Tyson is a brave little dog. Once, Tyson and I were enjoying a leisurely walk when our peace was interrupted by the bellowing bark of a dog on a porch. The dog reared up from his comfortable position and lunged toward us. His bark was loud and angry as it echoed around us like the mighty cry of a wild beast. Luckily, the dog was prevented from his rapid approach toward us by the tug of the leash and the disapproval of his person. In a chiding tone, the dog’s person said “Oh, that’s enough. That is the smallest little dog I’ve ever seen!” This person obviously hasn’t seen some of the true itty-bitties we have at Emerald City Pet Rescue, but at around 8 pounds, Tyson certainly is diminutive, but in size only.
It wasn’t immediately after the large dog’s imposing barks that Tyson’s bravery shone through. He was startled and frightened by the dog’s angry reaction toward his passing. Tyson did a frantic (and a bit silly) jump to get away. We rushed past the house, and onward on our walk. But on our way back past the house, Tyson didn’t cower. He didn’t nervously shy away or slink past the dog, who was still lounging on the porch, now eyeing us suspiciously. Tyson bravely marched past the house and the dog with his head held high and proud. This is Tyson’s bravery. He gets scared and shy and anxious, but he steels himself and tries to bravely overcome whatever may ail his nerves.
I’ve been fostering Tyson for five months. Yes, it is truly unbelievable that a dog with a face this adorable still hasn’t found his forever home!
But all five months have been a true pleasure because Tyson is one amazing little dog. He is sweet, gentle, mellow, curious, quirky and endearingly stubborn. But his bravery is his trait I admire the most.
When Tyson first arrived at my house, he was shy and tentative about everything. When we went on walks, his tail was low, not quite between his legs but almost. He was afraid and intimidated by the world around him. I still remember the excitement I felt when I noticed one day on our walk that his tail was high in the air like a proud little flag. When I first met Tyson, he was easily overwhelmed by the chaotic stimuli of city living: Rumbling cars zooming by, People shuffling down the sidewalk, not quite paying attention to their surroundings, other dogs with alert ears and wide eyes tugging at their leashes to meet him. But now, he has conquered much of his unease about these situations. Just the other day, we were walking past a parked car when the person opened up the door to get out. Tyson stopped, firmly planted his paws (in that stubborn way he does!), stretched his face and wiggling nose toward the person and watched them. He was curious. He wanted to investigate this stranger. The stranger said sweetly, “Why aren’t you a brave little dog!” He certainly is. Somewhere along the way, his curiosity over powered his shyness. This is not to say Tyson isn’t still a shy dog. But he is shy and brave and curious all at the same time.
It isn’t just with shyness where Tyson has triumphed in bravery. Tyson overcame medical issues that would frighten the strongest and mightiest of dog or human. When Tyson first became an Emerald City Pet Rescue dog, he went to the vet to get a dental. Halfway through his dental, his heart stopped. He had a bad reaction to the anesthesia! Luckily the doctors worked expertly to resuscitate him and Tyson survived this harrowing ordeal. But because of the negative reaction to the anesthesia, Tyson’s dental was not completed. After this incident, the vets decided Tyson should avoid getting anesthesia. Some dogs don’t react well to anesthesia and we didn’t want Tyson to be put at risk for another bad reaction. But this meant Tyosn’s dental could not be completed. Dentals mean different things for different dogs. Some dogs just need their teeth cleaned and the plaque removed. Others have actual dental disease and require tooth extractions. Tyson unfortunately had dental disease. So for a while, Tyson lived with his dental disease. This means that Tyson had to live with the pain of tooth aches, but this was a better alternative then Tyson’s heart stopping again. That is, until his dental disease worsened.
It happened on a lazy evening Tyson and I were spending together. Tyson was taking the laziness part of the evening even more seriously than our normal lazy time spent together. But he didn’t seem relaxed, he seemed not himself and lethargic. After looking over, I noticed that under his jaw was swollen. A swollen jaw is not a good sign. We rushed off to the emergency vet since it was after hours of the normal vet. In the proceeding days, Tyson’s life became a whirlwind of vet visits, medicines and x rays, all of which confirmed that something needed to be done about his dental disease. Untreated dental disease can cause to serious outcomes such as an abscessed tooth or infected blood stream. Tyson was scheduled to go to a dental specialist to get the tooth extractions he needed. It was an extremely scary day for the rescue as we waited on pins and needles during Tyson’s procedure. There was a surge of relief everywhere when we got the call that his surgery was a success! Hooray for Tyson!
That was three weeks ago today and he has been doing an amazing since then. Tyson may not have understood the implications of his first dental where his heart stopped. He may not have known the risks of surgery and the even bigger risks of not getting surgery. But he knew what it meant to feel pain. He knew what it was to be scared at the vet’s office surrounded frightening smells and imposing figures. Tyson handled all of this with the bravery of a little knight.
The thing about dental disease is it isn’t just about teeth. It is about how the pain of the teeth effects his day to day life. It is about the bacteria coursing through his blood, causing his body to constantly fight against infection. Good dental hygiene means overall good health. The doctor told me Tyson’s personality might change after he heals from his dental work. I’ve already noticed slight changes. He has more of a playful spark to his personality. He’s got a frolic to his steps when he goes on walks. Best of all, Mr. Finicky Eater is actually perking up at the prospect of food (Before he would only perk up at the prospect of chicken, his favorite!) He use to never be interested in the human food I would be eating, but just the other day I was eating jelly beans of all things, and he was absolutely focused on the jelly beans. He came and sat next to me on the couch and put his right paw on my leg. He looked up at me with big imploring eyes and watched as I grabbed the candy from the bag and ate one after the other. Who knew this little guy had a sweet tooth? Or rather, three sweet teeth. After his surgery, he only has three teeth left. Two bottom canines and one upper caning. Tyson has always had a bit of a snaggle tooth that likes to peak out the side of his mouth, but since the removal of the tooth above his snaggle tooth, the snaggle has become more pronounced. This little snaggle a rather lot of cute charm to an already adorable face.
Tyson has shown other slight personality changes. His stubbornness has increased. He is more confident in demanding we linger longer at an interesting smell during his walks. He is stauncher in his refusal to walk on rainy days. I love this stubbornness. To me it is a sign of his increased confidence. He has confidence in asking for what he wants, holding his ground and being persistent.
One personality trait that has stayed consistent is his bravery. He overcame something grand and scary- a brush with death. He overcame pain. He overcame fear of his surroundings and shyness as his main mode of interacting with the world. The next challenge his bravery will propel him to overcome is finding his forever home. He is such a sweet and loving dog. A dog so ready to add joy to someone’s life. A dog ready to find his best person friend. There has been so much Tyson has gone through and not just his dental or his shyness, but finding himself at a rescue up for adoption at all. He has his own mysterious past that has led him here. There is a lot to Tyson’s story we will never know, but the most important part of Tyson’s story is ahead of him. The part where he finds his forever home! And now, after his successful battle against dental disease, after his confidence navigating the chaos of the world, he is ready!
If you want to learn more about Tyson, read his profile here: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/35059006
Tyson’s pre-adoption adventures are also being recorded in his instagram @tyson_the_little_dog. Whoever adopts Tyson will also be given his instagram so they can continue recording his journey post adoption if they want to.