Of Lost Dogs and Lost Dads…

Victoria Day weekend.  Unofficially, Canada’s first long weekend of the summer.    Cool, rainy and miserable.

It was around just such a Victoria Day weekend three years ago.    Mom called me at work early on a Thursday morning.  Her voice sounded a bit funny.    She had been sitting eating breakfast.   Dad was upstairs, sleeping in.   She had gone up to wake him, and found out that well….he had passed away.

In his sleep, just like that.   No warning.   Nothing.

The previous day, he was out on the golf course.   I believe he had shot a 76…he was within a few strokes of golfing his age.    He had supper, I had chatted with him on the phone, and then he went to bed.

And he never woke up.

What a strange day that was.  You get to work by 8:15 AM.   By 9:00, you tell your boss  “I have to go home now.  My Dad, um…died.  I don’t exactly know when I’m coming back.”

You arrive at your parents house.  Your dad’s still lying in the bed, like he’s taking a nap.  His body is still warm, for Chrissakes.  By 4:30 PM, the coroner comes to take him away.   Then you’re at the funeral home with your family, picking out a coffin.

All this, by dinner time.  You wonder how such a normal day could have ended up like this.

Fast forward through the funeral, the grieving, the dreaded year of “Firsts”…the anniversaries and events without your Dad.

Been through all that.   I’ve accepted it, and moved on.

Only now, if strangely feels like Déja Vu all over again.

**********************************

Another cool, miserable rainy Victoria Day weekend.

My sister’s dog ran away last week.    She had apparently bolted through an open door during a thunderstorm, and ran outside in a panic.

She’s been gone for 9 days, and we’re fearing the worse.

A lot of tears, a lot of grieving.  Not just for my sister, but for the whole family.

It feels surprisingly like another death in the family.

Some people may scoff: “Oh, get over it, it’s  just a dog!”.   But they don’t get it.   They just don’t get it.

It’s not just a dog…it’s a member of the family.    If you’re a Dog Person, I don’t’ have to explain this to you.

And Tipper is one of those special dogs that you meet, mabye once or twice in your lifetime, that you have a special bond with.

************************************

Dad loved Tipper. And she loved him.    When she visited, the first thing she’d do is bolt upstairs to his office, claws skittering on the hardwood floor, where he’d be sitting at his computer.

She’d greet him with pure, unabashed joy, wiggling her bum, thumping her tail and “roo-ing” in that half-bark she reserves for special people.

“Tipper!  Tipper, come here!”, Dad would call.   And I’d watch him suddenly get transformed into a 7-year old kid, this bright smile on his face, his eyes twinkling, as he petted her and played with her.

The dog had that affect on him.   Not too many other people did.

Only now both are gone.

Almost three years to the day, actually.

On the same type of miserable, wet rainy Victoria Day weekend.

Funny how Life’s Like That.

*********************************

I remember that sleepless night at my parents’ place, the first night without Dad in the house.

We had managed to put Mom to bed at 3:00 AM.   Everyone had gone home to their respective spouses.  My sister had left Tipper behind for my benefit, though.  Because she knew it would make things a bit easier for me.

I couldn’t sleep.   I got up, wandering the hallway in the semi-darnkess.    There was the office, with the computer, where Dad would have sat, not that long ago.    Only now the computer was off, and the screen was dark.

Tipper was awake too.    Nobody was sleeping.   It’s like the house itself could sense that something terribly, terribly awful had taken place.

I quietly asked Tipper   “Where’s Dad, Tipper?   Where’s Dad?”.

She quietly looked at me, and looked at the computer.

There was no tail thumping.   No panting or grinning.   No skittering off to the bedroom to try to find him.

She just looked at me.  With those sad, dark eyes, which spoke volumes.

She knew.  Of course, she knew.

(And they say animals don’t have souls.)

**********************

All hope isn’t’ lost yet.   We’re terribly worried, though.

There’s still a possibility Tipper is out there.   Maybe a farmer has taken her in or something.

I know it’s a long shot.  But if you live around the Ottawa area, and you’ve sighted a stray reddish-brown dog, please drop me an email at deepfryar@gmail.com. 

***********************

Tipper, come home.    If you’re still out there, COME HOME.

But if you’re no longer with us,  I like to think you’ve found my Dad.

Tipper

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46 Comments on “Of Lost Dogs and Lost Dads…”

  1. Karen JL Says:

    Yup. You did it. I’m crying.

    Damn you.

    I really hope, hope, hope Tipper comes home. That’s so freakin’ sad, dammit. 😦

  2. Patricia Says:

    I am praying that Tipper will come home too…sudden death/sudden missing of loved ones is so hard…
    My thoughts are with you all – Love is love.

  3. Donald Mills Says:

    Friar…I’m truly sorry. I hope Tipper makes it back safe.

    And the story of your Dad’s passing is very poignant. Those of us that have experienced that loss will recognize a lot in what you wrote.

    Good luck.

  4. feefifoto Says:

    Oh Friar, I’m so sorry about the loss of your father and Tipper. Hope she comes home soon, with a big smile on her face.

  5. Brett Legree Says:

    Come on home, you big dumb dog (I say that with a smile, because she’s a cool dog and my kids love her – still talk about her all the time, ‘Tipperdog’) – anniversaries are never easy, and this just didn’t have to happen.

    I still have faith that she’ll be back.


  6. Well, I am crying too. I am very fortunate not to have lost my parents yet, but came close enough in the Spring with my mother, to realize it could be a reality at any time.

    The biggest concern the Lion had about moving my cats into his house was not his allergies, but the fact that animals die, and he cannot handle that. I told him they were both very young, and Siamese live well into their twenties. However, I think bringing a small animal into the house that has a short life span, like a rat (I’ve always owned rats) would be a very hard sell indeed.

    Big, small, cat, rat, they all get into our hearts and become part of the family.

  7. Liz Says:

    So far I’ve snorted coffee through my nose because your blog made me laugh so hard and now I’m dripping tears in my cup. I am so sorry for your losses. I hope your dog comes back soon. Maybe some nice person took Tipper in.

    And I hate the anniversaries of a loved one’s passing. People say it gets easier…it doesn’t. You just get better at hiding it. It’s been 11 years since my mom passed.

    P.S. You owe me a coffee damn it. 😉

  8. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    Owwww. My heart hurts for you, and when you promised me a weeper, y’know, you didn’t really have to come through.

    A beautiful post. I can feel your pain right through the screen. Your father must have been a wonderful man. Dogs know these things.

    I really hope Tipper comes back. I know how beloved she is.

    Hugs,

    Kelly

  9. Friar Says:

    @Karen
    Yeah, it made me sad too! 😦 The worst part is not knowing where the dog is.

    @Patricia
    Thanks. You’re right…love is love. Dosent’ matter if it comes from a person or a dog.

    @Don
    Thanks, Don.

    Yeah, Dad really threw us for a loop by leaving us so quickly. No illness. No staying in the hospital. He just golfed and went to bed.

    That’s actually a good way to go (no illness, no hospital, no pain). When my times comes I hope it’ll be like that.

    @fee
    I’m mostly okay with my Dad going. But every once in a while I get a reminder, like this weekend. Especially when combined with Tipper’s disappearance. Geez I hope the dog comes back.

    @Brett
    Last time she was here, you had come over for beer night. I remember she wouldn’t leave you alone…she kept bringing her toys to you, and nudging them into your lap. You just kept saying “You’re CRAZY”, but she knew a sucker when she saw one.

    @Panther
    I had pet rats in high school. They’re actually quite intelligent and they show affection. The problem is they only live about 18-24 months. So it was a bit heartbreaking. I don’t think I can handle rats anymore.

    I remember your post about your Mom. That sure is a big scare, isn’t it? I had the same thing with Friar’s Mom with cancer about 6 years ago.

    Mom’s fine now, Dad’s the one who’s gone. Funny, how that works.

    @Liz

    Well, I’ve been through the third round of “Anniversaries” now. It does get a easier, I find. Or maybe I get better at dealing with it.

    But every once in a while, it catches up with you. Like this weekend with Tipper missing and the funeral anniversary, both events seem to tag-team and pack a big wallop.

    @Kelly
    Well, I hadn’t planned on writing sad post. But it just happened. I felt I needed to write this to wrestle with my own demons.

    I still have fond memories of Dad with Tipper. He could be a grumpy man at times, and not very talkative. But there was a special softness and tenderness he showed, when Tipper was around.

  10. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    You’re a wonderful demon-wrestler. Lucky us.

    Until later,

    Kelly

  11. steph Says:

    Oh shit, Friar. Shit, shit, shit. I am a dog person and you totally don’t have to explain. I lost a dog once, and I remember still the gamut of emotions I went through. It was the first and last time I ever swore at God.

    Lucy is very afraid of thunderstorms, too, but instead of bolting she either goes to the bathroom (has jumped in the tub) or comes and lies right by us. Lots of panting and shivering. She never used to be afraid but it developed last year.

    Have you put up signs and an ad in the paper? Also called the humane society? If I found a dog with no tags I would check all those places for someone who was looking. There is truly nothing like reuniting a dog with his or her people.

    This was a beautiful and sad post. I’m deeply hoping Tipper is alive, well, and found, and that she’s reunited with you very soon. Do all you can.

  12. Mer Says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry Friar. Tipper looks like a great dog. (I love it when dogs do the “roo-roo” thing and wag their whole bodies when they see you, too. My brother had one like that.) I hope she comes home real soon.

    For your dad’s sake, I’m glad he went in his sleep. That seems like a good way to go, I agree. But the all-of-a-sudden, unexpected part throws you for a loop. Everything around you seems so unreal. I remember when my grandfather died–I was eleven–I couldn’t understand how the sun could still shine and the sky could be so blue. I thought the whole earth should mourn with me.

    ::hugs to you and your whole family::

    Mer

  13. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    Thanks. As a fellow dog-person, I know you’d really identify with this.

    Yeah, we did the whole thing. Stuffing mail boxes with flyers, putting up ads up in grocery stores, the paper, on the internet, etc. We checked with the Humane Society and all the local animal hospitals. Plus the whole neighborhood (and then some) is on the lookout for Tipper. Can’t do much more, at this point.

    Where is that stupid dog? Come home, Tipper!

    @Mer
    It’s amazing, isn’t’ it? How dogs make us feel like we’re the greatest person in the world?

    I’d love to go the way my Dad went. It was great for him (but not necessarily for the rest of us).

    It was a hard lesson to learn, though. Like you say, we expect the whole earth to mourn. The rest of the planet continues on as if nothing has happened, though.

    I remember my first day back at work. They took it a little easy on me, at first. Then they put me right back into the pressure-cooker, expecting me to perform at 100%.

    I remember looking at the clock. 45 minutes. That was the grace period they gave me.

    (Thankfully I no longer work there.)

  14. Brett Legree Says:

    Friar,

    Guilty as charged, I’m a sucker for crazy, dumb dogs. We used to have one, after all 🙂

    I remember the day you came back to work, too. That person who gave you your 45 minutes.

    She keeps her heart in a jar of formaldehyde, inside a copper box, buried in her back yard.

  15. Mer Says:

    She keeps her heart in a jar of formaldehyde, inside a copper box, buried in her back yard.

    Oh, she’s an ancient Egyptian? I guess copper works better than canopic jars. Less chance of the heart breaking and all. 😉

    Personally, I think her ba is missing.

    Mer

  16. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    Too bad I never got to meet your Daisy (that was before we started to have our beer nights).

    There’s something about retriever dogs. They’re just stupid and mental. But you love them.

    “She keeps her heart in a jar of formaldehyde, inside a copper box, buried in her back yard”.

    Must be related to Eleanor Rigby, who wears her face that she keeps in a jar by the door.

    Who is it for?

    @Mer
    Didn’t those ancient Egyptians rip the brains of a corpse out through the nose, or something?

    No wonder the mummies are pissed off in those horror movies.

  17. Mer Says:

    @ Friar

    Yup. I think the tool they used looked like a crochet hook. Scary.

    Mre

  18. Mer Says:

    Sheesh.

    not Mre (Meals ready to eat?)

    Mer

  19. Friar Says:

    @Mer

    I think they still use the same tools today, when they promote people to upper management.

  20. Captain Push Says:

    I grieve for you and your family Friar. I still haven’t gotten over the loss of Moochie and Duchess. (those pups loved you too) I share your pain.

    I hope for a miracle here. Friar needs Tipper in his life.

  21. Friar's Mom Says:

    @ Mer,

    I too am glad my husband of 44 years died in his sleep. I remember him as sleeping peacefully, and not as a sickly person in pain, hooked up to umpteen machines in a hospital. The problem with dying so suddenly is that it’s shocking and very difficult for the entire family.

    The night before the funeral both my sons forced me to go to bed. They tucked me in and told me bedtime stories. It was payback time for the years I tucked them in. It worked, I relaxed and fell asleep.

    One day, Wee Friar will have to tell you the story about his Iron Ring Ceremony.

    My godsend that summer were my Olde Pharte cycling buddies. When I cycled with them, I felt alive and like my old self again, and not a grieving widow. No need for a bereavement group when I was surrounded by a wonderful family and caring friends.

    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.

  22. Brett Legree Says:

    @Friar & Mer,

    And you know, they discarded the brain because they thought it was useless… 🙂

    @Friar’s Mom,

    A very nice quote.

  23. steph Says:

    Yup, the Beatles. Sorry. Dumb question.

  24. steph Says:

    Friar: Eleanor Rigby of the Beatles, I presume, and not Douglas Coupland?

  25. steph Says:

    Weird. How did that happen? My answer loaded before my question!

  26. Friar Says:

    @Captain
    I remember your funny little wiener dogs well. Duchess just rolled over on her back anytime someone approached her, and wanted her belly rubbed. You could do that for hours, she’d never get tired of it.

    I could get Moochie going. “Hi Moochie Hi Moochie Hi Moochie!” when I’d come in the front door. I’d get him so excited, I was wondering if he’d piss himself.(Your wife thought so…and scolded me for getting him too worked up!) 🙂

    @Brett
    There’s always the other trick, too. Poking the sharp-end of the ice-pick through the nose, straight into the the frontal lobe, and shaking it around.

    @Friar’s Mom
    I normally don’t hold much value in quotes. But that one is one of the rare good ones. It’s a keeper.

    @Steph
    (???) Yes, I don’t understand how the order of your comments got mixed up.

    But Yes…I meant Eleanor Ridgy from the Beatles! 🙂

    PS. I like your new theme. Did you change it recently (snicker) 😉

  27. Kyddryn Says:

    A dog who has chosen her people well is no more “just a dog” than a friend who has chosen his people well is “just a friend”.

    I hope she comes home smelling of something awful and grinning from ear to ear, pleased with herself and unrepentant…but home, nonetheless.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

  28. Friar Says:

    @Kyddryn

    Thanks. I’m hoping for the same thing..that someone pulls up in a station wagon, and they bring back Tipper, all happy and tail wagging, like she’s had a big adventure.

  29. Writer Dad Says:

    That was really sweet, Friar… you old softie.

  30. Friar Says:

    @Writer Dad

    Shhh….don’t tell anyone!

  31. Mer Says:

    @ Friar

    Y’all might want to stay away from women with yarn, then. 😉

    @ Friar’s Mom

    What sweet boys you had!

    I like the quote, too. I should mention it to my roommate. She lost her husband in 2001. She has her horse and the buddies who ride them. 🙂

    Mer

  32. Mer Says:

    @ Brett

    And you know, they discarded the brain because they thought it was useless…

    I imagine some people’s are. 😉

    Mer

  33. Friar's Seestör Says:

    Tipper-dawg … come home.

    You soft, fury, sweet little beast. You laid at my feet while I worked from my home office. For those days I was home all day, around 2pm, you’d spontaneously burst into a fit of love, and ask for scratches and pets and nuzzles. 60 to 90 seconds later, you’d lay back down, content. You were always eager to play, run, mountain bike, sail, canoe, ride in the car, walk, swim. You’d always great us when we returned home like we were the most special people on planet Earth.

    Those who have loved dogs and know what it’s like to be loved back by one, know hat the sorrow and grief is real and runs deep. It’s all so terribly sad. She was 7 years old and could run for hours with us. She was fit and strong and had boundless energy and love to share. Where is she? I can’t believe this is how our journey with her has ended.

    My window of hope is still open … hope that it’s all been a big confusing event and that someone will finally see one of our adds or notices and bring her back. I am also coming to terms with accepting the loss. It’s such an odd balance, to grieve and to hope all at the same time.

    I have some awfully cute pictures to post. Friar, can you post them?

    seestör j and Tipper’s mom.


  34. Friar: What a beautiful tribute to your dad and Tipper. It’s so unfair how the special beings in our lives seem to come and go so quickly.

    Friar’s Seestör: I don’t know you, but my heart aches for you. Tipper is really lucky to have a family like yours.

  35. Friar Says:

    @seestör

    As sad as I am, I can’t imagine what you’re going through.

    I’m the Crazy Uncle Friar that Tipper loves to play with. I get her all ballistic and hyper, which is what Crazy Uncles do. I’ve been with Tipper in short energetic spurts.

    But you’ve had her every day, 24/7. That’s a whole diferent relationship.

    Tipper loved everyoe, but you were her #1 Special Person, the one most close to her. There was affection and gentleness there. She cuddled with you and loved you like no one else.

    I’m still trying to figure out WTF has just happened, where did the dog go? I just don’t know what to think. I still like to think she’ll turn up, all happy like she’s just had a big adventure.

    I got your photos. I think I’ll be posting some in the near future.

    @Rebecca
    It’s ironic…these are the two biggest losses I’ve experienced in the past three years. And they were both sudden, no warning. Nothing.

    Can’t do anything about my Dad. But people are still looking for the dog. (Keeping my fingers crossed).


  36. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed. Please keep us posted.

  37. Eyeteaguy Says:

    That is very sad about Tipper. I remember looking for my friends dog one night. I was 13 years old and I was allowed to stay up until midnight to help.

    They found her the next day. The people who found her had called the pound and they were going to drop her off the next day. Ahhh, the days before computers, before we could cross refernce and tabulate information.

    I have a good feeling that Tipper will be back.

    Power of positive thinking.

    Eyeteaguy

  38. Friar Says:

    @Rebecca and Eyeteaguy

    Well, the dog did have a chip in her. Maybe someone will have the brains to bring her to the pound and they’ll scan her. Plus, the whole neighborhood (and then some) is aware that she’s missing.

  39. nancy Says:

    I am so sad. I am crying. I am praying for Tipper to come home. Why couldn’t she just shake and shiver and hide under the kitchen table like Honey used to?

    Sad, so sad.

  40. Friar Says:

    @nancy

    Tipper gets mental like that. Even the “Beep” from the iron will send her trembling with fear.

    Honey was a bit more predictable. She could sense a storm coming a day in advance, and she’d hide in the basement.

    It’s been two weeks no. Still no word. TIPPER COME HOME! ;-(


  41. Friar,

    I can’t even believe a Toller would run away from their number one person. My Maggie would cross an ocean to get back to me, she hates if I am away from her for a minute. Someone has to have found Tipper. Was he microchipped? In the states they can trace back dogs from the rabies tag number too. Can they do that there?

    Oh…good luck…I believe… I an hanging on to faith here.

    I am praying for you all and Tipper. This is the saddest thing ever.

  42. Dale Says:

    Hi Michael, Dale here. So very sorry about Tipper. It must be even harder, not knowing what has happened to him or what he is going through. I hope that what has happened is that another family somewhere has found and adopted him, and that he will bring joy into their lives like he did yours. And I hope that you will be reunited with him soon and be able to share crazy-antic stories with those kind and caring people.

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Tipper is in my prayers.

    Hugs,

    Dale

  43. Friar Says:

    Thanks so much Dale.

    But as you can see (from my recent post)..this story has a HAPPY ending! 😀

    (*sighs with relief*)

  44. Friar Says:

    @Wendi

    Dunno why you got put in my spam filter. But thanks for the comment.

    Tipper is now found. Alive and well. (I sent you more details in an email).


  45. I dont know if you saw this on the news, but they said that dogs think a lot like humans and that i think is pretty cool 😛

  46. Friar Says:

    @Yelena

    I’d defintely believe that. That’s why dog and humans get along so well.

    I couldnt’ picture a CAT being that empathic after a death in the family.


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