Thursday, March 31, 2011
“…there is a friend that sticks closer…” –Prv. 18:24
We said goodbye to an old friend and family member yesterday. Kipp was our yellow lab for 11 years and joins Josie and Maggie in our dog hall of fame. I’m sad today because we lost a vital part of our family and any of you who have lost a pet know what I mean. Sure, Kipp was just a dog, but she was special in so many ways.
She was loyal. Every time I came home from work, she was there to meet me. Granted, she was mostly interested in being fed, but still, she was always there. She waited every morning for Jeanie to take her for a walk. If I needed to travel through the woods to Doulos, she was always willing to go with me. When she was indoors, she followed Jeanie all over the house. When I was working outside, she trailed me all over the yard. I had many conversations with her over the years about life and she was always there.
She was unselfish. Okay, not so unselfish when it came to mealtime, but she was very understanding. Though she outweighed and outgunned our cat Tigger, more times than not she was willing to share her cozy bed with the cat. Other times she would sleep on the cold concrete garage floor and let Tigger have the bed himself. She seemed to figure out when the daily walks weren’t going to happen and would just wait at the back door for the days’ events to unfold.
She was fun. Before her arthritis started to limit her movement, she greeted nearly everyone with a tennis ball in her mouth. The message was “I have a ball (slimy ball) that I’d like you throw and I’ll go retrieve it.” She would even drop the ball at your feet, back off a few feet and wait for you to throw it. If you waited long enough, she’d remind you to throw it with a bark. She was always looking for a game to play or a something to explore.
She was an exercise enthusiast. She loved her walks and was relentless with Jeanie on the timing and length of the neighborhood trips. As soon as the leash was attached, she would grab the end of the leash in her mouth, and the race began as she pulled Jeanie up the hill! Of course, she had to smell every mailbox and leave her own marks, but she loved leading the way.
She was a protector. She patrolled the Staples property night and day, keeping out coons and possums, squirrels and cats. She loved to chase the squirrels and nearly caught one a few times. I would often hear her barking in the backyard, where I’d find her looking up a tree, barking and barking. But as I’d glance up that same tree, there was nothing there. “Kipp,” I’d say, “there is nothing there.” To which she’d stop the barking and go get a drink of water. I guess she was barking just in case…
She was a friend. That’s what we’ll miss the most. As the kids grew up and left the home, Kipp was our buddy to let in and out of the house. Whether on a walk or dropping balls, chasing squirrels or rubbing her tummy, she loved people. She helped raise our kids and I know was a friend to them when mom and dad weren’t around. She had that instinctual tendency to be a true friend. Dogs can't talk, but I think, if she could, she wouldn't have said too much. She would have just been there.
So, we say goodbye. We’ll probably get another lab, but there will never be another Kippie. It’s another reminder to appreciate the gifts God provides. Our kids, our parents, our friends, and our pets all come and go. It’s a sad reality, but a reminder to enjoy God’s gifts while we have them.
Thank you Lord for Kipp and for what a blessing she was in our lives.
By Eric Joseph Staples ©