Thumbelina Anne Hopkins Michael, Ph.D. – October 30, 2001 – March 8, 2020

I’ll be honest, I have been dreading writing this since the day I realized I’d have to do it. I know that when we take an animal into our home we get the better end of the deal. We provide them with food, shelter, medical care, and love and in exchange they give us everything – absolute love, cuddles, comic relief – in short their whole entire selves. The hardest part of the bargain is that we have to help them leave this world when they’re ready to go.

Watching from above.

Rarely are we gifted with an animal that falls asleep and doesn’t wake up. We live in a world where we have veterinary medicine that keeps them healthy through ailments that once would have killed them. We owe them this considering their domestication, the jobs they do for us, and their overpopulation – a problem we’ve created.

But it doesn’t make it any less heart rending to hold them and release them from their pain when the end is finally here. And, after 18 years, that’s what we had to do for Thumbelina yesterday. It was time.

Keeping watch on the front steps of our old apartment.

Thumbelina came into my life through the now defunct PuppymillRescue.com (PMR). They got dogs out of puppy mills, mostly in Missouri and other high mill states, and got them into foster care and then good homes. I had always wanted a dachshund and after some terrible trauma in my early 20’s I was ready for a dog of my own. I did a lot of research. I checked a lot of dachshund specific rescues. But then I came across PMR and found Thumbelina’s page. I wasn’t particularly looking for a puppy, but there she was.  Tiny, recently rescued from a broker after being nearly starved to death because it was “cheaper than shooting her,” and in her photo, proudly sitting on a Beanie Baby dachshund looking as though she’d subdued it. Yes.

That was my dog.

I filled out the application, submitted the references, notified my vet that someone would be calling, and had a home visit. There was also a phone interview and then the waiting. And the waiting. I was sure Thumbelina and I were meant to be together.

And I was right, I got a call that I’d been selected as her forever home. It was a matter of making arrangements to go get her in Missouri where she was in her foster home. That was one of the happiest days of my life.

I flew out to get her, brought her back on her first flight of many over the years, and Thumbelina became a Boston dog, all in one day.

Over the years she would become a foster sister to two other PMR dachshunds who went on to forever homes of their own, appear on stage in Gypsy at Suffolk University, on Chronicle, in newsprint, on Boston.com, appear in a marketing film at a former employer, win awards for obedience and tricks, and be responsible for me meeting not only some of my closest friends, but Geoff as well.

Doing tricks at the dog park
Sitting pretty at the dog park

I’m in my 40’s and Thumbelina was with me since my 20’s. In all that time she cuddled up under the covers with me every night except for maybe two-three weeks in total. She was my constant companion and a very real extension of me. She was my best friend, my little clown, my stubborn little life saver, and so much more that I can’t even articulate right now. Not having her here as I write this feels as if a limb has gone to sleep and I can’t wake it up.

She was more intelligent and intuitive than many/most humans I know and it is absolutely without hyperbole that I tell you that I would not be here to write this if it were not for her tiny little 9lb cuddles, her sniff of consternation, her comic relief, her head butting, and her anticipating my needs. She was a once in a lifetime dog, and I am better for having had her in my life. Thank you, baby girl.

Thumbelina found her sea legs and climbed up on the rope pile.
From a long ago trip to Mystic Seaport.

She is preceded to the bridge by her elder brothers Rerun, Bucky, and Smoky and by so many canine, feline, and human friends and family. Donations in her memory may be made to the MSPCA, where both she and Rerun crossed the bridge.

Rest well my darling, someday I will see you again.

Kelly

I’d be remiss not to add a special thank you to Dr. Barbara Bower at the South Bay Veterinary Group who has been Thumbelina’s primary doctor for I don’t know how many years now. She’s been kind, steady, compassionate, and generous with her care, presence, and heart all through Thumbelina’s golden years. I’ve been bringing animals to South Bay for more than 20 years and it is because of vets like her that I will continue to do so. My life and the lives of the animals in it are enriched immeasurably by her and the care of the staff there.

The famous photo that made it to the Pets section at Boston.com

Rerun S. Hopkins-Michael June 2003 – January 15, 2015

This is not the obituary I thought I’d be writing.  I really thought that Rerun would be with us for a while yet.  Rerun died this morning.  He was 11 years old.

What a handsome boy.
Rerun in profile, before he started to go silver in the muzzle.

Continue reading “Rerun S. Hopkins-Michael June 2003 – January 15, 2015”

Rerun is home, safe and sound

Rerun is home from Angell Animal Medical Center and we are glad to have him back.  You should have seen Thumbelina react when Rerun came home.  She danced a little circle around him and “kissed” him a lot.  She’s so happy he is home.  As are we all.  I missed my furry little buddy.  He has not fully recovered, and he has several medications that he has to take for a little while.  But he is not vomiting anymore, and he has his appetite back.

-Geoff

Smoky is doing well, an update

Smoky came home from the hospital on Monday.  He was SO ready to come home.  He was pressing his nose up against the bars on the carrier and purring and making it *very* clear that he was done at the hospital.  Surprisingly, he was a very good patient.  He’s a nice cat but he can be pretty high strung and he doesn’t handle change well so I wasn’t sure how he’d handle being there.  But, he was good.  Everyone was sad to see him go as he was, apparently, very affectionate.

Continue reading “Smoky is doing well, an update”

Radioactive Cat gets to come home today!

I just got a call from Angell.  Smoky has fallen below the Federally mandated levels of radiation allowable after his I-131 treatment so we can go and get him.  Yay!  We have some errands to run and then we’re going to go and pick him up and bring him home.  He’s going to live in the guest room for the next 2 weeks.  That will drive the other animals BONKERS.  But that’s how it’s got to be.

I am so excited to have him back.  He should be a happier, healthier kitty.  Yay!

~Kelly