There has never been a time in my life so far that I have been without a dog and usually two, so dogs have been such a big part of my life for close on sixty years. They have all been characters and individuals in their own right and I recall them all with affection.
Once in every pet owner's life, there comes a special animal, one that for some reason or another stands out from all the others. That indefinable something you cannot exactly put your finger on. An affinity that you have not experienced with any other animal. It is a true blessing. Pip was that dog for us. He took hold of our hearts and never let go.
There was something about him that endeared him not only to us but to so many other people. After we lost Pip, it was so hard for Mike to take Jesse out alone and to be asked by so many where Pip was. Other pet owners he meets regularly at the fields, cried for Pip, they loved him as well. Total strangers have stopped Mike in the street and asked him where the other beautiful dog is. We had condolence cards from people. Pip touched so many lives.
A man approached Mike a couple of months later and said he just had to ask. He had always seen Mike around and thought of him as "the man with two dogs". He had tears in his eyes when Mike told him.
Pip is back with us . We have his ashes in a beautiful box and we will not be parted again. When our time comes, Becky has instructions that he is to go with us.
We have Jack now. We love him but in a different way. He has made us smile again. Jack is a beautiful dog, intelligent, faithful and loving. He is his own dog, we love him for his own special ways but he is not Pip and never could be.
Mike and I know that Pip would be pleased for us. He would not be jealous. Pip loved all other animals including our rabbits which he felt it was his duty to protect. He would lie for hours in the garden guarding their pen when they were outside. His heart was as big as he was.
I have tried to see the world through his eyes, to speak as if he could have spoken. His story was not easy for me to write especially, as you will all understand, the final chapter.
It is a terrible decision to have to make, many of you will have been there, but it is the last act of true love that we can do for our animal companions. For selfish reasons we do not want to let them go. It is being unselfish and doing what is best for your pet that makes a good and responsible owner, however hard that might be, however much it tears you apart. True love sometimes means having to let go.
Pip will always be in our hearts and in our minds. He has left us with precious memories. The house still feels empty without him. Opening the biscuit tin, however, quietly you tried to do it, always brought Pip running. The ringing of the phone which he always thought was for him had the same effect. So many of his ways that we miss so much.
In writing his story I have shared with you the happy and the sad, the ups and the downs. I like to think that if he could have understood such things, he would have approved of "his" story.
I hope I have done him justice.
I ask any new readers who come to this journal, and new people do come along from time to time, to please read from the beginning so you know the whole story. It is only fifteen chapters so will not take too long. Thank you from myself and Pip.
Goodnight, sweet prince