Kip didn’t get any titles. Kip didn’t get to do agility or flyball or herding or obedience… Kip was my companion through the most difficult part of my life. Though my codependency, though my addiction to men, through my moves from house to house, Kip was always by my side. My best friend, my companion, and my greatest joy.
Kip loved his crate, it was his dog bed and his safe place. There was no door on his crate, but he slept in it at night, on his comfy blanket, where he snuggled in and was safe. Kip had floppy ears, and I never was sure what he was mixed with. Maybe Keeshond, but I never did figure it out.
I met Kip back in 1987. He lived with an old boyfriend and was about a year old, so he was born sometime in 1986. Kip was a very sweet shepherd mix. When I took him for a walk for the first time he had no idea what a leash was and his butt was out as far as it would go. I didn’t know much about dogs when I had Kip, but I knew they shouldn’t be locked in a dog run all day long.
Kip was bored. When he has been a puppy they thought he was cute. But when he got older he was banished to the outdoor dog run. Once a day, every day, my old boyfriend would let him out. Kip ran around like a mad dog as fast as he could go, jumping in the canal, and having a great time. I can still remember when he did that like it was yesterday, the picture is clear in my mind.
When it was time to go back into the dog run my old boyfriend would take Kip’s food bowl into the dog run with him, and Kip would follow because he was hungry. Then the boyfriend would close the gate, and climb out, because Kip was smart and didn’t want to stay in there for the next 24 hours.
Well, long story short, I took the dog and ditched the boyfriend. And Kip became my best friend all through my 20s. He lived with me at a friends house, then at my parents house for three years, then at a couple of rentals, then at the first house I bought.
We went camping, and Kip loved to roll in dead things and bring back dear carcasses. He loved the back of my Toyota Pickup and would jump in on his own whenever he was tired (which was not often, he had a lot of energy). He loved people and dogs, and would whine whenever he saw another dog. I took him to obedience classes, which were cheap then, $40 for a 6 week class, but I didn’t go much further with him. I wanted to, but my addictions directed me other places.
Sometimes I think I could have given Kip a better life, had I been more focused on him rather than men. He was so much more important than any passing man I ever met. He was loyal and true. I wish I would have done more with him, spent more time with him, gave him more attention. He panted all the time, which now I think was because he was stressed, and it became a habit. But that was okay, I still loved him with all my heart.
Kip died at home on April 29, 2000. It was a Saturday. He had been going deaf for about six months, or a year, before he died. He lived to 14 years old, which is a good long life. He went downhill fast, in only a couple of weeks, maybe a month.
I remember going to the vet and they told me I needed to realize it was soon time… and I was in denial, thinking no he’s just sick, make him better.
He died outside on the backyard patio. He came through the dog door from the garage (there was also a door into the house, not sure why he was out there), walked toward me, laid down, and left me alone in this world. I did have Lucy and Levi at the time, but he was my rock, my history, my memories, and my life. He took a big chunk of my heart with him when he left, and I cry now as I write this.
I love you Kip, always will, and I will always miss you. I hope you are finding better things to do than waiting at the silly rainbow bridge. I hope you are soaring through a reality I cannot even imagine, doing all you ever wanted to do.