Man's Inseparable Companion....

By Gerard Trigo

June 29 1994

John Donne wrote:
"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is part of the main ... Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

There are two things wrong with the idea expressed in this quotation. First, people exist, and have existed whose deaths improve humanity, instead of diminishing humanity. Some prime examples are Hitler. Ted Bundy and Charles Manson.

The second thing is that it excludes other animals from the fabric of life. I know of several animals who have contributed more to humanity and life as a whole than any of the former personages. The fact that many of these animals did not have a choice does not mitigate the benefits they have provided. Examples include all the animals used in medical experiments. Two dogs and 40 mice were the first living beings from our planet to successfully enter space and return. Washoe taught us that we are not the only ones who can communicate. There is a more common example than that. The countless pets that provide us with love and companionship.  The one animal that has been with man the longest is the dog.

Dogs are more than another domesticated animal. They are manís inseparable companions. Evidence exists indicating that man and dog have been companions for more than 15,000 years. Cats were domesticated during the middle Egyptian dynasties.  Domestication of the Horse and Cattle happened between 8000 and 6000 years ago. Camels were domesticated around 400ce. I read somewhere, of  a Cro-Magnon grave. It contained the skeletons of a man and dog with the skull of a boar. The skeletons of the man and dog were lovingly placed side by side, as equals and covered with flower petals. The boar skull lay at their feet, in a position of submission. The boarís tusks fit damaged areas of both dog and manís skeletons. One wonders what the story of  their life and death was. We can only assume that they died together fighting the boar. They were companions, working and dying together. If one day man reaches the stars, there will be dogs at his side. Where ever humanity goes in body or spirit, so will the dog.

As I write a dog is recovering from surgery that has confirmed that she has terminal cancer. She is an example of the typical dog who has been a companion to man since time immemorial. Her name is Bear and she is 13 years old. She and her sister Tippy were born on 5, May 1981. My wife, Cheryl and I were there when they were born. Their mother was Trixy, a Sheltie. Her father was and will always remain unknown. All except Tippy were solid black with a white chest and boots at birth. Tippy had a white tail tip, hence her name. By six weeks they had their adult coloration. The primary color remained black with the white chest, boots and all had a white tail tip. Brown appeared on all the dogs, except Blacky. Bear added brown around her eyes and muzzle and as a border to most of the white areas. She is the largest of the brood, weighing in at 55 lbs. The Sheltie is evident, but she is far to big and broad across her chest to ever be mistaken for a collie.

Tippy showed the greatest change in coloration. Her ears and around the eyes are brown. A white stripe goes from her forehead to her muzzle.  She has a white collar. Her front legs are all white with a few brown freckles.  The shoulders are brown grading into black. The bottoms of her hind legs are white, while the top and haunches are brown. The white tip expanded to include the majority of her tail. She was by far, the prettiest dog of the litter, keeping the standard sheltie lines. Tippy is often mistaken at first glance for a pure bred Sheltie. Only her size, 45 lbs and slightly wider muzzle give her away.

We were going to take only one from the litter, the first born and runt of the litter, Tippy. The day after we picked up Tippy, I returned to my sisterís house. The nieces and nephews were crying, because no one came to claim Bear. My sister could not keep the. additional dog and would have to take Bear to the pound. Rather than see that happen, I called Cheryl and we decided to take Bear also. It is a decision that we have never regretted.

We went home, in my Jeep CJ 7 hardtop. Bear scrambled on the front seat and stared out of the window. She kept getting up on her hind legs to let the wind blow her diminutive ears back. I kept telling her to sit, but she kept getting on her hind legs to see out of the window better. A tiny car cut in front of us and slowed down rapidly to make the next exit. I slammed on the brakes to keep from running over the idiot. I heard whining and the scrabbling of feet on plastic. I glanced over and Bear was hanging from the window crank handle with both front paws while her rear paws worked frantically against the door looking for a purchase. She was looking at me for help with her soulful brown eyes. I reached over and scooped her back up on the seat, where she sat quietly for the rest of the drive.

We had the usual  problems with training puppies. Bear, after her experience in the Jeep, always obeyed the first time. Tippy had, and often still has a mind of her own. The kitchen floor and cabinets still have the marks of their depredations. Cheryl pretends to grouse about the first night we had Tippy. The puppy was in a box next to our bed. Cheryl had placed a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel and a mechanical clock in the box to keep the lonely puppy company. Tippy, being Tippy, whined anyway. To stop the whining, I convinced Cheryl to put the puppy in the bed with us. Around 3 am, the inevitable happened, fortunately on Cherylís side of the bed. As they grew older, Tippy and Bear became well-behaved additions to the family, who accompanied us on several trips.

On one of those trips, with my mother, we stopped at a motel and shared a room with two double beds. After eating and walking the dogs, we prepared for bed.  Cheryl and I were in one bed and the dogs, as usual jumped in with us. My mother, who barely tolerates any animal, was in the other bed absorbed in a book. Bear, looked at our bed, then to my motherís bed and back again. You could almost see her thinking, "It is real crowded here, and there is plenty of room in the other bed." Then she jumped from our bed to my motherís bed. My mother being engrossed in her novel, did not notice the intrusion. Bear, evidently taking her lack of response as an OK to sleep with her, decided to repay the kindness with a doggy kiss. So tail wagging she walked to the head of the bed and slurped my mother. There was a loud shriek and my mother threw her book in the air. Bear leaped from my motherís bed into ours, then looked back as if to say ďWhat did I do?Ē The dogs later compounded their error by eating my motherís soap, while we were eating breakfast.

Neither dog has done anything really remarkable or heroic in their life. They have just been the epitome of good loyal friends and loving companions.  Each dog has its own unique personality. Tippy is intelligent, but not overly brave. When they were younger, we would often take them to open fields to let them run. Tippy would dash almost out of sight and circle back. Bear, never much of a runner, would galump to the nearest point of interest to her and snuff around, while keeping a close eye on Tippy.. Once while Tippy was dashing through some tall grass, she jumped a rabbit. The rabbit went one way, Tippy the other. Fortunately for the rabbit, Bear ran to check out Tippy.

Bear has the friendliest disposition that we have ever seen in a dog. She seems to have love and tolerance for all. She has this irresistible urge to make friends with all the neighborhood cats. A friendship that most cats are reluctant to return  I saw her lift her leg to let a kitten try to nurse. Children played with her and we never had to worry about her biting one, even if they pulled her tail or her ears. Tippy keeps her distance from children and cats alike. Tippy stays close enough to observe the activities while maintaining a safe distance. The only times we have to watch Bear are when she thinks Tippy is being threatened. When they were a few months old, they were in the backyard to do their duty.  It was a new subdivision without fences around the yards. Bear was at the opposite end of the yard from Tippy. A Great Dane came from few houses over. Tippy was intently sniffing at something in the grass and did not notice the Great Dane until it was sniffing her derriere. She let out a yelp as if she was being killed. I saw this black streak across the yard, and Bear was hanging from the dewlap under the Great Dane's neck. I had visions of the Great Dane just snapping her up before I could do anything. Instead the Great Dane shook Bear off and ran back to her yard, attempting to put the stub of her tail between her legs.  Since that time, Bear keeps a constant lookout for Tippy. Her usual method of protection is to get between the perceived threat and Tippy. If the intruder insists on advancing,  he gets a warning growl and bark If that doesnít get the message across, a bark and snap in front of the face follows. It has rarely gone beyond that point.  Without fighting, Bear has established herself as the alpha dog in out block.

It has always surprised me that other dogs, often much larger than Bear deferred to her. If she were human, we would say that she has natural leadership qualities. Our neighborís dog, Pepper, an Australian Shepherd just walked into our house one day. Bear quickly ran up to Pepper and barked at him. Evidently Pepper did not respond by being submissive rapidly enough. Bear walked over to the cowering dog, put her nose under Pepperís ear, lifted it up and barked again. Pepper acted as if he wanted to bury himself in the floor. Bear, evidently satisfied that the message had gotten across, walked a short distance away and lay down to watch Pepper. Pepper slowly rose and backed out of the house.

Bear, has three thresholds of territory she defends with differing attitudes at different times of the day. During the day she does not bother anyone on the sidewalk or about a third of the way into the front yard or driveway. If a stranger intrudes further or it is night time and they are on our sidewalk she will bark at them. If a stranger attempts to walk further into the yard or actually enter the garage, She will stand and get between them and the inner area of her domain and bark and growl menacingly.

Bear also seems to differentiate on levels of friendship and access. If we are home, then some friends can come and go with little notice. If we are not inside, she will not let anyone in the house. Other people she knows, she will block until we indicate it is OK for them to enter. When inside the house, she can tell if the person is a stranger or a friend comes to the door, and will bark differently at them. Friends receive a welcoming bark, strangers a threatening bark. Tippy barks at everyone who enters the house, including us.  She does this from some safe distant vantage point.

I can remember only one instance, where Bear showed any real anger or aggression. We had to go somewhere on short notice for a week. The kennel that we normally boarded the dogs at was full, so we took them to another kennel located near our home. There were no intimations of trouble when we dropped the girls off, though we did think the place was not as clean as other places we have been. On our return, I had to go to the back and get Bear myself. The operators would not go in her cage. We put the dogs on their leashes and were leaving when they saw one of the keepers. It took all my strength to keep Bear from attacking him. Meanwhile, Cheryl was having trouble with Tippy going in the other direction. Bear had been trying so hard to get at the man, that she broke her claws on the concrete floor. We will never know what transpired at that kennel. The only thing we do know is that the place closed down a few months later. The operators were arrested under charges of holding dog fights. Since then, new owners have taken over the spot and turned it into a nice place to leave your dog.

Tippy is smarter than Bear, and standoffish, except when she wants something. The average dog can comprehend about 200 words, which is what Bear seems to respond to. Tippyís word comprehension appears somewhat larger. She has a way of cocking her head looking at you when you talk, that makes you feel as if she understands every word you speak. Tippy is, like a teenager, constantly trying to push the envelope of what is allowable and what isnít. She is also the great explorer of places. Other people and animals she keeps her distance from. Like a cat, she comes to us when she wants us to pet her.  She will do this by jumping up on the sofa or bed you are on and pulling at your arm with her paw. Bear picked up this trait from Tippy.

Neither dog is a perfect angel. When we are away from home for long periods of time, one dog digs a hole in the carpet at a fortunately hidden corner. We suspect Bear, but since neither dog shows any interest in the spot while we are home, we cannot know for sure. For now we block off the area when we leave the house. At first I felt that this would merely move the damage to a more visible area. The perpetrator has not moved its operations to another location, seeming to have interest only in digging at that one spot. Tippy has a habit of taking the dog food out of her dish and dropping it around the dish, while eating the mixed in dinner scrapes. When all the scrapes are gone, she eats the dog food. She will eat only what is in the dish, not those pieces she spit out earlier. She also will nose through the food looking for scrapes when none are present.

One of my friends says that we should have named Bear Shadow, because she follows me like a shadow, and is unhappy, unless I am near. When I leave for business trips, she will not eat for a day after I leave. When I return it is as though the heavens have opened, and all is good in her world. She is content to lie at my feet as I work. Until recently, she was ecstatic when going for walks, riding in the Jeep, or chasing her ball. It tears me to see her start to go out then stop, obviously not feeling well. The vet assures us she is in no pain yet. She just feels under the weather and is short of breath because of cancer in the lungs.

I do not want Bear to suffer. I would do anything I could to return her to her youth. I want it so that she can run the fields and chase her tennis balls. That is how I want to remember her. Her brown eyes laughing as she waits for me to throw her ball. Bear leaping in the air to catch ball after its first bounce. Bear playing tug of war with me using an old burlap sack. Bear running eagerly to join the children at play, with her tail curled above her back.  Bear and Tippy standing by the door, eagerly waiting for us to take them for a car ride. The dogs lying in the front yard contentedly watching the world go by.

Tippy is healthy and should have a great deal of time left. The only problem will be her reaction when Bear passes on. I have heard of cases where dogs have pined to death when another has died. You could count on the fingers of one hand, the times the two have been separated. Each time they were apart, both dogs, whined and cried until reunited. This last trip to the vet with Bear, we left Tippy home. When we returned, Tippy checked the car and front yard for Bear. The fact that we returned was barely noted. The fact that Bear was not, was of supreme importance.

We will miss the unquestioning love and devotion that Bear gives. Nothing can ever replace her. The world will be diminished and we will be diminished when she is gone. .  We can only make sure that her last days are as comfortable and as full of love as possible. We can never repay her for the love and happiness she has brought us.  My mother, who has never cared for any animal, cried when we told her Bear had cancer.

Bear 1992

Tippy 1992

July 16, 1994

 I am at work in the Gulf of Mexico. Today I called Cheryl. The news was not good. Bear is incontinent, and like a person it upsets her. Bear has not peed in the house since she was housebroken. We used to joke about the fact that she could hold it in better than Cheryl or I. She will loss control, hang her head and slink into her corner. My wife tries to console her, but it is obvious from Bearís actions that she is troubled. The problem is compounded by the drugs we give her to ease her breathing and reduce the swelling of her lymphnodes.

 Further bad news is that Bear is experiencing periods of disorientation. She walked into the refrigerator yesterday. She stood in the hallway today, swaying and swinging her head from side to side, as if she didnít know where she was. It hurts to hear about these things, but it must hurt Cheryl even more to see them. I wonder if she has any intimations of what is happening to her.

 I hope she lives until I get home. The thought of her dying alone is particularly upsetting to us. Bear cannot get into the bed anymore, so Cheryl has taken to lying on the floor with her, until she is asleep. She then gets in the bed and gives some loving to Tippy. We are afraid that with all the concern over Bear, we may be neglecting Tippy. Cheryl says she does not want another dog, but that is the pain speaking.

 Not that we could ever replace Bear. There will never be another dog like Bear. The pain is great, because she brought great joy into our lives, forged with bonds of love. We begin forging links of the bonds from the first time that a small puppy ran exuberantly to us when we left for as immense a time as five minutes. She had trouble with the direction of travel, because she was wagging her tail so hard that it threw her rear legs out of sync with the front. Chains that grew stronger as we played with and watched the young dogs run for the sheer joy of it. Links that grew even stronger when they became young adult dogs, full of pride and confident in their prime. Dogs we were proud to have at our side. Chains that grow stronger yet as they grew older and quieter, content in our happy household. Chains that have been forged by love and companionship into a bond so strong that it tears us apart when they are broken. A physical chain is only as strong as its weakest link. These bonds are as strong as their strongest link.  How can I put the thoughts and memories that have developed over 13 years. It cannot be done.

 I do not have the skill to explain what it is we get from the dogs. Such simple acts as a dog jumping up on the sofa with you and lying at your side or putting her head in your lap. Being woke up on a beautiful spring day by a dog full of life and raring to go outside and enjoy the day. Being alerted by an angry dog, ready to protect you and her territory from some intruder with her very life, and glad to do so. Coming home to a creature, whom will always gladly great you at the door tail wagging and barking joyously. Of course there are those individuals who now will greet you from the comfort of the bed or sofa. I think this is mainly a concession to the small infirmities of age, then a lessening of the joy of seeing you return.

July 19, 1994

 I was just talking to Eric about dogs and Bear. I was reminded of another little incident in her life. When I was home from the rigs, the neighborhood children would come over and ask, ďMr. Jerry, can Bear come out and play?Ē They liked to race with the dog and throw Bearís tennis ball for her. Tippy seemed to enjoy sitting back and watching the activity, only occasionally taking part in the races, which she always won. Bear became almost as protective of the children, as she did of Tippy. One time, Mr. Lynn play acted as if he was going to hit DW, the boy next door. The next thing I knew there was a snarling, teeth bared,, hackle raised dog between the two of them. She evidently recognized the difference in relationship between a neighbor and the boy and his father Daryl. She would perk up when she saw Daryl discipline DW, but would not intervene. She also differentiated the level of threat. Bear once grabbed an unfamiliar child wrestling with DW by the seat of the pants and growled at him. Bear then pulled him off of DW, by the seat of his pants. She did not put on the threat display with the child that she did with the adult, and was careful enough only to grab clothing in her mouth. I somehow do not believe Bear would have been so careful had Mr. Lynn persisted with his ďattackĒ of DW.
 Cheryl and I have had many pets, and many dogs. Never has the death of one affected us like this one. I have mourned the loss of Venus and Jack. Cheryl has mourned the loss of Cherie. Jack was my brotherís dog. He was so vicious that we had to keep him chained in the back yard and only my brother and I could go near him. My mother would put his food on a dish and shove it toward him with a broomstick. Needless to say, he was not a dog that encouraged closeness.

 Venus was supposed to be my sisterís dog, but it was me she followed. I was the one who played with her and she protected. One of my childhood friends has a scar on his cheek that he will carry to his grave. He got it when we were wrestling in the back yard and Venus came to my rescue. She was going for the throat, but got the cheek instead. Wade had seen her coming out of the corner of his eyes and jerked back just before she hit. After that, Wade never even acted like he was going to do anything to me when Venus was around. Venus, unlike most dogs I know, never growled or barked before an attack. She was a small dog and maybe she felt that the opponent had enough of an advantage already. I remember watching Venus once while a Persian cat walked along the top of the fences deliberately teasing the dogs in the yards.. Venus stayed under the edge of the house. The dogs in the other yards were barking and jumping at the cat, who was safely out of their reach. The cat, evidently thinking that there wasnít a dog in our yard, jumped off of the fence and began strutting across the yard. When she was halfway to the other side Venus began running silently. When Venus was a foot or two behind the cat she began to bark. I thought that cat was going to jump out of its skin. Venus came trotting triumphantly back toward the house, spitting out chucks of fur she had gotten from the catís tail. I can tell you that a Persian with the hair gone from the end of its tail is not a pretty sight. The cat did not make the mistake of coming in our yard again.

July 20, 1994

 Arrived home. Bear and Tippy ran out to meet me as usual. For a while it appeared as if Bear was feeling good. The appearance did not last long. She is half blind from internal bleeding in her eyes. The bleeding is another side affect of the medication she is taking. We wonder what to do. Bear is obviously uncomfortable. She has a fever and is sick from the drugs as well as the disease. The question is, does she feel bad enough that she would want to die. We must play God, and it isnít easy. Do we put her to sleep and end her suffering at the cost of weeks or months of life she might enjoy.  Do we stand back and let her endure possible severe pain or illness to the point where she is wishing to die. We cannot talk to her and ask her how she feels, we can only go by the outward signs.

 The incontenance distresses her, but she appears to treat the breathing difficulty and blindness as an  inconvenience. At times she is perky and alert, at others she cannot seem to be able to get comfortable. Her appetite is good, as it has always been. Most of the time she appears to be content to lie in the foyer and watch the rest of us or sleep. I will watch her today and the rest of tomorrow. Cheryl works tomorrow. Then I will talk to Dr. Laverne or Dr. Garon. I will tell them what we have observed and ask for their opinion on what should be done. It will not be an easy decision for them either. Dr. Garon has treated the dogs since they were born. Dr. Laverne has treated them since she joined the clinic. Both are very attached to Tippy and Bear. Dr. Laverne cried when she received the diagnosis on Bear. The good Doctor, cried again when Cheryl took Bear in for an exam for some of the side affects and other problems from her disease.

July 21, 1994

 The night was horrible. We lay awake listening to Bear try to breath. Like many old people, she seems to feel worse at night. I wonder if this is a result of the lower oxygen level at night. We finally fell asleep, only to awake to the alarm for Cheryl to go to work at 3:00 am. Bear was disoriented and seemed to have trouble finding her normal spot by the table for breakfast. We gave Bear her Predisolone and Aminophylline. The first eases most of the symptoms of the cancer. The second eases her breathing. I took the girls outside where they did their duty and then Cheryl left for work at 4:00 am. Bear followed me into the bedroom and almost immediately went to sleep just inside the door. Tippy came in a few minutes later and went to sleep also. I followed suit shortly afterward. Bear woke me up at 7:30 with her panting and obvious desire to go outside.

 The lack of oxygen from her diseased lungs makes Bear extremely weak. This morning, she was barely able to walk from the front door to the grass to do her duty and back. Once assured she was fine by herself in the foyer, I took Tippy for our usual walk down the block. It surprised me that Tippy did not seem to notice that Bear was not with us. When we returned, Bear was asleep in the foyer, where she had stopped after coming back in the house. We did not disturb her.  I fixed a bigger breakfast for the girls and I. Cheryl only eats a slice of toast and maybe a slice of bacon before going to work. This is not enough to hold me. So when I get up later I fix a second breakfast. Today I fixed 4 eggs, two for me one each for the dogs. Bearís was mixed with her vitamin supplement. Bear ate hers avidly, when brought to her in the foyer.. Needless to say, Tippy enjoyed her eggs also.

 I bring all Bearís food and water to her in the foyer. She leaves her spot only to go outside and do her duty. This seems to be more a function of weakness than of feeling bad or being in pain. This is a situation I can empathize with because an almost fatal experience with a flu virus that attacked my muscles last year. I was not in pain, nor did I feel bad, but I did not have the strength to go to the bathroom unaided. The best thing is to just keep bringing everything possible to Bear, so she does not have to exert her weakened muscles. To that end, her water dish is in the foyer, and her food is given to her on a low plate, so that she does not have to stand up to eat.

 Later in the day, Bear became a little more active. She came into the kitchen looking for food. I fixed Tippy and Bear some canned dog food and some fresh water. After eating Bear made the arduous journey to the front lawn to do her duty. Then came back and  lay in her spot in the foyer. Tippy decided to spend some time outside, and lie down in the driveway to observe the neighborhood.

 My observation is that the weakness is so severe, that Bear will not move until thirst and hunger become strong. I moved the water dish back to the kitchen. Bear began to pant heavily. She did not get up to drink, but did drink a good deal of water when her dish was brought to her. This observation is being contradicted as I write. Bear just walked into the living room and lie down in her spot there. This may be in response to me moving from the sofa to the kitchen table. She is looking at me with her laughing friendly eyes. When she looks like this I cannot even consider putting her to sleep. As the day progresses, Bear is becoming more active. In fact she is considerably more active in the house than the healthy Tippy. The difference occurs when they go outside. Tippy actively investigates their territory, whereas Bear just does her duty and comes back inside. I also caught Tippy panting heavily and brought water to her, which she lapped up avidly. This makes me wonder if the remaining in the foyer while thirsty is fully related to weakness. How much is pure laziness?

 A thunderstorm is passing and has lowered temperatures considerably. I turned off the AC and opened the back door. Bear is lying by the door enjoying the smells coming in. I think the fresh air, and increased oxygen content will help her also. I have the doors and windows open and the fresh breezes are gusting through the house. The wind blew a branch of mint in while the door was open. When I closed it to keep most of the rain out it got crushed and filled the house the smell of mint.
 The ultimate in bad news. Dr. Laverne says there is nothing more that can be done to ease Bearís condition. She also says that Bear is definately feeling bad, if not in actual pain. I went and looked at Bear. She was sleeping in the foyer, but it was not a restful sleep. She was quivering with each breath.
 Just before Cheryl came home a new problem with Bear arose. She now has a pronounced limp. Now I know that she is suffering. It appears Painful to walk.

 Later still Bear started falling down while walking. She fell down three times when we took them out to do their duty before going to Bed. We will make arrangements with the vet in the morning. Bear looks at me as if to say, ďPlease help me.Ē

July 22, 1994

 When we woke up this morning Bear could not walk. I carried everywhere she went today. She peed only once, this morning. She drank copious amounts of water, but none of her attempts to urinate were successful. She was also bleeding from the nose. Dr. Laverne said, ďYou donít know how much I hate to do this,Ē when we brought Bear in. Today at 2:15 p.m. Bear died.. She is gone, but will not be forgotten as long as any who knew her lives.

 Bear was that rare phenomena, a charismatic dog. Even my mother, who always classified dogs and cats as just ďdumb animals,Ē cried when we told her Bear had cancer and again when we brought her to be put to sleep. Bear was a gentle giant.

 Our journey with Bear is not quite over. Heavy rains and saturated ground prevent us from burying her now. The Vet offered to hold her until it is possible to dig her final resting place.

July 23, 1994

 Today we went to a pet cemetary. The people are very nice, and very helpful. We have decided to have Bear cremated and her ashes put in a special urn called a memory box. Her ashes go in the bottom of the box. In the top half, a separate compartment will hold her collar, ball and food dish. I will also put in a copy of this little note. Maybe someone in the future will read it and think of her. There is room in the bottom for us to put Tippyís ashes when her time comes. Hopefully that will not be for a long time to come.

 Tippy seems to be adjusting well to Bearís absence, but she still looks for Bear in all the spots that Bear made her own.  Tippy is making no attempt to take over those spots as her own.

July 25, 1994

 Tippy went with us to Maw Mawís house today. I think she thought we were going to get Bear. She seemed to enjoy the trip. Tippy ran around the house as if she was looking for something or someone. After searching the house, she went by Cheryl and lie down. She did not move from then on, until we left. Tippy Growled at Buttons, my sisterís dog. This is the first time that we have ever heard Tippy growl at the little animal.

July 26, 1994

 We picked up Bear and brought her to the Pet cemetary people. We will pick up her ashes when the memory box, which was a special order, arrives. The lady says she will have a little service for Bear when we come to pick her up. Cheryl brought some candies to the Vets and the people in the vetís office, in appreciation for the care they took of us and Bear. They also sent us a sympathy card. It is little things like that that have made us recommend them to all our friends. They really seem to care.
 Bear was in a black plastic body bag. We did not open it. I was asked how I knew Bear was in the bag. I could tell by the way she felt when I carried her to the car and to the cemetary building. I knew it was Bear in the bag, the way any a mother can recognize a baby wrapped in clothes. I could feel the familiar shape of Bear through the plastic. I did not look in the bag, because I want my memories of her to be from when she was alive.

 Cheryl found some old undeveloped films. We brought them to the store to be developed, in the hopes that they contain some missing pictures we took of the girls when they were puppies. Each day we talk about things they did, and I will try to write some of them down.

 Tippy is not adjusting as well as we thought. We now have problems with her digging up the carpet by the bedroom and chewing on the doors when we leave her home alone.

July 29, 1994

Bear is Home at last.

Tippy lived 3 more years then died of old age. Until she died, the first thing she did every morning on waking up, was to check out each of Bear's favorite spots, looking for her sister.

To ease her lonliness, we got Prissy. Tippy stopped tearing up the house once we got the puppy -- It was doing a much better job than she was.

Tippy and Bear are together in the memory box, as insperable in death as in life.

©1999 Gerard Trigo. Used with permission.

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