By Paige Tucker
Tibi gave us plenty of heart attacks over the years, but this time our hearts were broken. Tibi crossed the Rainbow Bridge on, of all days, the 4th of July.
Tibi, short for Trial Basis was our “trial dog” for all of 12 hours before she became a full-fledged family member. I was anchoring a newscast back in 2010 when my husband Jack told me about this black Labrador he rescued off the side of the road.
Jack saw a truck hit her, and the driver did not stop. Jack was out of town but drove Tibi straight to a veterinarian in Augusta. After a bit of negotiation, the vet agreed to work on Tibi for a reduced cost. She had a dislocated shoulder, was malnourished and covered in nearly a hundred ticks.
By morning, you would have never known what she’d been through. She bounced back quickly from the injury and within weeks, she’d gained a few pounds, a seriously shiny coat and a happy home.
Tibi was a wonderful dog. She somehow came house-trained, only nibbled a pair or two of shoes and even slept late. She loved us unconditionally and filled our home with lots of love and lots of hair. Tibi’s life undoubtedly changed a bit when our baby was born four years ago, but she made the transition with us. She was nothing but gentle and patient with Julia Reynolds and they loved each other.
On July 4, Tibi was hit by a car while we were out riding our golf cart. The residential street was quiet except for the yelling Jack and I did, begging the distracted driver to stop. Our screams were in vain. It’s as if the driver never even saw her. Quite frankly, I’m thankful the driver didn’t smash into our golf cart and hurt us.
It is never easy to lose a pet. It is traumatizing to see it happen with your 3 year old sitting beside you. We were devastated and are still so sad she’s gone. As a mom, it rocked me to my core about the fragility of life. We all know it, but when it happens, we’re reminded that life can change in a matter of seconds. One minute you’re at a pool party celebrating America’s birthday and the next you’re explaining to your child that her dog isn’t coming home.
So many momma friends reached out to me and sent thoughtful messages, cards, treats and said prayers. Their kindness helped soothe our hurting hearts.
A dear friend brought over the children’s book Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant. I could hardly read it to Julia Reynolds at first. The words were both beautiful and heart-wrenching.
When dogs go to heaven, they don’t need wings because God knows that dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields. Tibi loved to run and is for sure in heaven in dog heaven.
Julia Reynolds prays most nights for Tibi. She prays that she’ll find a soft,fluffy cloud to sleep on and that we can get another Tibi. While there will never be another Tibi, I am also praying another perfect-for-us dog finds her way to us.
Dogs in dog heaven have almost always belonged to somebody on Earth and, of course, the dogs remember this. Heaven is full of memories.
One of the most memorable things someone said to me afterward was that Tibi knew how much she was loved. I like to think so and I can only hope she did. We will miss you forever, sweet Tibi girl.
After 12 years in local news, most recently as evening anchor of NBC 26, Paige Tucker is now a work-at-home mom and freelance journalist. She produces two series for NBC 26 TV, First Responders and 26 Women Today, and you can see those stories on Tuesday nights. Paige and her husband have one daughter, Julia Reynolds, who is four years old.
This article appears in the October 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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