My then husband-to-be and I brought home an absolutely crazy and young rescue hound/terrier from the Hamilton County Humane Society in 2014. We said our final goodnight to our Mr. Trippers August 11th. On this Pet Memorial Day, here is his eulogy imagined in his own words.
My Mom and Dad had no idea what they were getting themselves into. They actually came to the shelter to visit the smooth and perfect looking dog one cell over. Anders. Everybody wanted Anders. My name is totally cooler. Trip. Now that’s a name, right? So, anyway, my mom was in line that Saturday morning to apply for him but she was second in line. Now, if you know my mom you know that she REALLY hates being told no or that she can’t have something she really wants. She wanted Anders. She started crying when the man before her signed the paperwork. She was just standing in the dog kennels crying.
Then Dad showed up. He said, “Look at this dog! Let’s take this one.” And he pointed to me.
I tried to focus but I seriously had a lot on my mind. I had just been dropped off because this one family said I was “too much”. I don’t really know what that means but I ended up in this really loud place with nothing to chew on, eat, or chase.
You could say I was in a bad place emotionally. Well, Dad convinced Mom that I was it. I was the one. So if I was “too much” I guess it worked!
This was a big deal! I was going home with these two people I just met but they seemed great. Their house smelled good and I knew I was going to be just fine as their new family member.
And then I saw the dog next door. He was small. He was perfect. And I just knew that he needed to become my best friend forever. I just had to smell him and love him and let him know I wanted to play and that my name was Trip! I let nothing stop me from reaching this puppy. Not even the screen door or screened-in porch. Nope. I went right through them. Why do we need doors anywhere? They keep us away from what we really want.
This was lesson number 1. If you want something, go get it. Let nothing, no-one, or any type of material stand in your way. Things are replaceable. Things are always replaceable. They learned this one many times over the years I am proud to say.
The FedEx guy, cats, little dogs, big dogs, basically any dog, bugs, all the humans, any moving object that I could see from my post at the front window -especially chipmunks, noises, distant barking, or any vehicle attempting to come within driving distance of our house- it was my job now to protect and defend my humans and their tiny humans from all impending disasters and nothing says impending disaster more like a fluffy, white, barking dog or a chipmunk.
Once I gave the ok then I signaled they could be welcomed with open arms.
This part is important. It is my lesson number 2. Never be afraid to show people just how much you love them.
The most effective method of showing someone just how great it is to see them is running at full speed straight in their direction, jumping up to their chest or shoulders, getting as close as you can to their face, giving them a face cleaning (this is generous of me, I know but a serious step), or if they are extremely important people you may want to engage in a solid leg humping. I still do not understand why most people disliked that last step.
Ok. Lesson number 4. Naps. Don’t deprive yourself of them or say you don’t have time for it. What do you have to do that is more important than a nap? Nothing. Nothing will ever be more important than a nap – especially a nap in a sunbeam. Do not pass up a nap in a sunbeam.
Once you find the perfect spot you need to make sure it’s padded down correctly, the blanket is moved to the right angle, and it is level enough to where you can curl your head just right by your feet. (Side note: I never saw mom or dad nap with their head by their feet and truthfully, they are missing out). If there is no sunbeam available, where should you nap? Wherever your humans are sitting because it must be the best spot and if it is the best spot then you need to be sitting there, too! I had two go-to methods on how to accomplish this. The first was to place my body as close to theirs as I could and then lay down on top of them. It’s always nice to share. The second was to just wait it out. This took patience and consistent loud sighs and moans but the majority of the time they would get up and I would make my move. Never forget: Where you nap is just as important as taking the nap.
On to lesson number five. Regret nothing.
Open door? Run through it. Mom and Dad always loved this! I would run and then they both would get in their own cars and race to see who could find me first! I always had fun with that one.
The little humans leaving their unfinished dinner on the table? It’s all yours. Mom forgot to lock the crate? Escape and explore the house! Leave nothing untouched! You find orange bottles with white caps full of white candy that you can’t seem to open? Use those strong teeth and devour the bottle. Trust me, it’s worth the trip to the vet. You get a car ride AND you get lots of human attention. It’s a win/win.
And my final lesson.
Mom learned this during the last few days of my life.
Darn prostate cancer. I couldn’t control my bladder. I am writing this around three o’clock in the morning and mom is right next to me on the floor by the patio door. She hasn’t been to sleep yet. I get up. She lets me out. She lets me back in. We do this every five minutes or so. She moved blankets and couch cushions to be closer to the door.
Tomorrow they will hear the news that I do have prostate cancer. And the next day I will protect them for the very last time.
My final lesson. Lesson number six. Love hard. Love without conditions. Love without regret. Forgive and start again. Rest and try again. Love with your whole being. Love faithfully.
Mom learned this tonight. She finally got it. She finally understood that I was her best friend that she didn’t know she had and didn’t know she needed. She finally learned why I never left her side. I knew that’s where I needed to be. She learned she was deserving of that kind of love. She was my person.
I loved all of them. (Honestly, I grew to love the toddlers but I could have done without “let’s pretend the dog is a horse” stage). And Dad. I irritated him the most but I grew his patience. (You’re welcome, Dad) And he loved me very much. I was his good boy.
They will get another dog. And that dog will faithfully defend, protect, sleep on their bed, and do all the other things we dogs were designed to do. They will love them. But my hope is that they don’t try to make them me.
We never have to replace a great thing with another great thing. We actually can have both. We can have many great things. We can love and be loved many times over.
Mom, Dad, Isaiah, Garland – Thank you for loving me and for taking me home from the shelter and for all those peanut butter treats. I’m ok now. I really am. I don’t have the inside scoop of when I will see any of you again but be ready.
When I spot you coming up over that hill, just beyond the bridge, I will run.
I will run straight towards you.
I love you,