The Day Tippy Died


I had two dogs growing up, Tippy and Sandy; both pooches were mutts. This is a story about Tippy, the first living thing I loved dearly – parents didn’t count at that point in my life because I took them for granted. Tippy was tan in color, with a white tipped tail. And she was a total sweetheart. Tippy, as a grownup, tipped the scales at around thirty pounds, I’m guessing.

Tippy was a pacifist. She believed in non-confrontation. She shared her food with the birds. Sometimes they ate out of the same bowl with her, while she was eating. I’d never seen anything like it, before or after.

As a game, I would sometimes approach her while she was eating and take the food out of her mouth. I would then give it back to her and she would take it from me and start wagging her tail like I was giving her a treat. I absolutely loved that dog. I hugged her all the time and she never tried to escape.

We got Tippy as a puppy from Tom Vance’s folks. The night we brought her home she had trouble sleeping. My folks suggested I let her sleep with one of my favorite stuffed animals. I had three at the time – Teddy, Doggie, and Rabbit. We also put a ticking clock in Tippy’s bed hoping that the ticking sound might remind her of her mother’s heartbeat. Tippy slept in my room that night in a little makeshift puppy bed. I was four when this all occurred.

The next morning when I got up, I awoke to a mess. Tippy, it seems, had diarrhea and took out Teddy. Overnight, Teddy went from a light beige to more of a brownish mustard color. Teddy could not be saved but I didn’t care, I had a dog.

When I was eight, we moved. We moved about a mile away. We took Tippy with us of course but she kept migrating back to our old place. My Aunt and Uncle lived next to our prior location and Tippy knew them and trusted them as well. Every time Tippy ran away, my Uncle Eddie would drive her back to my place that same day or the next.

This went on for several months until eventually, I gave up. My Aunt and Uncle officially adopted Tippy, and I ventured out and got a new dog, Sandy.

As previously mentioned, Tippy was a peacenik, with the sole exception of two things – she did not allow other dogs in her yard, and she disliked cats, very, very much. When she ran other dogs out of her yard, she would stop at the property line. But when it came to cats, she would pursue them for blocks, across streets, and to the fiery gates of hell, if necessary. In Tippy’s mind, I’m sure, all cats originated from hell and needed to be chased back through its front gates.

One day after dad returned home from work, he told me of Tippy’s demise. I was in high school at the time. While he was delivering mail that day, he came upon my Uncle Eddy sitting on the curb, rubbing Tippy’s head. She had been hit by a car, chasing a cat. She was bleeding badly and soon died in my uncle’s arms. My Uncle was crying profusely. He was a WW II vet, but it didn’t matter – the tears were flowing.

When dad told me of the event, I cried, and dad teared up a bit also, just telling me the story.

Do you remember your first dog? My memories surrounding Tippy are still precious and vivid. I hope there are dogs in heaven! And, if I make it to the pearly gates, I hope Tippy is there to greet me.

That’s all folks…until next time…