Readers of this blog will know that I love animals. I have Hetty and Cyril, but I also have a suave, handsome Dalmatian lad called Kipper. Kip was my first dog, I bought him 12 years ago when he was just a tiny pup and he has been with me ever since. For the last couple of years Kipper has suffered with his back legs and spine. He was getting progressively less mobile. Today, sadly, I decided it was time to let him go. So, Kipper died peacefully at the vets this morning. I am heartbroken, but I am comforted by the thought that he had such a long and wonderful life. My favourite Kipper memories:
1. Once, on a walk, he greedily snatched a Greggs corned beef pasty out of the hands of an 11 year old girl. Dreadful, yes? Can I also add - THE GIRL WAS DISABLED AND IN A WHEELCHAIR! Oh, the shame!
2. He foiled a burglary at Chez Underscore. Showing tremendous courage and grit he chased a couple of wrong' uns after they broke into my house at midnight. I say 'broke in', actually, I had forgotten to lock the door. I was racing downstairs, naked as a jaybird, a rolled up copy of the Laura Ashley catalogue in my hands, ready to give the ruffians a good thrashing. Thankfully, Kipper had already seen them off. I was terribly proud of him. Sadly, not long after that incident Kipper became deaf. That severely limited his crime-fighting and sleuthing. When I was burgled last year he slept through the whole thing!
3. Kipper was an awfully naughty and destructive puppy. He once ate a whole sofa, a whole sofa in one afternoon! I came home from work to find my sofa stripped down to the springs. There was not one shred of padding or fabric left.
4. Also in his youth he enjoyed a spot of gardening. He would joyfully dig up and shred every shrub, tree, herb and flower I planted. For two years my garden was as barren as a desert. Then, realising his own garden now held no appeal, he knocked a hole in the fence and went into the neighbours' garden and manically dug up all their plants too. It was a horticultural 9/11!
5. Kipper particularly amazed me when my dad was dying. In my dad's last few days Kipper never left his bedside. He could not be coaxed away, not even for a Gravy Bone biscuit or a walk. At night I would drag Kipper up to my bedroom, but would inevitably discover he had snuck out again. I would discover him curled up next to my dad's bed in the sitting room.
6. Apart from the burglar, Kipper only ever growled once in his whole life. That was at my ex-boyfriend, Son of Satan. Kipper was a tiny puppy at the time. The first time he saw Chris (S.O.S) he bared his teeth and growled like a mini-minotaur. He was obviously an excellent judge of character. He could spot a duplicitous, passive-aggressive fanny rat, even if I could not. Maybe I should let my dogs choose my boyfriends in the future? Although, Boo chose Rochester, and look what happened there. Tragically, that relationship had more of a Mills and McCartney ending than Mills and Boon one.
Maybe I should allow Hetty to chose my next beau.
Anyway, my beautiful Kipper. Run free. I'll see you (and Boo) again one day, I know. xxx
p.s. Just a note about how Kipper got his name. Well, I was utterly undecided on names - he was called Monty first (Montgomery Clift), then had a day as Owen (A Prayer for Owen Meany). He was even called Badger for a while, inspired by his black snuffling nose. Nothing seemed to suit him. One day at my dad's house Kipper curled up on my knee and started snoring loudly.
'By, he's a good kipper.' my dad observed (meaning a sound-sleeper).
And that was it. Problem solved. Kipper was born!