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Joy and Tinker
By Linda Faris, DVM, CVA
 
Joy is a word we use a great deal around Christmas. It means, “A feeling of great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind.” I have a client named Joy who brought a little dog to my clinic in the spring of 2003. Tinker, her wonderful little companion, had been diagnosed with kidney failure. Their conventional veterinarian suggested a drab, low sodium, low protein dog food, but couldn’t offer much to improve Tinker’s condition. Joy was heartbroken. She had done a lot of research and knew holistic medicine presented options that might help Tinker. 
 
Joy met Tinker back in 1995 when the Kansas City Humane Society brought her to the TV station where she works to advertise her for adoption. When Joy glanced up at the monitor that day and saw her she felt an instant connection. She knew Tinker was meant to be her companion. She went back to the studio and they let Joy hold the little dog. That was it. She was hooked. Tinker had stolen her heart and has had it ever since. She was two years old then and very shy. Her first two years had not been good ones. But that was about to change. Joy did everything she could to make Tinker’s life happy and comfortable. Joy means to delight in something, and she delighted in Tinker. “Play” is another word for Tinker, and they have been playing together all these years. 
 
Tinker stayed relatively healthy until 2003 when Tinker was diagnosed with kidney failure.  Joy prayed. Then she started searching for a holistic veterinarian. She had studied natural health long enough to know acupuncture and herbs could help. Joy was determined to do everything she could for Tinker because Tinker had done so much for her. I was still practicing in Weston in 2003, so she had to drive almost an hour to get to my clinic. I swear she would have gone to the ends of the earth! Tinker had allergies and other minor problems, so we changed her entire treatment protocol. We made a gradual diet change to home-cooked food and put her on herbs. Tinker responded very well to the herbs and new foods. Joy said, “I couldn’t believe she was the same dog. She had so much energy! Even my sister was astonished at the change in her.” 
 
All went well until the fall of 2005 when Tinker had a severe bout of IVDD, inter-vertebral disc disease. She was partially paralyzed in the back end. Joy followed home-care instructions to the T (for Tinker) and brought her religiously for acupuncture treatments. By November of that year, she had made a full recovery and was back to normal.  This year, Tinker was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. We are doing all we can to help Tinker stay comfortable. Joy says, “Tinker is fourteen and a half now. She has cataracts so she doesn’t see well. She moves a little slow and sometimes seems confused. But all in all, she still enjoys life. I really value the extra time I’ve had with her. I’m very thankful.”
 
Joy and Tinker are soul mates. When I see them together, I am reminded that both humans and animals are capable of unconditional love. I’m very grateful to be part of their story.