To Pippin: A Proper Goodbye
Pippin, age unknown but probably around 12 or 13, a lemon beagle of questionable parentage, departed this earth the day before Valentine’s Day in time to be reunited with her one true love, Monty.
Pippin came from humble beginnings. In fact, she had to be sprung from jail (animal control), her bail set at $25, refundable if we had her spayed. We did have her spayed but never collected the bail money because her friends in jail needed things too, like cookies and blankets. That $25 and yearly donations at Christmas were Pippin’s gifts to the jailbirds she left behind. She never forgot them. Or perhaps she did. She never really said.
Pippin loved chasing rabbits. She dug under the fence regularly and escaped to gallivant around the neighborhood, often stopping in to check on Mr. O’Brien three doors down. He’d take a break from working in his garage, snap a leash on her and walk her home, and if Monty happened to be out and about with her like the truants they were, he’d trot along home as well, needing no leash because he’d never leave her side. One fine day, Pippin and Monty went for a swim in Mr. O’Brien’s pond, likely trying to catch the ducks. An immediate trip to the groomer for baths greeted them both when they returned. On another fateful day, Pippin got stuck so utterly in the mud that Joe had to pull her free, losing a shoe in the process. That must have been a very unpleasant event (for Pippin, but maybe for Joe, too), because she never attempted escape again.
Pippin loved to eat. In addition to her daily meals and regular treats, she ate full bags of peanut M&Ms, my students’ homework, and my copy of the Chicago Manual of Style. She climbed onto the kitchen table to devour an unopened bag of baking flour and ripped into innocent lunch bags—whether there was still food in them or not. They only had to smell like food to attract her insatiable appetite.
Pippin loved belly rubs. She’d grab hold of your hand with her paws and not let go while you rubbed her fat belly, ensuring the happy exercise would last much longer than you had originally intended, because she was magically irresistible and really, what is more important than a belly rub? Just keep going, Mom.
Pippin made friends with all and sundry, but especially the mourning doves who called to her each evening at around 5 p.m. After supper, Pippin would scratch to go out on the deck, where she would howl intermittently for about 20 minutes. It took a very long time for us to figure out what she was doing, but it turned out that she was talking to the mourning doves, who cooed their replies. If I spoke beagle-mourning dove, I would swear she was complaining that her humans never left the food pantry door open and were treating her most cruelly. I hope the mourning doves were sympathetic listeners. We all need good friends.
Pippin was an excellent friend. She was a bad dog, a very good girl, and the prettiest of princesses. In lieu of flowers, which she would most likely stomp on, dig up, chew and spit out, donations can be made to your local animal shelter. Peace be with you.