Sunday, August 12, 2012


I love my dog. Yes, I know my blog posts for the last couple weeks, have been more serious - even a little heavy, but tonight, my post is going to be about my dog, Kipper.

Since I was a little kid, I've always wanted a dog. My mom saved the note that used this sentence to try to close the deal on my parents getting me a dog: "if you say yes, I'll have a heart attack, and if you say no, I'll have a hernia." Even then, I was striving for alliteration.

I never got a dog, but being the huge animal lover that I was, my mom made the concession of allowing me a parade of small animals, starting with Chippy the hamster (who died of old age, but not until AFTER he bit part of my brother's finger off requiring a trip to the ER). I had a series of hamsters: Chippy, Ginger, and Cinnamon. Then I got a guinea pig which died of pneumonia and a gerbil that ended up having 8 babies. Both of the those events happened when my Granny and I were the only ones home.

After I married, we had a series of cats, but quite honestly, we are the Bates' Hotel for cats - I don't believe in jinxes but, well....

Finally, at the ripe age of 34 years old after a few false starts, I finally got my puppy - a rough collie we named Kipper. (this was after much debate - we almost named him Booker but besides the plethora of "b" names in the house, when Brody said Booker it sounded way too much like Booger).

Kipper has been a great dog since day one. Yes, we went through a few months of him being Kipper the Nipper (or shark puppy as we also called him), but once he grew out of the teething stage, he was the easiest dog ever.

He's also the handsomest dog ever, and even though I'm somewhat bias, I'm not the only one that thinks so! I often have people stop their cars while I'm walking him to tell me how awesome my dog is! Of course, for every "You have a beautiful dog," I get, there are also the fun folks (usually under the age of 10) that ask me why he has such a long nose. I think one boy the other day told me he looked like an anteater. So much for that Westminster win! lol

The thing is, Kipper does look a whole lot like Lassie (who was really a boy dog, btw), and strangely, he sort of acts like Lassie, too. I like to say he has "Timmy in the well syndrome" - particularly when it pertains to children.

He gets nervous and will start whining at me if he sees a child where he doesn't think they should be. That could be climbing a fence or standing near a drop off by the creek.

The other night, I was watching old Remington Steele episodes, and I felt a cold nose on my toes. I looked and there was Kipper staring at me. I thought he might need to go outside to the bathroom, but when I asked him (and yes, he does answer - if he needs to go, he'll trot to the back door but if he doesn't, he'll look away), he turned and went into the boys' room. It was storming outside and Kipper was worried about the boys.

I never had to teach Kipper to like children. He's loved them since he was a puppy. I remember walking him when he was only 3 months old. A little girl, maybe 18 months, wanted to pet him but was afraid. Without my asking, Kipper laid down and crept over to her, being as unthreatening as possible. You just can't teach that kind of thing.

Kipper will be 5 years old on August 12. He is my walking buddy - we've probably walked over 1500 miles in our daily walks over those 5 years. He's also my protector. Kip is the sweetest dog and very friendly, but he's shown me that he's got my back when it counts. That goes for the kids and Bruce, too. We are his pack, and I feel pretty confident that he would lay down his life for any one of us.

He's also a bit, um, air-headed. Ssshhhh - don't tell him I said that! While Kipper learned commands and tricks fairly easily, he's not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. For instance, he'll never make a search and rescue dog. We do a game where he waits and the kids hide. Then they call him and when he finds them he gets a treat. (and Kipper LOVES his treats!) Well, no matter where the kids hide, he always, always looks in the last place they were at. They can be calling him from the other side of the house, but he will still go back to the last place he found them.

BUT, he's also my friend. I know that sounds weird because he's, well, an animal, but he's tuned into me more than most people are. One day I was all upset, so I was sitting in another room crying quietly. The next thing I knew, Kipper who had been sound asleep on the other side of the house, was sitting in front of me, his long nose on my lap, looking soulfully into my face.

I call him my satellite dog because he's always orbiting around me and tuned in. He's not clingy, but he's never far away either. It's like he wants me to know, "Hey, if you need me, just hollar."

I know he's "just a dog," but he's MY dog. He's my best buddy, and I am so thankful to have him in my life because it would be emptier without him. There would be some joy missing in the midst of the day to day.

To be honest, I dread the day when I walk in the door and there is no tail swishing and doggy grin to greet me. Nobody is ever happier to see me than Kipper. It doesn't matter if I was gone 2 hours or 2 minutes - he's still so excited that I. Came. Back. It's like it's a miracle every time I walk in the door and who doesn't like that feeling? It's a really nice feeling to be the sun in someone's solar system, even if that someone has four legs and a tail!

Now go hug your pet!
~ Blessings, Bronte

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