Tillie PDF Print E-mail

tillie bridgeIn Memory of Tillie, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge Nov. 15, 2021

I still can’t get used to taking a shower without without someone barging through the bathroom door to lie on the rug and wait for me.

It was one of Tillie’s favorite “stay with Mom” routines, but Tillie is gone now. On November 15 we helped this sweet girl over the Rainbow Bridge, and then cried for two weeks. Tears still flow freely when I run through the memories that both hurt and heal.

We adopted Tillie at around age 10. Five years later, almost to the day, we had to say goodbye. It’s one of the harder things about adopting a senior dog, knowing that their time with us is going to be shorter than usual. It’s worth it, though. I love knowing that a dog with a challenging background is going to spend its final years in a happy, loving home where they are treasured and treated as a valued family member. As seniors ourselves, an older dog is usually easier for us to handle, and less likely to outlive us.

Because Tillie was a “bagel,” as beagle-basset mixes are whimsically referred to, she was not a petite girl. She was overweight at 53-pounds. Slowly but surely we helped her drop down to about 40 pounds.

It wasn’t easy. Tillie was the queen of food-driven dogs. She inhaled her twice-daily meals, and tried to convince us that an hour earlier than yesterday was appropriate. We roped our bifold doors closed on the food closet. Since used tissues were evidently a delicacy, the bathroom wastebasket moved to a shelf, and the one in my sewing room was kept behind the machine so she wouldn’t root around for goodies she was sure were hiding among the fabric scraps.

Tillie loved greeting the neighbors and their dogs while out on a walk, but she wasn’t interested enough to hang around. A nose-to-nose sniff, or a pat on the head, and she then lost interest. She didn’t play with other dogs, she didn’t play with toys, and she didn’t do tricks. She would come when called–if it suited her. Tillie definitely inherited the beagles’ stubborn gene.

Tillie was my shadow, following me even into the bathroom no matter what I was doing in there, and she wanted George and I to be together during walks. “You wanna go for a walk, Tillie?” George asked, and she’d look at me. The whole family was supposed to go, and if one of us stopped to take a photo, everyone had to stop and wait.

It was sad when her walks became shorter, when she’d suddenly lie down in the middle of one, when she lost interest in her food and we no longer had to put the wastebaskets up. At the end, she had kidney issues and a large mass growing in her esophagus area. In all other ways she was healthy and happy, but when it became difficult for her to swallow without choking, we knew we had to make the hard decision so that her death would be peaceful, with us talking to her and stroking her until her very last breath.

Now, Tillie’s ashes rest in an urn on the end table with the those of our previous beagles, and eventually her pictures will join theirs on our beagle “wall of fame.”

Rest in peace, Tillie. As your collar said, you were the Best.Dog.Ever.

--Monica & George Sawyn