It’s nearly a year since the first animal I ever shared my life and heart with passed. Michael took him to the vet and our sweet dog was released from his pain. I feel some guilt for not having gone, but I couldn’t … not that day.
Ripley was Mike’s dog. His mom gave him Ripley when Michael lived on his own. It was hard for Mike because he was a young constable then, single, and looking after a puppy in addition to a busy life was hard. Luckily he had a good friend that helped.
I guess Ripley was about 5 when I met him. I’d never had a pet. When I was a kid my father didn’t believe in keeping animals. They were a waste of money and time according to him. My brother Joe and I often asked but eventually we just stopped.
Ripley was a poodle mostly, not a purebred but you’d never have known. I remember Mike telling me he had a miniature poodle. That surprised me because he is such a big man and Ripley was such a small dog at 17lbs. But in his heart, that dog was a giant.
Once I started spending a lot time at Mike’s, Ripley sort of adopted me. He’d sit with me, follow me, and he’d sit and watch me. He showed me what living was, he greeted each day with a sense of joy and he loved everyone. Ripley just accepted me as part of his pack.
I’d see dogs when I was on the streets but they weren’t pets. People mostly abused them, poor things.
Maybe it’s weird that I miss Ripley like I do, that I love him like I do. But he was a big part of my life for nearly seven years. He knew I was a mess when I came into Mike’s life; we kinda fell in love with each other. I could tell him things I’d never uttered aloud before and he didn’t hate me for it, or judge me.
We’ve been talking about adopting a dog. I think Ripley would like that. Mike’s been to see a couple at the Humane Society, but he doesn’t take me. He said, “It’s because I know you’ll look at them with your heart and some of these dogs need more help than we can give them and it wouldn’t be good for them or us.”
He’s right. I would bring them all home.
The house is quiet and it’s times like this when I’m alone that I look for Ripley. He was my friend, and a comfort, and he made me smile.
And I miss him.
I wrote a lot about this difficult time during the NoPoWriMo 2016. This poem was one of them. It makes me cry, but I smile too.
A Prayer for Ripley
Lord listen to my weeping heart
The time had come for us to part
Keep him safe in heaven above
Lots of bones and plenty of love
Pure and simple is the love of a dog
Ours deserves a special epilogue
He taught me love, acceptance and joy
Ripley was our very best boy.
I miss his spirit, his was great
In his world, there was no hate
He lived now and loved his people
Ripley will be a terrific angel.
Please ignore his naughty moments
And don’t forget the fire hydrants
Give him lots of jobs and things
So he can earn his angel wings.
So my lovely darling pup
Our time here isn’t yet up
Your spirit now is beyond our ken
But I know that we’ll meet again.
R.I.P. July 2005 – April 16, 2016