Tanner the Knucklehead.

Seemingly a hundred years ago Lynn started talking about getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  No kids at the time only Striker, a super awesome Greyhound, a rescue whom we moved with from FL to CA and eventually NY.  While in CA and for a minute in NY we’d done rescue work with Greyhound rescue organizations.  In CA we fostered Greyhounds getting them acclimated to life outside of the track before they were rescued forever.  We had been really really successful fostering pups off the track, pseudo socialization experts…at least that’s what the group told us, in our own heads we were just having fun with the dogs and bringing their personalities out.  That was seemingly so simple I didn’t think twice when she went looking through Ridgeback Rescue pictures.  She eventually came across the cutest puppy … tongue hanging down, meat hook paws, sporting a huge smile while hanging over the edge of a couch.  She sent it to me and said she wanted him, ok?  The only correct response was yes.  She shot an email inquiring about him…and we heard nothing at all.  We had our hopes up, then we wavered and then dashed when they finally sent an mass email.  The response to the pic was overwhelming, soo many inquiries generated by one fantastic puppy picture.

About a month later, we got another email, this time directed specifically to us.  That puppy was a full grown wild man, the emailed explained that he’d been adopted three other times…once by a family with a youngish kid, for a matter of hours…not even an afternoon.  They’d come to think that he needed another dog, that he wasn’t good with kids, and needed someone who knew how to train dogs.  All this led them to us, we had Striker, no kids and had some experience with a bunch of different dogs through the foster program.  Lynn asked if we could go see him…sure thing.  We brought Striker to see if they’d get along.  I knew all along we were coming back with the dog.   We got upstate to find him in a barn, he had no idea what the hell a leash was, training = none…we conned the lady into letting us take him home. She likely thought the same thing about us.

Tanner, wasn’t “Tanner” when we picked him up.  He was Big Red Crybaby Mo and called him Mo.  Mo had no idea how to be a dog.  Mo is a cool name, until you say no.  Yell No when he was doing something wrong and he thinks he’s being praised so he keeps doing it again and again.  When he first came home with us, I’d get home at 5 and Lynn a couple of hours later.  It was like I unleashed hell every single day when I got home… I drank a lot of bourbon for a good while there… and by the time Lynn walked in the door I was frazzled… she’d keep her coat on walk in take him outside and let me decompress.   The adoption paperwork we received was all wrong he didn’t ‘like water’ he liked to drink water… he’d go crazy if we went in the pool (ripped one liner), he didn’t ‘hate stairs’ he was unfazed by them, suffice to say we got a 70# wild beast and had to figure him out from scratch.  He eventually got better, loved us really loved the other pups, and we of course loved him with all his quirks…and in the end ‘we couldn’t lose Tanner if we tried’


That first year and change, with all those different people, was traumatic enough to him that he had a pretty good case of separation anxiety…that mixed in with a 70# dog that didn’t know his own strength recipe for some destruction in the house.

If you were sitting on the toilet, he had you’re undivided attention and would turn around and make you pet his butt while you were doing nothing.

He and Major went in the kennel together, and he escaped and left Major inside. He popped the welded rings squeezed through the opening, ripped the door to the garbage off and went to town.  He actually popped the rings and the door to the garbage off twice … after that I used maybe 30 zip ties to make sure it wouldn’t happen again, and left the door off.

He eaten all kinds of things over the years and sometimes couldn’t help himself…

  • 10# of cat food and landed in the ER.
  • a bag of Hersey kisses and a few days later puked the foil…knew enough not to try and pass that.
  • huge brand new bag of pistachio nuts
  • 1000s of those little rainbow plastic rings for bracelets… Technicolor poop everywhere!
  • the top of a loaf of bread while renting a house in VT.  (just the top)
  • 3 full boxes of chocolate coconut bars.

His favorite spot was in front of the wood stove, or where ever you were sitting just before you got up for a drink…notorious spot taker.

He used to let you know the water bowl was empty by flipping it over while looking innocent after the clanging stopped….I dunno Dad, it just happened.

He didn’t like lettuce, once he took out of his bowl and then went to Striker’s bowl to take it out of his as well.

I can count the times he barked on one hand, at us for swimming, and a few times being protective.

He was kind, gentle and a little quirky with a really good soul…and he really loved his family and we him.

I’ve looked at his passing sorta like a drug addict, eating random shit was his drug…this time his body couldn’t handle it.  Then again, his body was declining after the Feb incident and perhaps he was ready.  Who knows…  the only thing for sure is we all miss that knucklehead, the big jerk.


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