Tigger held our world in place.
We used to chuckle about the 'you may kiss my paw' pose he favoured when relaxing.
He held the garage window in place while he slept on the workbench. He held the cover on the airbag if riding in the front seat of the van (F did used to wonder if this would kill them both). He held down arms, and legs, corners of blankets, newspapers, pieces of sewing, floor mats.
He would lie on one thing and extend an arm (usually his right) and hold down something else.
He held our hearts.
We are bereft.
So is everyone who loses a member of their family.
What can I say about Tigger to those who knew him only in late life? Tigger was the gentlest of souls, calm, possibly a very zen Buddist, but never timid. He never fought but he never ran away either. On the occasions we did see confrontation he seemed to be calmly encouraging the other away; maybe he had total trust that his 'army' was there to back him up. (We always did, but tried to keep it as calm as he did.)
Always curious, usually attentive, a master of interspecies communication. Together we developed a language of signs and facial expressions. Strangely it did not include noises until we observed he appeared to be going deaf. Even then noise was very rarely his thing and he resorted to touch, a paw on the arm, or face (if the human was sleeping), rarely a claw to the knee (and that was usually deserved by a human not paying attention to his subtler entreaties).
His arias from the balcony in Greece were a whole other thing completely however, but he never sang another note after we returned to England last year.
He alerted us to a theft in action in our English backyard one evening many years ago, and prevented the thief from getting away with Mr B's bike. He used to sit behind the curtains and watch the drive. If a fox went up the drive and through the 'Tigger door' he would bounce down and run through to the dining room to watch its activities in the garden. One evening he scrambled down, went instead to the door that opens onto the drive and made the unholiest of rackets. It was no part of any language we shared. Mr B opened the door in time to spot the thief, the bike was abandoned (we had loosened off the handlebars for storage, so it was unrideable) and Tigger would have been given a medal if he had a lapel to pin it on.. How did he know the intentions were nefarious?
Mr T's biggest abiding fear was dogs - any kind, any size. Foxes were friends, and he even negotiated truce conditions with the crows before he crossed that last bridge. Dogs however were different. We didn't see it but were told some weeks after the event, that he had been viciously attacked once by a dog visiting the neighbour. We had had no idea how he had got such wounds and was in clearly so much pain, but the vet assured us nothing was broken and the wounds were limited to muscle. His body healed but it inflicted life long damage to his equanimity around k9s. He overcame it to some extent in Greece when he seemed to have developed some idea that riding on Donkey he was invisible to dogs - or that F would ensure all k9s were spotted at a distance and avoided by early and VERY wide deviation. (The neighbour concerned never told us themselves.)
He took the strange behaviour of his humans in his stride. He loved riding in the car or van. He knew the way to and from several frequently visited places: family, railway station, V-E-T.... You NEVER put Mr T in a box (that guaranteed vocalization followed by travel sickness). He almost always looked out the window; intently if the slant of his ears was anything to go by. Even last weekend he took in every piece of the new to him journey to East Dean and back.
His first trip through a tunnel made us laugh. After that tunnels were old hat.
He adapted to seeing the world from a backpack in his 11-12th year and added buses and trains to his travel repertoire. His first ferry trip had been Brindisi to Igoumenitsa and you can read about it in his blog. The moving floor took him somewhat by surprise, but he had a coping mechanism. His humans didn't seem worried so he wouldn't be, after all it had worked for tunnels.
F cried the death of both her parents into his fur. He seemed to know when she wasn't her usual active self and morphed into Dr Tigger. F feels she failed Dr Tigger in the end and should have repaid all that devotion with a better plan. It wouldn't have changed the outcome but might have spared him a few hours of pain. In the end he faded in a morning - like watching your friend cast themself off a cliff. What a deep shame it was Sunday and worse we didn't appreciate quite how he had gone into freefall until too late. It was quick and F had to remind herself that you should be careful what you wish for. She had wished that when Tigger's time came it would be quick, no long decline, sustained weight loss, ratty fur, wobbly walk, confusion.... Well there was none of that.
He's absolutely beautiful as he will be always, and always be in our memory of him.
We raise a glass tonight to a loyal friend, an entertainer, a playmate, a companion of the first order, to Tigger.
|Taker of Selfies|
|Yes - that is Tigger from about 2010.|
|Player of Hide'n'Seek|
|You MAY kiss my paw|
|Holder down of Quilts|
|Tester of Deckchairs and Hammocks|
|Chief Holiday Planner|
|Doing Cute to make your heart burst.|
|Expert in Tiny Gardens too.|
|Tigger aka Mr T|