Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ye Olde Tattoo Parlor

They call dogs man’s best friend for a reason. For 16 years, Mike Toma and his dog Puppy were constantly by each other’s side.

“I never went anywhere without him. He was my best friend,” said Mike.

Last July, Puppy passed away, and it impacted Mike like he could never imagine.

“I’m a 34-year-old tattoo guy from Detroit, and this has just been the most horrible experience for me.”

Mike got Puppy as a puppy from a reputable breeder. And for the next 15+ years, they were inseparable. They did everything from camping trips to parties… even time at work.

Last year, Mike and Puppy started a campaign to overturn a longstanding pit bull ban in Hazel Park, Michigan. It was a ban that Mike said he was unaware of when he got his beloved dog. They managed to get the ban overturned, but it didn’t go into effect until a few months after Puppy died.

In April, Mike decided to honor Puppy by keeping him by his side forever. More accurately, close to his heart. He called on a childhood friend, tattoo artist Christopher Kime, to create an anatomically-correct human heart tattoo, mixing Puppy’s ashes with the ink. Inside the heart is Puppy’s paw print.

It’s not the first time Mike has used this idea to honor someone close to him. He did the same thing when his younger brother passed away in his sleep five years ago.

“We had used his ashes in that tattoo and that’s where I got the idea to do it for Puppy,” says Mike. “Since both Puppy and my brother meant so much to me I thought that it was fitting.”

While Mike is still grieving over his loss, he finds comfort in another canine companion — one of Puppy’s offsprings (he's such a responsible owner!) , named Diesel, who was born a few years ago. He also adopted Gemma in December, saving her from the euthanasia list at a Detroit animal shelter.

Mike loves his two Pit Bulls, but says there are no more dog tattoos in his future.

“Don’t be sorry for me. Be happy for me that I got 16 years of nothing but pure joy and love out of it,” Mike says. “He lived a very very good life. He was spoiled rotten and he deserved every bit of it.”

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful story, and well commemorated by a tattoo that looks like like a teratoma.