Dr. Ririe and Tuffy

By Keith Gibson

It was one of those spring days that makes one feel alive.

A perfect day to go to the creeks for a picnic.  My wife, Linda, was loading the lunch in the truck and I was calling our black Lab. Tuffy.

We were living at the small house at the Club 50, back then in 1968.  Tuffy had wandered off and was across the highway.  When he heard my whistle he headed back and to our horror a county dump truck appeared out of nowhere and ran over him.  The driver didn’t even slow down.  I saw the rear duals go over Tuffy.

I ran over to him, fearing the worst.  He didn’t move or make a sound, but his eyes told me that he was hurting.  I put him on a blanket in the bed of our truck and then called Dr. Ririe. He agreed to put Tuffy down.  The Doc told me to park at the back of the clinic.  He came out with a syringe, but first he felt all along Tuffy’s spine and then told me to wait.  He went back in the clinic and then he and Dr. Wicker came out with a gurney, loaded Tuffy on it and covered him with a sheet.  They took him in and x-rayed his whole body.

Dr. Ririe told me that by some miracle only a small spur was broken on a pelvic vertebrae.  He gave Tuffy a shot for pain and wrote a prescription for me.

Back at the house, we gently carried him in and put him on a blanket in the kitchen and then I went to the McGill Drug.  I handed the prescription to Jerry the druggist.  He read it and then sternly asked me, who the hell was Tuffy.  I told him and he said that he would not fill a prescription for a dog.  I sternly  told him to call Dr. Ririe and explain.   He mumbled something incoherent, but filled the order.

Tuffy just laid there not moving or uttering a moan or anything.  He would take the medicine.  The next day I answered a knock at the door.  It was Doc Ririe making a house call.  As he went into the kitchen, Tuffy’s tail started wagging.  He seemed to know that the Doc was there to help. Dr. Ririe came back every day after his rounds in McGill.  The 4th day Linda and I carried Tuffy outside and put him on the grass in a shady spot.  He still never moved or uttered a sound.  We were really worried that he was totally paralyzed.

Dr. Ririe stopped by and said he didn’t think there was anything to worry about and that Tuffy would be up and about soon.  He said he would not be going to McGill for week, but to call him at once if any change was noted.

A few minutes after the Doc left, I went to check on Tuffy. He was gone.

We looked all over the place but couldn’t find him.  I was really worried that he went off to die like some animals do.  Later that day we were looking out the window at the dog kennel.  There was Tuffy’s head looking out the door of the doghouse.  It was the one place we never checked.  We ran out and he met us halfway.  His tail was wagging and I swear he had a grin on his face. I guess he heard the Doc say that he was good to go, so he got up and went to his little house.  He never even had a limp.  His name really fit.

I drove to Ely to tell Dr. Ririe and Dr. Wicker and ask for a bill.  They said that they couldn’t as they weren’t vets.  What wonderful human beings to care about animals like they did.

Lots of White Piners will confirm that.