Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tara's Story

Several people have asked about Tara. (We find it encouraging that rvers all seem to be dog lovers). Tara's story is a long one.

She came to live with us from the SPCA in March 2004 when she was 4 months old. The people there told us that she and her brother were found abandoned in a field. Likely discarded by a puppy mill because they were not perfect.

At the SPCA her name was Eve.  Our grand niece immediately changed that to Tara, her favourite name. The first year went very well, Tara is a loving dog who gets along with everyone, especially children. She does a great job as the greeter at Bay Hammocks.
She loves to sleep on the bed
Then the first accident. Tara is a country dog, accustomed to running free around our almost 2 acre property. One day Arch was walking her on a leash in a small town when she saw another dog across the street. In her excitement she broke her leash and raced across the road to say hello. And was hit by a van driven by a woman with three children on board. Tara received a cut on her leg, was a bit banged up but otherwise OK. The children were very upset. After calming the kids they and their mom drove Arch and Tara back to his sister's home where we cared for her leg. All was well that ended well. We thought.
Checking Princess out
Then Princess came to live with us. Tara was fine with this addition to the family, Princess would have preferred a family where she was queen and king of the castle. One night we were away at different events and Tara and Princess were home alone. Arch got home first and discovered that Tara had found a large bottle of Anicin and eaten the whole thing. As we had already learned that Tara will eat anything that fits into her mouth we scoured the house before we went out & thought it was free of any problems. The only thing we can think of is that Princess found the bottle of pills under the bed and in playing with it rolled them out where Tara could get them. Or maybe she was deliberately trying to get rid of Tara. Who knows? With Princess, anything is possible. A trip to the emergency vet (how lucky we are to have such a service) where they induced vomiting and fed her charcoal (apparently the charcoal absorbs the foreign matter in her stomach before the body does) and all was well.

Then we were awakened one night by Tara having a seizure. Panic set in and we called the emergency vet service. A few questions later it was diagnosed that it was likely epilepsy. Which was confirmed by our vet the next day. After a long period of experimentation with medication, and some very scary seizures, her epilepsy is now somewhat controlled and she only has seizures once every 3 or 4 weeks and we have learned to live with them and accept them as being a part of what makes Tara, Tara.

Then the next accident. Again, we were out. The house had been scoured for anything Tara could get into and I thought all was well. There were 3 - 300 gram bags of chocolate chips on the kitchen counter. I put them up high where I thought she could not reach them. Wrong! We arrived home 2 hours later to discover she had eaten them all. How she got to them we do not know - did Princess have a hand in this one too?? Another trip to the emergency vet. By now we are calling them the "Midnight Vets". Stomach pumped, more charcoal, an overnight stay and all is well again.

Then the worst of all. Tara was swimming in the ocean in late May. When the water in the north Atlantic is really cold. But she loved it and went swimming often. This time she was out over her, and Arch's, head when she had a seizure and went under the water, head first. Arch, who is not a swimmer, took off his shoes and went to get her. He managed to grab her tail and haul her in to shore. Where he gave her artificial respiration until she started to breath, then got her in the car, brought her home to get me and off we went to the Midnight Vet. There they put her in an oxygen kennel where she stayed overnight. We picked her up the next morning and delivered her to our vet and she spent that day in the oxygen kennel. Then we brought her home where she quickly returned to normal. Now she only swims in lakes, attached to her leash. She is very cautious and does not go out very far.
This lake is shallow so she doesn't need her leash
After this all was well for about a year. Then she started to limp. After several trips to the vet it was determined that she had a torn ACL in her right back leg. TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery was required. Following the surgery was a 3 month recovery period. As Tara sleeps in our bedroom we had to carry her - all 85 lbs. - up and down stairs until she was able to manage them as she would not consider sleeping down stairs alone. This was difficult but we managed by using a harness on her front end - Arch lifted her here  and I balanced her with a towel under her hind end.

One month after she recovered from this she was running for a stick when she fell. Arch knew immediately what had happened and loaded her in the car to go to the vet where it was confirmed. The ACL in her left hind leg had torn. More surgery, more carrying her up and down stairs, but, she recovered well and was fine for a few months.
Tara came home immediately after surgery because of her epilepsy
Now she is favouring her right front leg. We are not sure that we understand the problem but her spine is degenerating and the condition is progressive and not curable. She takes pain medication and, while she limps, she is happy and loves to go for short walks and accompanies Arch everywhere he goes. And she still delivers the paper each day.

So now we just go day by day, accept her as she is, and hope she will be joining us on our great adventure.


  1. Tara certainly has brought adventure and a lot of love to you both! She certainly was blessed to be adopted by such a loving couple! I hope that she is able to join you on your great adventure, I'd love to meet her when you swing by Ontario. Take care

  2. Hi Dorothy She is doing a little better so we are keeping our fingers crossed

  3. I'm just reading this now. What a lovely dog Tara is and how FORTUNATE she found you two. So many adventures, I think Tara has nine lives!

  4. Tara's story is sad yet enduring. She is truly a special girl.



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