My Life With Tucker Falcon, 2001 – 2015
There are special bonds that we, as humans, might be lucky enough to experience: the bond of a parent and child, or of a teacher and student; the bond of soul mates; tragic bonds (people who, although strangers prior, bond through a tragic event); the bond of brothers in arms, or the bond of a man and his dog. There are many similarities shared among these bonds, while each maintains a unique quality. I believe that if someone would ask “which bond is the greatest?”, the ensuing argument would last for generations.
The bond with my dog started in April of 2001, when she was 4 weeks old. From a litter of Border Collie/Retriever pups, I adopted the last female available and promptly named her Tucker (no, it’s NOT necessarily a boy’s name!).
For the first 6 months of her life, Tucker didn’t leave my side: she came to work with me, came to family get-togethers, vacations – everywhere, everyday. She was house trained within 2 weeks, and knew basic commands by 8 weeks (sit, stay, chew up my new shoes. etc).
My bond with Tucker was strong because, by chance, I was able to spend so much time with her during her formative years. She enjoyed obeying commands (she was a “working” breed), and listened well (actually, after a little while, I learned to listen to her, too). She was protective of me, though not so much that we couldn’t make new friends. She slept at the foot of the bed, and was certain to alert me if there were people near the home (or if the squirrels were on the roof again).
Tucker also loved her time in the Jeep. On short rides, it was with her nose in the wind the whole time. Once she would realize that the trip was going to be lengthy, she would curl up on the seat and sleep, reserving her energy for the adventures that lay ahead.
From Colorado to Florida, Tucker experienced 10 states in all, loving the sandy beaches as much as the snowy mountaintops. She spent almost as much time in my boat as I have, enjoying the bayous of South Louisiana and the lakes of Texas, with her favorite stop being Janice’s “Camp Peace” on the Boston Canal. Tucker even made several appearances in the Cajundome during the Icegators’ heyday.
Late last year, Tucker’s health changed. She started experiencing seizures (probably due to tumors on her brain). With medication, the seizures were somewhat controlled (less than one a week), and were typical of a dog’s seizure: body convulsions that would last less than 2 minutes, followed by a few minutes of disorientation and about 20 minutes of pacing.
Monday evening, the day prior to Mardi Gras, Tucker had a series of seizures, lasting over 2 hours. When I realized how serious her situation had become, I took her to the emergency veterinary clinic in Lafayette. I could tell by their reaction that Tucker wasn’t well, and probably wouldn’t recover from this bout of seizures. I am pretty certain that Tucker appreciates the last gift I gave her: relief from her misery.
Tucker and I experienced many great things in this life together: the beauty and grandeur of our planet, the love and the loss of family and friends, the palate-pleasing tastes of Cajun cooking, the pleasures of a good back-scratching. She showed her love by being obedient and being a great companion, always willing to lead the next big adventure.
To everyone who allowed Tucker into their world, patting her on the head or scratching her back, giving her a treat or throwing a stick: thank you for being a part of our bond. She was a good dog, and a great friend.
Many thanks to Michelle at Pampered Paws for grooming Tucker and keeping her looking so beautiful; and thanks to Dr. Tal Guidry and his family at Guidry Animal Hospital in Carencro. Tal and his crew loved Tucker as if she was their own, from worms to hotspots, checkups to tummy-aches.
Thanks to Momma Keet, Aunt Jackie, Danny and Mike for taking care of Tucker when I went out of town and couldn't take her with me. She loved her adventures with you guys as well. (Aunt Jackie, I think that Tucker missed the extra peanut butter treats most!). And, finally, thanks to Shannon for being a good mom to Tucker.