All dogs go to heaven, don’t they? 

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I was chatting with Deb the other day when the subject of dogs came up.  Clementine (our little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) was laying in my lap when I commented on how much of a lover, snuggler she was.  Clem weighs around fifteen pounds, the perfect size for a lap dog.

I told Debbie that my first dog was a puppy dad acquired from Tom Vance’s parents.  She was some sort of beagle, hound mix, with a very pleasing personality.  Her markings were slight.  She had a rich deep tan, with a white tipped tail, as though dipped in paint.  Her hair was short, sleek, and shiny.   She was such a sweetheart that I could literally take food out of her mouth while she was still eating.  I didn’t, but I could have – just sayin.

My folks let me name my new prize, so my eight-year-old self-blurted out, with very little thought behind it, ‘Tippy.’  “I’ll call her Tippy.”  In third grade, we moved from 209 Euclid Ave. to 641 Chestnut St., about a mile in distance apart.  The move necessitated a school transfer; I was transferred from East to South, which was a completely different experience but that’s a story for another time.

Tippy missed her old home.  She was an outside dog whose doggy bed was situated in my uncle Eddy’s old, detached, one car garage.  She knew the path, from her old house to her new one, so she traveled back and forth, freely.  I, however, was not crazy about this new development, arrangement.  I missed her terribly whenever she would split time between her two households.  I thus did what any grade-schooler would do – I lobbied for another dog, one that would stay home, for cryin out loud.  Dog number two was a rescue with a spaniel-beagle mix.  Her fur had a mixed sand look to it, so I named her Sandy.

Sandy soon became the darling of the neighborhood.  She roamed, at will, our entire block.  Everybody loved Sandy.  She was personable, sweet and calm.  Like Tippy, Sandy was a lover, not a fighter.  Sandy lived in our new garage.  Whenever I came home or left, Sandy would be there either sending me off on a new adventure or greeting me whenever I returned home from one.

She almost always greeted me by running up to me as I neared the front porch.  We had a game we played, which we both loved.  She would shift her weight left and then right with a self-conceived hopping motion where she lifted both of her front legs off the ground while airborne.  I would then grab the high part of her right thigh and flip her over 360 degrees.  She would land on all fours, and she would then want to do it again.  She very seldom tired of this game.

But the game she liked the most was the ‘chasing a friend around the house game.’  Sandy was not very tall – twelve to fourteen inches high.  Her legs weren’t long, but she was exceedingly fast, faster than any of my speedy friends.

The game went something like this – I would give one of my friends a head start.  The goal was for my friend to make one complete lap around the house before Sandy caught them.   I would hold Sandy until my friends rounded the first corner of the house.  Once my friends were out of our sight, I would let Sandy go.  She always caught up with them before they completed a lap.

Picture this if you can.  The kid in question was by far the wildest and most dangerous kid I ran with.  He was crazy.  He was fearless.  He was somewhat nuts (I won’t name him, however). I’ll just call him Steve.

I gave Steve plenty of lead time before releasing Sandy.  But Sandy caught up with Steve prior to him even reaching the third corner.  Dad’s 62 Chevrolet Impala was parked along the side of the house with both the front and back windows open.  Steve eyeballed the situation, veered off to his right and in one graceful movement dove headlong into dad’s car, right through the space created by the two opened windows.  Sandy followed right behind.  She cleared the car and followed Steve’s exact path into the back seat of dad’s car.  She landed on top of him and proceeded to lick him to death.

Dogs, dogs, dogs.

Dogs are Zen masters.  For the most part, dogs are forgiving, loving, loyal creatures who live in the moment.  I’ve only owned three dogs, Tippy, Sandy, and Frisbee, who passed last week.  Pictured below is a photo of when she was a pup.  Frisbee is by far the smartest dog I’ve ever been around but unfortunately, she was temperamentally, aloof.  Frisbee was a diva.  She was not a lapdog.  She was more cat-like than dog-like.

The family got Frisbee for me, after the death of my son, Eric.  But I was emotionally unable to appreciate her at the time and eventually relinquished ownership of her to my son, Ben – Eric’s surviving twin brother.

Frisbee went on to live with my two sons, along with Sydney and Brandon, their other two dogs.  Frisbee lived to be 17.  And she remained very clever until the end.

Losing a family dog can be devastating and my heart goes out to any of you who have recently suffered such a loss.