Sweet Tina’s Tale

My sweet Tina, where to start… She came into our lives as a 1 yo rescue 8 years ago. A mini pin/chihuahua mix, we found her to be almost a delicate, dainty little lady. Unfortunately her life before us was full of physical abuse. She was taken away at about 6mos age from a family whose “man” of the house kicked her in the head and rear. The rear kicking caused Tina a problem with her left leg, rarely put weight on it, and caused pain if the upper leg was moved in the pelvic socket. And years later, we would find exactly what the head trauma would cause.

We fell in love with Tina despite her being extremely fearful and scared of almost everything. But in the shelter, she seemed to sense that my husband and I, having our own issues with life, understood her fears and knew that we too were survivors, like her. So she became our little girl.

She came into our home and Tina became attached to me- like Velcro as she became accustomed to the household, She had her problems with trust and learning that we meant her no harm. Physically, her leg/hip problem improved some on its own as she realized that she wasn’t going to be hurt anymore. She actually started walking on it, only limping when she wanted to run or get extra “sympathy” if she got into trouble!

Over the next 6 years, she blossomed into my special girl who seemed to understand that I too knew what abuse can do to a spirit. She was “Mama’s” girl and with lots of love and patience, adjusted to the world better than any hoped. Yes she did and still does have issues with loud noises, sudden movements, yelling voices and trusts only me and sometimes my husband.. She never adapted socially to other people. Given her breed mix, she was a little “nipper” so we just made sure she didn’t get a chance to act on it.

Then about a year ago, we noticed a clouding of her right eye, a cataract for sure as I am a nurse as well. But it developed quickly at the same time she began having seizures. At the vet, she was tested for glaucoma etc. and determined that she was totally blind in that eye. The quickness of the cataract growth coupled with her seizures, add to the equation her head trauma history, the conclusion was made that the blindness was from the scar tissue in her brain from the abuse. But Tina was thriving and actually had become the “alpha” dog in the house, so we opted to just go home and keep loving her. And life went on with Ike, a Chihuahua puppy mill rescue, and Lucy, a young cat. all co-existed well.

And then 6mos ago, I noticed Tina barking at my husband when he would move about suddenly in the room to the point of almost driving all nuts. But we thought it was just old behaviors of her abuse coming out. Once my husband petted her, she was fine. But it worsened, and then I noticed her missing her jumps to the furniture, her hugging the porch edges outside and bumping into things a bit. I checked her eyes and sure enough, she was growing a cataract in her left eye. So we discussed her options and knew there was nothing to stop this again. But a month ago she had a seizure which was a bit worse than usual. And then we saw her behavior change. Not able to judge jumps to furniture unless in a well lighted area. She stopped sleeping in our bed. But still nothing that seemed to cause her angst. Until last week, when she was seen walking into things and bouncing away from them like a pin ball. I checked her eye, and the cataract was fully developed. She was totally blind.

Now we are in new territory. She is slowly adapting as long as I work with her. Her worst problem is intense barking only when my husband moves out of a chair to walk in the room. It is driving him to the edge despite my telling him he has to talk to her, reassure her etc., something he doesn’t always remember. I want Tina to live with us for as long as God allows but not in fear of her new world. Hopefully we will adjust to her as she must to us. So I come here for support for all of us. and a place to let the world know that sweet Tina, my girl, can persevere thru this new bump in her road of life!

8 thoughts on “Sweet Tina’s Tale

  1. So sad that the first 6 months of her life so greatly affected her not only emotionally, but physically in her later years now. I hope your husband can remember to talk to her when he moves so as not to upset the whole household with barking! Its wonderful that you and Tina found eachother, sounds like its a great relationship for you both.

  2. Tina is doing better- responding to “step up/down” and to make sure she knows she is in her “spot” on the couch, I put a soft stuffed dog in her corner. She noses it and now knows exactly where she is! She is also doing better with my husband- he started saying “shush” over and over very calmly as he goes to get up and walk. She stops barking fairly quickly. And now she is venuring into her old areas like the bedroom as I have found her on the bed when I wake up. Trial and error- we won’t quit if she doesn’t!

    1. Its amazing how quickly they learn. After a while she will hopefully get used to your husband walking around without him having to making the shushing sounds.

  3. Tina has going outside down really well with stepup/down commands guiding her. She does get excited at her success and starts to run in circles a bit, wagging her tail! But then if I don’t catch her, she runs right into the nearest obstacle- which causes her to recoil until I tell her it’s ok and then back to work! Still working at her barking when my hub moves around without talking to her first. I am going to try a “clicker” to let her know it is okay and barking is not needed. Shushing her seems only to work once in a while. But I will keep working with her!

  4. My Tina update: She amazes me how well she navigates our house now with little verbal cues. New cues she has learned are- backup, straight, slow down(she gets excited and runs when she knows she has done good like going outside).She has become more her “alpha” self around Ike, our other dog but only because he lets her be it- he doesn’t care who is “alpha”, just goes on his merry way! She now finds him and nearly sits on top of him to get his attention, and then they dog play for a minute. Tina has NEVER dog played, always too timid. Now she must have pride with her blindness so it is a weird godsend I guess.
    Still barking issues but seem just more protective with me and maybe “alpha- ing” with my husband. We will keep working on it!

  5. Tina’s story totally tugged on my heart. All of these stories of saving these furbabies from shelters and abusive homes just warm my heart. I always think of those stickers, “Who rescued who?” That’s so wonderful that she’s doing so well!

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