Personal Web Site of Greg Swartz
Tootsie & Snookum
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Like so many of my other dogs, the stories of Tootsie and Snookum are intertwined because their mother is (once again) Brownie and they were littermates. Therefore, I am combining their stories. They were born on May 1, 1985, underneath the car my friend, Danny, which was parked in my driveway. I had a gravel drive and Brownie had dug out a little hole underneath the car.

It was a fairly large litter and I have no idea who the father or fathers were. My neighbors did not come to get this litter very quickly and they lived their first week or two either under the car or under the porch next door, which was my house, too.

My favorite in the litter was a little puppy the kids next door came to call Tippy, because he had four white paws and a white tip on his tail. Tippy was the least aggressive of all the puppies, but quickly became the most energetic. Eventually, Tippy got a home, but I was saddened when one of the boys told me what happened to Tippy. Apparently, he was given to a friend, but the little neighbor boy told me that the father in the home “throwd” him away. I did not ask for more details!

I do not remember much about Snookum and Tootsie as little puppies, but as they got older, some of the puppies got homes (or at least were given away). Eventually all that remained were Snookum, Tootsie and a male dog that looked just like Tootsie. Then, the male puppy got a home.

Then as luck would have it, a car struck Snookum. I was not there, but apparently Snookum was under the car and luckily the only part that got under a wheel was one of her front paws, resulting in a broken leg. She limped around for several days and it because obvious the neighbors were not going to do anything to help her. Then, Danny took her to the veterinarian, got her leg fixed up in a cast, took her in and named her Snookum.

Almost at the same time I noticed a little blood in Tootsie’s stools, so I took her to the veterinarian and took her into my house. I named her Tootsie because she was a great friend of my dog, Blondie, just like Blondie and Tootsie are in the Dagwood comic strip. I do not know how you would perceive of what a person or dog named Tootsie should be, but I do not perceive a Tootsie to be the rough and tumble dog that she became. She had a lot of trouble dealing with the apartments that surrounded me when I lived in midtown. All the persons coming and going disturbed her a lot and she would always let them know how she felt. When I moved to the more rural setting, it was really great for her.

After Danny died in 1986, I brought Snookum to my house, leaving King and Rocky in the house where Danny had lived. While all of my dogs have some degree of sweetness to them, Snookum was absolutely the sweetest and so gentle. She was a very little dog and looked very much like her mother. Often, while I was sitting having breakfast, I would feel a little paw on my leg. Snookum would simply come to me, put her paw on my leg and wait patiently for a little attention.

By the summer of 1988, my personal financial situation had deteriorated very much and my resources were almost gone. Jody had become sick with lead poisoning in 1986, I believe, but with treatment she had been cured. Then Snookum began to have the same symptoms. Jody’s treatment had cost me about $400 and when Snookum became sick, I had no more money to spend. It was a horrible summer because the dogs had a really bad infestation with fleas and everything I did did not work.

Finally, in August things got a little better for me financially, and I could have some assurances that I could pay for Snookum’s treatment. It cost about $400, but when done and I got her back, she began throwing up everything. She could not swallow anything. The diagnosis this time was that she had mega-esophagus. In other words she was cured of the lead poisoning but now she had this secondary problem caused by the lead, which was making it impossible for her to eat or drink. She went back to the doctor over the Labor Day weekend. When I got a call before 8 am on the follow Tuesday, I knew it was not good. In fact, the news was that my sweet little girl had died. She was only three years old.

I wish I could have my dogs forever, but we all know that is impossible. What I do hope for my kids is that they get a fair amount of life. Duchess, Bo and Snookum did not get a fair amount of life, in my view, but the loss of Snookum hurts me the most. She had a treatable situation. If I had not allowed myself to get into such bad financial shape or sought medical treatment sooner, she may have lived as long as her sister. As it turns out, my veterinarian would have let me charge the treatment much earlier than he did, but I did not want to incur the debt until I knew I could repay it.

Tootsie, on the other hand, lived for fourteen years, most of it in the country where she could just bark at whatever she wanted. She died on July 17, 1999, while lying in bed next to me.