Tasha came to me by accident. She is not a puppy from Brownie, the next-door dog. I "believe" that it was a Saturday in November of 1981 that a little boy showed up at my door and asked if I was missing any of my dogs. I wasn't, but he said that there was a dog that had been hit by a car on 31st Street. At the time, I lived near 31st & McGee in Kansas City, MO, and I went down to see what had happened.
There was a dog lying in the middle of the street with a bunch of people standing around her. She was alert and seemed very happy. She did not appear to be in pain. No one knew who owned her. Apparently, one of my neighbors had been coming back from the store with her dog, Blackie, and this dog followed them and was struck when she followed the other dog across the street.
Well, Greg is Greg and I volunteered to bring the dog to my house. With the help of others, we put the dog on a sheet of plywood. Then, we carried her down to one of my houses. I did not think that it would be well to mix her with my dogs in her condition and it was not too cold yet.
On Monday, I took her to my veterinarian who X-rayed her and told me that her leg was broken too close to the hip joint for him to fix. He gave me three options: (1) Put her "to sleep"; (2) Take her to MU or K-State where they had the equipment and expertise to do pinning and wiring of that type of break or (3) Just leave her the way she was with the understanding that she would always be crippled and probably develop early arthritis. She appeared to be similar to a German Shepherd and they have a tendency toward arthritis anyway.
Given the fact that she seems so sweet, happy and not in pain, the first option was not a possibility, even though I sensed that is what the doctor thought I ought to do. Since the dog was not really mine and I was very busy at the time, I did not exercise the second option. I asked the doctor how long she would be in pain, if we left her the way she was, and he said about two weeks. I reasoned that I would be willing to endure two weeks of pain, if it meant I could live, so I went with option three.
I put Tasha who was unnamed at the time in my dining room, since it was getting colder outside and the house next door was not heated. I had some sheets of foam rubber, so I put them down for her and newspapers everywhere. It was a mess, but in a couple of weeks or so, she was able to start getting around.
During her "recuperation", another neighbor came over and asked if she could have the dog. Well, I already had too many dogs, so I said "yes". When Tasha was better, I gave her to my neighbor who named her "Tasha".
Tasha stayed with my neighbor for several years and I would go over and see her from time-to-time. She was always happy to see me and I really felt sorry for her, because I felt that my neighbor was not giving her the kind of hands-on love that I think a dog should get. Tasha was well taken care of in terms of food, medical treatment and the like, but she probably did not get a lot of petting and that sort of thing.
Well, in 1989, when I moved from that neighborhood, I told my neighbor that, if she ever died, was unable to care for Tasha or just did not want Tasha, that she should call me. I did not want Tasha taken to the pound or "put to sleep" simply because my neighbor was not able to care for her.
Then, sometime in early 1990, my former neighbor called and said that Tasha was getting to be too much for her, that she was jumping the fence and that sort of thing. Well, I knew that she really wanted to get another Doberman, but I was happy to have Tasha.
Whenever I help a dog, I have something of a special bond with the animal and I really have regretted giving Tasha to my neighbor. I, also, regret not having taken her for more extensive treatment for the leg. All of my thoughts are in retrospect and what I did cannot be changed. I do value the nearly six years that I had with Tasha and that is a source of happiness for me.
Tasha had a big deep voice, so the other dogs did not mess with her much. Her love was as deep as her voice! What is amazing is the length of her life. She died the day after Thanksgiving in 1997 and I believe she was 17 years old. Normally, dogs as big as she was do not live that long.
As she got older, Tasha slept most of the time. Toward the end, she could not get into my bed, but did sleep on the floor next to me on a rug. I had to put a plastic bag under the rug, because she developed a little incontinence.
On the day she died, I knew her time had come. I laid down next to her on the floor as she was dying. I had taken her to the veterinarian earlier because I thought maybe she had congestive heart failure, but the doctor said her heart was just fine. And, indeed, it was. Her great heart was still beating after she stopped breathing. When it stopped beating, I knew she was gone.