Remembering the Wonder Husky

Today marks one year since Tipper went to the Rainbow Bridge. I really miss not having a dog to walk, but right now is not a good time for me to have a dog.

Tip was a good dog. A really good dog. We got her from the same breeder from whom we got Keli, the first dog of our marriage. At first, we chose a red female, a huge pup that we called Moose. When we went back for a second look, however, we noticed that Moose had a huge umbilical hernia. Looking at the other pups, we saw a little grey husky with two blue eyes and an adorable turned-up nose. She looked a little like Keli, with a cloverleaf mask, so we took her.

Tip had an dew claw on one hind foot, a genetic abnormality, but so did her sire, Sir Nicholas. We had it removed later when she was spayed. Dew claws on the front paws are not removed in Huskies. Actually, extra dew claws are a reason to not breed the animal that has them. A happy, but misguided breeding of Sir Nicholas for us!

We had a date to pick her up in January, 1997. The weather was so horrible, we couldn’t make it into the breeder’s property. Bobbie promised to deliver her. I will never forget the delivery. I was working in my cat clinic, focusing on a late-comer, an older cat belonging to an even older lady. The cat probably had renal failure, and we were giving options to the lady and her son. The door opened, and my employees and I knew it was Bobbie with Tipper. I excused myself from the exam room and went out to see Bobby with Tip in her lap holding the pup so her front paws were in the air.

I finished the appointment ASAP, and closed the clinic. Tipper was ours! Keli, age 14, came to life with a little pup around. I still can see Tipper going under Keli’s tummy to get from one place to another. Keli and Tip had 6 months together before Keli’s death at almost 15.

Tipper was a fun little dog. Actually, she was a big dog, 10 pounds more than Keli’s 50. I took her to school the next day. She let many kids pet her during passing period.

Her name came not from Tipper Gore, Second Lady of the United States at the time, but from the tips of color on the ends of her fur. I had held a puppy naming contest at school, and got a lot of cute names. Peyton was the one I liked best,but none really suited her. Tipper it was. I won’t tell you her AKC name, because I made it up. Registered names are stupid, and the one I invented was disrespectfully related to a crime that had happened in Boulder after we had chosen her.

I took her to school every now and then. She would let 100 energy-crazed, early adolescents pet her during 5 minute passing periods. She was always up for a tummy rub. I let the moderate needs program have her for a morning so the kids could pet her, groom her and have the responsibility of taking her outside to do her business. She was a big hit.

Although she barely passed puppy class and was ‘retained’ in novice obedience (husky obedience is an oxymoron), she came away with a wonderful trick where she jumped over a stick for a piece of Pupperoni. She also was a gifted singer, and her signature tune was ‘Ragtime Cowboy Joe,’ which delighted Earl as it is the fight song for the University of Wyoming.

Tipper was never the alpha dog Keli was, and didn’t do well at the dog park. On our last visit over a year ago, she was bitten by another husky. End of dog park. She was just not into other dogs. She loved cats, and when we put Fletcher to sleep due to dilated cardiomyopathy on a hot July day in 2000, Tipper sniffed the body, and I truly think she mourned him. When Matthew came in 2001, they became best friends.

I wrote about Tipper’s last morning, June 2, 2009, which was published in the local paper. It’s in this section of the blog. It happened to be published the day after Earl passed away. That date is around the corner, June 12. I truly think Tipper went ahead to greet Earl at the Rainbow Bridge. I can only imagine how much fun they are having with all the folks and animals who went ahead of them.

May we all be blessed with the love and companionship of a good dog. Aleha ha-sholom, my dog of love.

She was a good dog.

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