My dear sweet (and often crazy!) doggie passed away on Saturday. Chocolate Chip, who has been a member of our family for the past 17 years; thought he mostly went by chip he was a dog of many names (not unlike everyone else in our family) - Chip, Chocolate Chip, Chipy-E-O, and "The Fastest Dog West of the Mississippi," just to name a few.
He was such a good dog:
- One who never turned down the opportunity to fetch a stick, ball, rock or anything else you might be willing to throw for him. He was so fast that other dogs didn't even try for the catch or chase; in fact both his "little" brother and sister gave up quickly on the idea of fetching the stick and created a game of fetching Chip instead. The would grab onto the back of one of his legs as he ran and Chip would just run with 3 legs and still win! When Chip was a puppy he's play fetch with himself in the back yard if no one would play with him, getting the ball in his mouth and throwing it up in the air to catch and then start all over.
- One who was the master escape artist. Often when he was a puppy we would get a knock on the door front one of the neighbor kids informing us that Chip had escaped the back yard . . . this often lead to a large group of neighbor kids chasing him up and down the streets trying to catch him which wasn't easy, and a game he delighted in! Once we move to a place where he could roam free (within the limits of the invisible fence) he required the extra large shock collar, which never seemed strong enough to keep him home, but was a perfectly good excuse not to come back!
- One who claimed senility much before his time . . . mostly so he could get away with things; hey who can resist a cute brown dog!
- One who loved to chew so much that he eventually chewed his teeth right off, sticks, rocks, bones whatever the flavor of the day . . . more often than not you could find him passed out on Christmas after chewing a bone all morning. He would literally chew until he was dead to the world, fast asleep with exhaustion and joy, and at that point nothing could wake him!
- One who was a good sneak; we learned quickly not to leave any food too close to the edge of the counter . . . once my mom made cupcakes for my class and when she came downstairs later there was a whole row missing, wrappers and all . . . not a crumb of evidence left but we knew there was only one likely culprit. Another time it was a row of muffins, and so on.
- One who was the alpha dog despite his size, even thought his "little" brother and sister grew to be twice his size in less than a year, Chip was still the leader, and always the first one home after a walk . . . right up until he wasn't going on walking trips anymore.
And who ever said you can't teach an old dog new tricks didn't know Chip; once when Bill was teaching Luke to wave he looked over and Chip was doing it! Of course Chip was one of those dogs who was only "capable" of learning or minding when it was what he wanted to do; otherwise he beat to his own drum (also much like most of the other members of the family ;)
I read a book this past week called "The Art of Racing in the Rain" a story of family life told from the dogs point of view (I'd give it two thumbs up!) and the dog said this; "Because terriers are problem solvers. They'll do what you tell them, but only if it happens to be in line with what they want to do anyway." Chip must have had some terrier in him because this was his personality exactly!
I'm sure there is more to say and more to share, and little stories will pop up from time to time. Thanks to Chip I'm going to expect all my dogs to hang around as long as he did! I'll always remember Chip as my first dog, for all the crazy things he did, and for all the laughs (and sometimes annoyances) he brought to our family . . . But most of all I'll remember him as "The Fastest Dog West of the Mississippi" who could do circles in the yard for hours (if he had to) to find that stick (that was probably tossed in a tree so he'd stop pestering us with it)!!!!!!!!!