To love may feel risky because we risk breaking our hearts.  Is it worth the risk? I say yes, absolutely! We give our hearts to people and animals all of the time.  Let’s face it.  It’s easier to love animals than people at times.  They don’t talk back, make us wrong, need to be right, or reject us.  They simply love us back unconditionally.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my family’s trip to Paris.  Well, after we got through security at the Chicago Airport, my mom called and almost immediately she said, “I have some bad news.  Kipper passed away the day after you left.”

I was stunned.  Our 8-year-old labradoodle (1/2 lab, 1/2 standard poodle), Kipper, had been perfectly healthy and good when we left.  He loved going to Grandma’s in the country, where he could walk with my mom, free from a leash, down a long lane with his two dog buddies, Hippo and Bronco. We don’t know what happened.  He laid down, took two deep breaths and was gone.  We think it might have been a heart attack. Our family must have appeared bi-polar, because one moment we were laughing hysterically in customs, getting our pictures taken.

Our 17-year-old daughter, Maddie, was posing with a troll face behind my husband and uncle.  The photos were hilarious, with my husband and uncle’s face, and very dominantly off in the background was Maddie’s troll face, leering at them. Five minutes later, Maddie was crying and Chelsea, our 18-year-old, was sobbing with grief.  The security person handed us a roll of paper towels.  Talk about an emotional roller coaster ride, the high of Paris and the low of losing our best friend without warning. We bought Kipper in May 2005, one month after Chelsea’s mother died.

He was her immediate best friend and helped Chelsea begin the long road of healing after such a tragic loss. Kipper was always a very beautiful puppy and dog, with yellow/white hair and the most gorgeous, dark brown eyes.  He had such a cool personality too! We took Kipper to dog obedience school within the first year, and he graduated with cap and gown.  He mostly favored the lab look, rather than the poodle.
The main difference was that he had longer legs, his hair was more coarse, and he had this little beard that we allowed to grow. The best way to describe Kipper was regal.  He appeared so confident when he sat up stately, with his chin slightly elevated in the air, so calm and collected.

Kipper was an indoor dog and followed us everywhere.  Chelsea taught him tricks, to jump over a stool on command, lie down and roll over, bark, sit, etc.  We realized how smart he was (he had this little smart bump on the top of his head) when he unwrapped his first gift at Christmas.  Holding the package in his paws, he started tearing away at the paper.  He’d pick the paper up in his mouth, sit it aside, take another bite and repeat the process, until the gift was unwrapped. Kipper was always there to comfort us when we were sad.  He was always there to sit beside us and love us, always looked forward to playing tag and tug of war.

He loved his walks, and of course, he loved to eat! He had a sweet tooth, and one Christmas he got to the chocolate chip cookies before Santa could.  We got back from Hawaii, and he ate an entire box of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, wrapped in gift wrap too! He also had an appetite for our girls’ socks and underwear. I’m writing this as a tribute to our amazing dog, Kipper. He will be sadly missed by all.  You could say Kipper was a therapy dog, giving comfort to my clients who came to my home office.  Change is scary, and Kipper made it easier for them.  They just loved him!

One summer afternoon, I had a female client sitting in my hypnosis chair.  While I was hypnotizing her, Kipper somehow opened the upstairs door with his nose and found his way downstairs to my office. He walked right over to her and began licking her bare feet (she’d removed her sandals). I was horrified!  Thankfully, she didn’t seem to mind! Kipper certainly brought much more joy into our lives than pain.  DOG spelled backwards is GOD, and to our family, Kipper was a symbol of God’s unconditional love. I love you and miss you,
Kipper Doodle (also affectionately known as Doodle Bug)! You were the best dog ever!

Peace Out,

Angie Monko