this is a bittersweet story about a tiny critter that lived next door in the home of Jilda’s brother Ricky and his family.

Our niece Samantha loves animals. She’s had ferrets, frogs, hamsters, cats, and lots of dogs. Her brother James knew this about his little sister, and he came across a small dog at the pound about 15 years ago. Samantha was barely a teenager then. “James saw the puppy and knew I wanted a little dog, so he brought it to me,” she explained.

Tinker Bell was a gnarly little critter. I’m not sure what breed she was, but she looked like the result of a drunken affair between a Chihuahua and a dust mop. She was the cutest little dog I’d ever seen.

It took some time for Tinker Bell to figure out where she fit in with the family. They already had a dog named Shadow they’d had for years. Cats also lived there. All of them towered over the little fuzzy critter. But Tinker Bell had attitude. When one of the other pets got in her space, her bark made her sound like she was skilled at Tai Quan Do. The other critters gave her a wide berth.

Through the years as Samantha aged, she got busy with school, friends, and teen things, leaving less time for Tink.

Her dad Ricky worked two jobs most of his life but he was home every night and he often unwound by sitting in his recliner watching television. Tink liked his company because he often fed her little bites of whatever he had for supper. She was small enough that the large armrests on the recliner made a perfect bed for her.

A few years ago, Tinker Bell developed some health issues. She had a skin allergy which caused her to lose much of her hair. She was constantly cold. Even in summer, she shivered. Samantha bought her a little sweater not much bigger than a Barbie Doll would have worn.

When Ricky would settle into the recliner to watch the Braves or a western on TV, he’d cover Tink with her blanket, and she’d help him cheer for the good guys. But her health continued to decline.

Last year, Tink started having difficulty breathing. Samantha thought it might be kinder to the little critter to have her put to sleep, but Ricky thought she’d be OK. She was for a while.

Early yesterday morning I got a text from Samantha telling me that Tink had died. She said her dad was upset, but she thought he was OK. I replied asking if they wanted me to bury her in our backyard pet cemetery. Ricky initially said no, but later decided it was a good idea.

A mist hung in the air making the morning seem dreary. As Jilda and I sipped coffee, we saw Ricky walking toward our front door. He was carrying Tink wrapped in her favorite blanket. I met him outside to take the little dog from him. I could see tears streaming down his face. I’ve known him almost all my life, and I’ve rarely seen him with tears in his eyes. Seeing him put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes too. I told him I was so sorry. He couldn’t speak. Turing to walk away, Jilda hurried out to hug him and say she was sorry too. They stood in the misting rain for a moment.

I went out back and dug a grave between Shadow and Ol’ Buddy. Last summer, I poured several PEACE stepping stones. I use them as grave markers for our pets.

Jilda took a tiny Mason Jar and did a small bouquet from flowers blooming in our yard. When she finished, she snapped a picture with her phone and texted it to her brother.

Rest In Peace, little Tink.

Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book, “Life Goes On,” is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at rick@rickwatson-writer.com