Young Tim

The first time I saw Tim was on Skype. His breeder held him up to a webcam and told us was the runt of the litter. His parents were champions. His dad was an auburn matinee idol. His mom was the rarest variety of long-haired dachshund, an English cream.

We didn’t care if he was a dwarf and a runt. We wanted him.

The breeder had named him Sly because he was. We renamed him Tim, short for Timid, which seemed kinder. Tim’s fur was black with a cream undercoat. In time, as his fur grew out he had a lavishly ruffled chest. Combined with his sleek pate and his long ears, he could look like an 18th century gentleman. One of his many nicknames was Ben, short for Ben Franklin. We also called him Mr. Nostrils because of how prominent they were.For a while we called him Black Phillip, after a goat in a movie that had been possessed by the Devil. Mainly, I called him Young Tim, even when he was no longer young.

Tim was a devil. He would slowly creep around at night, betrayed by his clicking toenails on the parquet. I’d growl, “Young Tim! Get back to bed,” and he’d slowly creep back to his basket, his plans to gulp down gallons of water and pee in the corner foiled again.

Tim was the world’s biggest hog. Whenever I went into the kitchen, he’d follow and wait expectantly for scraps to fall to the floor and he’d dart in and gulp them down. When we went for a walk, he’d glue his snout to the pavement, trying to hoover up every lump of gum, chicken bone, pizza crust or McDonalds wrapper that crossed his path. It got so I’d have to be strategic about which sides of which streets to walk him on, mapping where the trash was likely to be sparsest. When he and his brother got a little stout (the worst thing for dachshunds’ backs), we put him on rations. He got the same half cup of the same food once a day. Though we only served dinner at 5 o’clock, he would still rattle his bowl hopefully each morning, clanging it around as if to say, come on, man, give a wiener a break.

Tim was obsessive. When someone rang our doorbell, he would rub himself against the wall, licking and whining. He’d pull books off the lower shelves, sometimes removing the dust jackets to shred them into confetti. When we lived in LA, he was preoccupied with a local squirrel and would sit in the yard for hours, gazing up at the neighbor’s fence, praying for the squirrel to pop his head over so Tim could, what, we never really knew.

We also called Tim the Mailman. On every walk, he’d always deliver, peeing on the same fence post as soon as he got out the door, then pooing on the corner by the crosswalk, like clockwork, three times a day. He would never deposit anywhere else on our walks (tough occasionally, out of revenge, he’d go in the dark party of the hallway outside the bathroom).

Tim was fierce. If some dog or stranger rubbed him the wrong way he would dart and lash out, teeth bared, a growl followed by a surprisingly deep bark, like a fat man’s asthmatic cough.

But Tim was also timid. If you leaned down to pet him, he’d assume you wanted to eat him instead and he’d flop over on his back and show his round belly.

Tim had the worst breath. Earlier this year, he had his teeth cleaned and a dozen rotten teeth were plucked from his narrow jaws. For a month or two he smelt better, then the stench of rotting fish returned. Daily brushings didn’t help.

Tim was a lover. When new people came over, he’d follow them around, licking ankles, until he got picked up and carried around. That was his favorite position, not low man on the floor, but held aloft, cradled like a hairy baby, licking moisturizer off hands and foundation off cheeks, bad breath be damned.

If a guest stayed overnight, Tim would follow them into the guest room and insist on being boosted up so he could snake down under the covers and slowly co-opt more and more real estate until the humans slid to the very edges of the bed. Despite his bedhoggery, everyone insisted he sleep with them. Tim emanated love.

Tim loved to sit on the couch to watch TV but was far too short to get up on his own. He’d stand on his hind legs and tap me with his paw, then rebuffed, keep staring and staring until I picked him up. Then, up on the couch, he’d begin to rearrange stuff, nudging the remote into the floor, moving pillows, nestling into my knees or the crook of Jenny’s elbow. He was annoying as hell.

This morning, Jenny and I went through my photo archives. There were hundreds of pictures of Tim. In the snow in rubber boots, taking bath in the kitchen sink then wrapped in a towel, spreadeagled on his back in a patch of sunshine, yawning, sneezing, looking guilty. Looking at pictures made us feel better.

Soon, I’ll be ready to watch the videos. I only managed to watch one, of Tim racing like a maniac down a beach last summer, free and fleet. But videos are too much, to real. I don’t know when I’ll be able to watch the many movies I made with him, peanut butter on the roof of his mouth so he could talk about drawing. Tim was always easy to bribe, glutton that he was.

On Tuesday night, we went to the dog run. While Joe met other dogs, Tim went snuffling through the gravel. At one point I looked up from my book to see him intently digging his nose into the ground, clearly after some tasty morsel, another dog’s turd, who knows, I yelled at him and chased him off and soon thereafter we went home.

On Tuesday night, Tim began to vomit and squirt diarrhea. All night long he was up, puking and squirting and gulping down water. It’d happened before. Both he and his brother picked up stomach bug at least once a year,. It usually went away a few hours. Occasionally, it called for antibiotics and a rice diet. When Patti died, both hounds had the runs for a couple of weeks, brought on by stress-less and grief.

On Wednesday morning, Tim came out for a walk —but the mailman didn’t deliver. He threw up again, as we crossed the street and nearly got clipped by a cab. He sat under my desk and I checked him every few minutes, finally putting him up on my lap. By lunch time, I couldn’t hold off any longer. It was time to call the vet. Tim was slumping to the ground and making little noises. The vet said to come in, there was an open slot in an hour. I couldn’t wait that long and rushed over to Abingdon Square.

The vet took him in right away. Tim was dehydrated, his blood sugar low, so she gave him fluids. Then the X-ray revealed a white textured rectangular area. His small intestine was filled with something that looked like gravel. Gravel from the dog run. Gravel that was’t moving any further but was compacted in his tiny gut. Dr. Greenburgh said grimly, “He’s a very sick little dog.”

We rushed to the pet hospital on 15th street and he was whisked into the ICU. The emergency vet told us there was a possibility that if he was sufficiently hydrated that the gravel would start to pass but, otherwise, Tim would need surgery.

A couple of hours passed. Jenny had rushed over from her office and we sat numbly in the waiting room, sleep deprived and stressed out. The doctor called us back in. Tim’s blood sugar levels, his white blood cell count, other vitals all indicated that the treatment wasn’t working. His abdomen had fluid in it, probably from sepsis. It seemed his intestine had a rupture and was leaking bacteria. He need surgery immediately followed by a long recuperation period.

We went to down to the ICU to visit him. Tim lay on a table, as nurses tried to take his blood pressure.The vet had given him methadone to lessen the pain.He didn’t seem to recognize us as we stroked him and murmured into his ears. We said goodbye to him and went home to wait by the phone to hear from the surgeon.

At 8 PM, he called. Tim was ready for surgery, but he had no blood pressure. His blood sugar was still terribly low. He wasn’t responding at all and was very, very weak. The surgeon was very worried that Tim would not take it through the operation. I asked him, “Are you suggesting we don’t do it?” “It’s your decision but I am not optimistic.” I hung up and Jenny and I talked, tearfully. We didn’t want Young Tim, who has led such a love-filled and blessed life, to become some science project,doped up, sliced open, only to die among strangers in a strange place.

I called the surgeon back and we got in a cab. Twenty minutes later, we were hugging Young Tim for the last time as the doctor gave him an anesthetic and then a lethal injection.

He felt no more pain, and went to see Patti at 9 PM, hearing us murmur in his ear, “Good dog, Tim, you are such a good dog, we love you Tim, what a good dog.”

 

91 thoughts on “Young Tim”

  1. thank you for the heartfelt memories of Tim Danny….so many memories, so many drawings of him too. All of us whose have been owned and loved by a dog share in your sorrow and walk around with similar holes of various sizes in our hearts. Thank you for sharing his story and yours with us all.

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  2. That made me cry — for you, for Tim, and for all my good doggies and kitties. You made the right choice. He sounds like he was a real character. Have a hug >—0–<

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  3. It is heart wrenching to loose your beloved Tim. I am truly sorry. Here is a little poem by Isla Paschal Richardson: ” Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you. I loved you so ~ “Twas heaven here with you.”

    Hope that helps soothe your broken heart.
    donna

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  4. I have 3 dogs of my own whom I love and adore but there have been others who I have also loved and lost and still grieve for. There are no words. Big hugs to you and Jenny and Tim’s brother. XX

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  5. I’m so sorry for this terrible loss..I’ve been through this three times and it’s always the hardest thing I’ve had to do….sending gentle hugs. Christina

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  6. I am weeping copiously now. Sad to know Tim is gone but definitely not forgotten in the minds of many who have loved to hear of his antics. Thank you for sharing this beautiful and heartfelt obituary. Blessings to you and your family and to Tim on his new journey.

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  7. A beautiful tribute to Tim. I was deeply touched. I have gone through this as I have always had a dog. Nothing like it. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  8. My heart breaks with your pain. I had to have my sweet Felix put to sleep last year. I know the sorrow and the weight of the decision. He was my only pet and coming home to an empty house was so painful for a long while. Celebrate the joys and let the tears run free. They will help heal you eventually.

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  9. It breaks my heart to read this Danny, I know that empty space that should be full of fur, and snuggles, so well. Patti and Tim have each other now. Maybe she needed him. Sending love and hugs to you and Jenny and Joe, and strength to get you through the days ahead. xx

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  10. I’m so sorry and I can only commend you for doing the hardest thing by letting him go for the kindest reasons. I had the same decision to make two days ago for one of the two very medically challenged older dogs that I adopted 8 months ago. My vet helped to support my decision and we both shared his last moments together. I whispered that he would soon see his mother and we loved him. Isn’t it one of the hardest moments in life?

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  11. I am so sorry for your immense loss Danny. Tim was such a huge part of your life and it was great to see him in your videos. He also was with you through Patty’s death and the difficult time thereafter. He was so very special!
    Our 14 year old Golden died this summer and I am writing this, through my tears, as I read your poignant prose.

    I hope Tim is chasing all those creatures in the big field in the sky!

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  12. There is nothing, nothing that will assuage your pain nor express the feeling of sadness and ache that I share with you. However one tries.

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  13. A lovely tribute to your Tim, dogs bring a ridiculous amount of fun and love to our lives and it is so hard to lose them. I’m sending you all love and warm wishes

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  14. Hugs for you and your wife. It is never easy to let go but so much better to not make poor Tim live out his last among strangers. Bless you for making a hard but necessary decision.

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  15. So sorry for your loss. Tim sounds like he was a boon companion and your tribute was lovely. With tears, I am in agreement with your decision to let him go and I offer my condolences. My two, Buster and Smokey, agree.

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  16. Danny: I’m so sorry for the loss of your Tim. I hope you find comfort in knowing how much he loved you and you loved him … right to the end. Sending hugs for you and Jenny.

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  17. My heart goes out to you and your family, Danny! What a beautiful tribute you wrote for him. Losing a guy like Young Tim is certainly not easy. It’s a pain all its own. One I know far too well. We just lost our precious, little bounce of joy this past May. Although we can go a little longer now without thinking of our handsome Havenese, we still feel the loss of Tobey. May God heal you and bless you and keep Young Tim’s unique paw print alive in your heart forever!!!

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  18. So sorry-been there with my standard poodle & my cat-both 16 when I had to put them down. You gave him a good, loving life & took care of him when he really needed it.

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  19. Aw Danny, I’m so sorry. Those love couriers leave us bereft. And knowing that we would not change a thing but would gladly allow our hearts to be hijacked afresh. Good bye dear Tim – you were a bonny wee laddie.

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  20. i am so sorry, Danny… i lost my cat a few months ago for the same reason… please, receive my condolences and hugs for you, Jenny and Jack.

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  21. well, I am crying for Tim (romping with some great company! and treats galore)and for Danny and Jenny… he has lots of godmothers and fathers, I loved seeing him drawn by Felix and looked at it many times.. what a lucky dogguy to have been surrounded by all of you in his doglife…

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  22. Oh it’s so hard and sad to lose our constant companions, our wonderful dogs. WIthout them we are incomplete and the house is much too quiet. Goodbye, Tim, you much-drawn, much loved dog. My condolences to the people in your life.

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  23. So sorry for you loss… I can’t see to type I’m crying too much… he was a good dog, those final words are what we whisper if we’re able to as a final goodbye to a beloved dog.

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  24. Oh, Danny, I was so sorry to hear about this tonight from Eli and now to read your very moving narrative. If this happened on Tuesday, it must have been right after we saw each other on the corner. I am so sorry for you, Jenny and Jack. We will miss seeing Tim around the neighborhood. Bill

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  25. My heart goes out to you, Jenny, and Jack, Danny. I am so very sorry for your loss. Our fur-kids are much-loved family members and I know the emotional pain you are feeling…been there before. Our two senior ‘boys’ are now getting on in years and I dread the day I may have to make that same painful, but kind, decision. R.I.P. dear Tim. xo

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  26. Rest In Peace dear Young Tim–a very fine dog and friend. Hugs to Joe, Danny, Jenny and all who called him family and miss him dearly.

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  27. Oh JJ I’m so sorry…tears pouring down my face…what a beautiful, love-filled life Tim had with you …. he will live on in your heart forever…. sending you much love
    Maddy xxx

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  28. It’s a very difficult thing to do . I have had to help friends brought it and had to do it once myself. I only hope someone would do the sMe thing for me so I wouldn’t suffer.

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  29. So sorry for your loss Danny. I have tears in my eyes writing this. I have lost a lot of pets over the years and it is very hard. He lives on in your drawings and videos and as you say he is with Patti now. He had a great life with you.

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  30. So sorry to read this. I felt sorry for the little guy during your last video. Thanks for sharing your friends with us. Take care, Danny, Jenny, and Jack.

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  31. My heart breaks for you. We love our dogs so much and there is such a void when they leave us. Those of us who have lost our furry family member understand just how you feel. Without a doubt he had the best life living in your family and that must be a comfort. You might want to honor his memory by rescuing a little guy when you are ready.

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  32. Dear Danny, We are so sorry for your loss. We have 2 Doxies and know all the fun quirky antics that are particular to that breed, and also the tremendous love that Doxies share with their humans. Our hearts ache with all of yours.

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  33. So sorry Danny! I’m trying to write as I’m bawling 😭 for all of you…..ugh! I’ve got 2 furry kids of my own, that are my world & I know sooner rather than later I’ll be there too…..hugs to all

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  34. Oh my, I’m sobbing reading this so I can only imagine what it was like for you guys living it. So sorry for your loss, so happy to have known Tim through your blog, your sketches, your books and your films. Tim was an international superstar and a Sketchbook Skool mascot even if he didn’t know it. We’ll miss him and we won’t forget him because he’s immortalised in words and pictures. xx

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  35. Sorry this had to happen this way, but the most important thing is that you did the right thing, were with him, and he knew he was loved.

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  36. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss Danny. You did the brave & compassionate thing, thought of Tim and not yourselves. I am so sorry that you hurt. He is worth the pain.

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  37. Hugs for your sadness! Nothing really helps, just another animal lover whose been there several times. Hard. So damn hard! Family. Saying goodbye hurts, so more hugs! I know! Lynn

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  38. I cried when I read this having gone through this type of decision before. It’s really tough when they go. I’m so sorry for your great loss. Steve

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  39. oh, i am so sorry you lost your precious puppy, who you shared with us so often over the years! hugs and love to you and yours in these sad days. 😦

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  40. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started reading this post. I don’t even know where my tissues are. I am so, so saddened and heartbroken to hear about your little Tim. Thank you for sharing your fabulous story and I hope you are able to enjoy the videos soon. Hugs.

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  41. So very sorry for your loss, Danny. I unfortunately had a similar experience this year with both of our cats. There is no cure for the heartache, but writing about our pets and the whole journey at the he end somehow helped me. And I am so glad that because of sketchbook journaling that I have not just (zillions of) photos, but love-filled drawings of them. I know you do of Tim. Thanks for sharing him with us.

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  42. So sorry to hear this Danny but what a wonderful tribute to a special hound. All of us who have had such an animal in our lives understand the hurt. Thank you for sharing Tim with us.

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  43. I am so sorry to hear about Tim. I am reading this and crying at the same time. I lost my dog 5 years ago and I still miss her so very much. Loved reading these stories about Tim. It sure is a heart breaker, isn’t it? Take care.

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  44. My heart cracked wide open reading this, feeling the pain of my own past losses, feeling the pain that you and Jenny are now enduring. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

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  45. Oh no I was crying by the end of this story. I am so very, very sorry for the loss of your beloved Tim. He was quite the little character. I so loved seeing him in your films. I just lost my dog Poe Poe Memorial day. Sending hugs your way.

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  46. I skimmed through this because if I re-read this in detail I’ll prob end up grabbing a tissue for my Niagra Falls face. So sorry for your loss I know how tough losing a animal companion you grew close to.

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  47. What a gorgeous tribute, Danny. I felt myself longing for an entire novel starring Young Tim. The last paragraphs had me in tears. Living well is the best revenge – Young Tim seems to have done just that. Mes condoléances and much love, Cecile

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  48. Hi, Danny…I watched Young Tim in his acting scene for Drawing Without Talent and fell in love. He was so precious. I’m so sad and sorry to hear he has passed over but comforted knowing he is with Patti once again. My condolences to you and Jenny…😥🙏

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