A Snip of Pip

Thanks so much for all of your kind words here and on Facebook and Twitter– there are obviously a lot of animal lovers out there who truly understand what it feels like to lose a family pet.  You have surprised me with the sweetness of your responses, and I am so appreciative.

Now, for those of you who don’t know the story… We sorta stole Pip.

We prefer the term “rescued,” but the truth is that eleven years ago, Pip was (briefly) living with some horrible people (heretofore referred to as the Crackheads) several streets over, who were actually keeping that tiny 4 lb. dog chained up in their backyard — and he escaped. Someone in the neighborhood had found him, and was going around asking people if they knew where he belonged. Our babysitter happened to have my girls over in that neighborhood playing with some friends, and after calling to check with me, we agreed to let the girls bring him home and keep him overnight while she attempted to find the owners by putting flyers all over the neighborhood.  By the time Pip had spent 24 hours in our house, we were all totally smitten with him– he had so much swagger for such a little dude! But I told the girls we would have to give him back to his rightful owners, when they showed up to claim him. After a couple of days, we found out to our horror that his ‘owners’ were none other than the Crackhead Family– he was not a long-time family pet, they had only had him about a week and apparently he had already run away twice. We decided we could not stand to take him back to a place where we knew he was being mistreated. So after having a discussion about the merits of situational ethics with the girls, who were 8 and 4 at the time, (“You know that we should never, ever keep something that doesn’t belong to us, right? However, there ARE times…”) I made the executive decision that we were keeping him.

Now, the Crackhead Family consisted of a 50-something year old alcoholic man who had recently moved back into the lovely home of his 80-something year old ailing mother (to ‘take care of her’), and his 20-something year old crack head son (for real). But by the time they saw the “Found Dog” flyers and called our babysitter to claim him, she crossed her fingers behind her back and gave them the runaround, saying that the dog was not in her possession anymore, and she didn’t know where he was. Unfortunately, they smelled a rat. The alcoholic dad started calling our babysitter non-stop and was becoming belligerent and trying to find out where she lived, so in order to protect her, I sadly told the girls that we would have to return the dog to those horrible people. Luckily, those horrible people didn’t know we even existed, because our babysitter’s phone number was the one on the flyer and she was the only one they talked to. We tearfully handed the dog over to another one of the neighbors, who agreed to serve as a go-between, thus continuing to preserve our anonymity, and personally return the dog to the Crackheads. That neighbor reported to me later that Pip the Squeak (as we had named him), started trembling as soon as they approached the Crackhead Family’s house to take him back. He told me grimly, “If that dog every gets out again, I’m calling you.” I told the girls that if he ever managed to escape again, we were dang well going to keep him.

Three long months passed. The girls and I drove up and down the alley behind the Crackhead Family’s house, hoping we might see Pip out in the back yard and liberate him, but there was no sign of him. Then, out of the blue, one day I got a call from my friend Lynne who lived down the street. “That dog just showed up on my porch,” she said. “I’m on my way,” I said. I grabbed a Yorkie-smuggling-sized bag and headed out the door. Lynne had taken him into her living room, and after a brief slobbery reunion, I put Pip in the bag and whisked him into my car, and home. It broke my heart to see him because he was a very different dog from the feisty little guy we had fallen in love with three months before. He was skinny, covered with fleas and limping. I carried him straight upstairs to the bathtub, cleaned him up and then drove to PetSmart and bought him a bed, and a snazzy leopard collar with tag that said “Pip”– with our address on it. And we never looked back.

One of my favorite memories of all time is the look on the girls’ faces when they came home from school that day and saw Pip wagging himself into a frenzy at the top of the stairs.

They say that rescued animals somehow sense that they have been spared, and form an especially strong bond with the people who saved them. That was definitely true in Pip’s case– from the moment I smuggled him home, to his last breath on earth on Friday, he was absolutely devoted to me. No one in my life has ever been as thrilled to see me in the morning as that little scrap of a dog! He has been such a dear, funny companion, and it’s hard to believe he’s gone.

A couple of years ago, in a misguided attempt to snip off some hair under Pip’s tail in order to, (how can I say this delicately?) rid the area of some residual dingleberries, I inadvertently sliced into his delicate little hide. What’s worse is that I didn’t even know I had done it until a few days later when I spotted a strange small brown circle under his tail, directly beneath his, um, other small brown circle. I took him to the vet, because I couldn’t figure out what it could be– ringworm, maybe? Some kind of mutant tick? A tumor? Turned out it was a scab. Oops.

After the trauma of the vet visit, Pip just wanted to come home and curl up in his doggie donut bed and pretend the whole humiliating event had never happened. But I felt really bad about it and needed some closure, so I tried to explain myself to him and see if we could let bygones be bygones. He wasn’t having it.

What follows is a short video of our conversation. I will tell you that he could never stay mad at me for long, God bless him, and the whole ugly incident was soon forgiven and forgotten.

Pip was a prince like that. I’ll miss you, Squeaky Boy.

21 Responses

  1. DonnaMariePatterson

    Gosh, I am crying. But, what a wonderful post and video. (Tori – you are just too funny!) I will be praying that God comforts you and your family while, at the same time, praising Him for blessing you and Pip with each other and the wonderful memories you shared.

  2. jonny

    I remember the video fondly, and the the name of all names for Pip that followed here at ‘Bloomr = ) Or was that just my thing for him = / Anyway love the ‘origin story’ of old Butt-Nipped and if you don’t mind, would love sharing it on the ol’ small-j-LoveGrapes facebook page !! = )

  3. jonny

    ‘Anyway, love the ‘origin story’ of ol’ Butt-Nipped and, if you don’t mind, would love …’

  4. rachelbaker

    No, small-j that was a ‘pet-name’ we all shared for him! I remember the video fondly too. I love the story of where he came from.

  5. tori

    Thanks so much, you guys– and share away, small j!

  6. jonny

    Kiitos, tass !! = )

  7. jonny

    Uh-oh, I also noticed that I double ‘The-ed’ in that first post as well !! Sorry ladies, an off day = /

  8. LindaB

    I hope that horrible Crackhead family get their butts nipped! What kind of human beings take in an animal only to neglect and torture it? And I wonder how that 80-something mother survived her “caretakers”?

    I know you miss Pip terribly, but it should bring you some comfort that your family gave him everything a dog could want! He had a very good life after you rescued him! After his rough start, I know he appreciated you folks too!

  9. Trish

    Tori, I am so sorry for your families loss, pets are so much more than just that, they are comforters from God, a very special gift. Praying for peace and comfort for you. In Christ love, Trish

  10. Barbara M. Lloyd

    I was thinking the same thing, Linda…..Pip was rescued into the lives of people who made him family. I would have voted not to return him to that existence no matter how some might consider it wrong….I’m thankful he found his way back to you. Made me stop and give my little Lucy an extra hug. Wonder if he uses the doggie door in heaven….or wasn’t that our precious little Pip?

  11. tori

    Momma Lloyd– I like to picture him standing in front of heaven’s doggy door, sticking his head out and gazing around at all the celestial beauty, and then peeing where he stands. Just like he did here.

  12. jonny

    = )

  13. Gramma Jac

    And Jesus laughing and giving him a pat on the head!

  14. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Sweet Tori, that was exactly the picture I had Of precious little Pip. So if you feel a “rain drop” on your head one morning and the sun is shining brightly, it’s just Pip saying “hello, remember me?” (I just couldn’t resist….but it’s a love note, you know)

  15. rachelbaker

    … and just like that Momma Lloyd has solved another of the universe’s great mysteries!

  16. jonny

    And only Momma Love could get away with ‘Saying’ something like that here at ‘Bloomr !! = )

  17. Barbara M. Lloyd

    jonny, I’d say about anything to make my Tori smile.

  18. jonny

    Which then ends up leaving a smile on the rest of our faces as well !! = )

  19. Cynthia

    Oh Tori I’m so very sorry. I happen to be a Cat person; but I’ve rescued, (using that term loosely) my fair share of Cats and Kittens. Years ago I actually had people dropping strays and unwanted pets in my yard; because I was known for feeding any and all; and then finding homes for them. I’m a widow, and I have a “Pip” of my own named Bustopher; he was eight days old when he opened his eyes; and my face was what he saw, friends have said, “They don’t even want to be around me when he passes.” I can totally understand; and sympathize w/ your loss; I think if it’s possible for the rocks to cry out, then it’s also possible for a give/take relationship to develop as you have described. The Lord doesn’t just give us what we need; I believe that as far as the Taff household was concerned that day long ago, he also blessed you w/ your heart’s desire. You will be in my prayers.

  20. MostlySunny

    So sorry about Pip…and such a sweet story of how he ended up with you. We will miss him, too!

  21. Busymom

    What an awesome story! So glad to have known him.

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