A lot of you started reading the blog after Melvin lost his tail. Back then, we didn’t have a ton of readers so whenever I post photos of when Melvin used to have a tail, it surprises people. I mean I know you don’t sit and think about Melvin 24/7 (although what a delightful day that would be!) but I’m guessing that most of you just figure that he came to me without the tail. Not the case. His previous owners surrendered him with a full tail.
If you don’t feel like working today or if you need a screen to stare at to pretend to work you can read the pre-amputation posts HERE (start at the bottom and read up) and the post-amputation updates HERE (start at bottom) and a few follow-ups HERE (you got it, start at the bottom).
For those of you who enjoy the cliff notes version (in the form of one giant run-on sentence)… Melvin got happy tail during our move because there were so many boxes and he wagged that tail hard and furious and one day his tail turned into a blood sprinkler and then there were weeks and weeks of trying to wrap it and there was more and more blood and it was so worrisome and frustrating and then infection set in and the tearful decision to amputate (I cried, not him) then the amputation was postponed then ultimately amputation for real this time followed by MONTHS of healing (because hey, it’s Melvin and we take the leisurely route) and you will end up with the nubbin version of Melvin.
I get asked (by strangers), probably weekly, why I… ‘docked a labs tail’, ‘cut off his tail’, ‘was so selfish to chop his tail off’ (this one I THINK is because they guess that I like wine and his tail was knocking it over too much??). Anyway…there are a lot of judgers out there. I usually say ‘he had to have an amputation due to injury’ and walk off. But sometimes, when I can sense the tone of big-ole-jerk, I just say ‘because I did’.
If I’m with someone who knows the story they will say ‘you should tell them how tormented you were, how much sleep you lost over the decision, how you tried everything to save it’. My feeling about that is, it’s over. That was a long time ago. Melvin doesn’t have a tail and he is fine. In fact when I was agonizing over the decision the vet said: the biggest impact will be on you, because you will know he doesn’t have a tail. He won’t care. In fact, he’ll be happy to not have it wrapped, or infected, or painful.
So to summarize…he had a tail.
He now has an adorable nubbin.
He is not phased by any of it!
When we adopted Nola, her photos showed she had a tail. When we picked her up from her transport from Alabama, she had no tail. Imagine my surprise! Turns out her litter mates were chewing on each others’ tails and her’s was beyond repair. I was sorta devastated the the decision was made to cut my puppy’s tail off without my input, so I can imagine how hard it must have been for you! I’m glad Melvin isn’t bothered by it, and Nola isn’t either. She wiggles her whole butt instead of just her tail! Nubbins unite! 🙂
Oh my gosh! I would have been so upset too! Yeah, dog’s bounce. I love that about them!
OMG the little heart wrapped nubbin. Guh.
I’ve always thought happy tail is a really silly name for what it is, but dogs are happy either way. Any dog that I’ve known that had to have their tail amputated is just like Melvin, not phased by the lack of tail and perfectly content with their happy nubbin. 🙂
I know! People get REALLY confused when you say ‘happy tail’ and they look down and see his nubbin! Dog’s rule – they just pick up and move on!
Why would he care about having a tail when he has you and he’s pain free. Now Melvin’s got the deluxe invisible-happy-tail to wag around.
Exactly!!! And after he lost it, I realized how much he whacked that thing. Now his nubbin is safe and sound!
If possible, I love Melvin more WITHOUT a tail! And I agree, we all have decisions we have to make for our pets’ health and safety, and you just DO IT. It is what it is.
But geez, how nice is it not to have to scream to a visitor “oh, no! grab your glass!” everytime your dog walks past?!
I love my nubbin man too!!! He wiggles that booty like a champ!
I like the way you handle jerks who ask you that. If that’s their first thought then they don’t deserve to know the story! I think his nubbin is adorable. I had a cat who had to have her tail amputated and had the cutest nub. Pets are just amazing animals who adapt to (mostly) anything. 🙂
I have never seen a tailless cat! We need a nubbin hall of fame!
good old Melvin 😉 I imagine the tail is the least of his or your worries now anyway 😉
I barely recall the tail and he is pretty sure I’m lying when I say he had one!
I have a friend who recently had to amputate her Great Dane’s massive and very happy tail and was devastated at the time – but she was causing herself so much physical pain that her quality of life was compromised as a result. It was definitely the best thing for her. I’m totally sharing this with her!!!
Oh no! Hopefully the healing is speedy and both mom and dog will be emotionally and physically healed quickly!!!!
Turns out I shared it with her and she already talked to you when mulling over the decision! It’s truly a smaller world than I tend to think. 🙂
Aaa! I didn’t even realize this was a possibility. My guy has a serious tail wag, and we frequently comment on how hard he whacks it on things (including us). We just assume he has no feeling in his tail (even though we do when it hits us). So far there’s been no injuries (beyond our own bruises), and I’m going to cross my fingers that we can keep it that way.
I never knew about it either! Blood sprinkler 101!
I’m sure it was a hard decision for you but the vet was right, Melvin is better without it and all the pain it was causing. And, let’s be honest, how cute is that little nubbin’, especially wrapped in blue wrap with a heart.
I guess I must have a dog brain (this is Harper Lee’s mommy typing and not Harper Lee) because I’ve never given Melvin’s nubbin a second thought. I just figured, “That’s his tail” and moved on. Would I sound even more weird if I admitted that I think Melvin’s nubbin makes him even more adorable?
I’m glad you just saw it as ‘that’s Melvin’! I agree, even when I picked him up the day of the amputation I thought it was cutest nubbin ever!
You could say Jake asked you to do it so he’d have better butt sniffing access.
Can you imagine the torment Jake would face if Melvin still had a tail?! His face would be scarred.
HAHA! Chuckled out loud on this one.
Thanks for sharing the story. I think nubbin tails are kind of a Lab thing. I know several. And Melvin is still my hero – always.
I remember holding the umbrella over his nub so it wouldn’t get wet! And when the construction guys asked what happened I made them feel guilty by saying they made the wall corners too sharp 🙂
Hahahah! Only the VERY best of dog walkers would hold the umbrella over a dogs butt, risking themselves being soaked!!! We love you!!!