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Nature Rider, Not MTBer
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Pippi, the best dog I ever had, died today.

On June 18, 1996, I returned home from the Oakland SPCA with a small six-month-old bundle of fear, fur, energy, and love. I named her Pippi, after Pippi Longstocking, because Pippi Longstocking was the strongest girl in the world and this puppy clearly needed a little spunk and strength. She was a mix of doberman, lab, and probably something else. Her first few months of life had been rough and she was afraid of everything and everyone, including me. It took a fair amount of time and patient coaxing to get her to come out of hiding under a chair.

I was starting law school that fall and had a lot of free time then and all during the next three years of school. Unless I was in class, Pippi could be found within three feet of me. Over these three years she slowly learned to trust me and then other people. She went from being afraid to go outside to loving long hikes in the hills. While I studied, Pippi napped at my feet. We went for walks nearly every day. We went backpacking and car camping, and she considered this the best thing ever.

Pippi was full of energy and would tear around at incredible speed chasing balls or butterflies or just running for what seemed like the pure joy of running, but at heart she was a very somber and serious dog. I don't think she ever completely got over her early mistreatment, and she always strived to figure out what I wanted her to do. I don't think she ever knowingly misbehaved. I never had to raise my voice to say no to her. As long as I could get her to understand what I wanted she'd do it.

After I graduated, I got a job in a law firm, had little time and lived in a small apartment on the peninsula. My mom was retired and living by herself in a large house. It made sense to give Pippi to my mom. Pippi never really got the message though. Even though she spent nearly all day every day with my mom, whenever I visited Pippi would ignore my mom and stick by me.

A few years ago I moved back to Oakland, just a few miles from my mom and Pippi. I got a less time-consuming job. I started taking Pippi on walks in the hills regularly again, and brought her along when I went camping. The bond between us was still strong. Pippi was often at my house. She had a prominent place at my wedding. She greeted me and licked the salt off my face when I finished my solo 24 hour race.

Early this morning I got a frantic call from my mom that Pippi had had a seizure of some sorts and my mom wasn't strong enough to lift Pippi into the car. I went over to my mom's house as quickly as I could and we drove Pippi to the emergency vet. They got an oxygen mask on and an IV going, but a little while later Pippi's heart stopped. CPR couldn't bring her back. Turns out Pippi had a cancerous tumor in her stomach that started bleeding during the night. Even if Pippi hadn't died this morning it would have been soon, so it's probably better that it was over with quickly.

When she was a puppy I helped her get over whatever horrors she had faced in her first days of life. Pippi repaid that a thousand times over. Whenever I felt low, I could go spend time with Pippi and feel better. Whenever I was stressed, her happiness at just being together in the moment would force me to see life's simple pleasures. Whenever I felt bad, her soft furry presence would cheer me up. When I'd stop by my mom's house, Pippi's wiggly, squeaky-bark excitement at seeing me made me feel loved. Now she's gone and it's more painful than I thought the loss of a non-human could ever be. I feel dumb, because she wasn't really even my dog any more, but it hurts. And I miss her.
 

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Fireball in the Night
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1,624 Posts
Hey man, I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It's intense when we lose a family member, no matter the type of carbon incarnation. A life is a life, it is proven once more.
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Purveyor of Trail Tales!
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Hi Plim,

My heart goes out to you in your moment of loss! We give a piece of ourselves to these animals we love so much. When one of them passes away a part of us goes with them. I hope your time of sorrow has some healing and joy when you think of all the wonderful times with Pippi.

Take care,

Michael
 

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Sorry about your dog. My dog is definitely a member of my family. I'd hate to lose him.

Here's my son and my dog sending you good vibes
 

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Master of '80s BMX tricks
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Plim,
My wife and i would like to convey our sincerest condolences. As fellow life-long animal lovers, we can sympathize with your loss greatly.
take care,
 

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its sad to hear this, ive got 2 furry friends,(one a jack and a rat terrier) they sleep with my kids. they too are rescue from SPCA and they are such a bundle of joy, like pippi. We send our deepest sympathy...
 

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Totally, and to the max.
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Mike, I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of your pup. A boy and his dog. One of the pure joys in life. You gave your dog a life far beyond it's imagination I guarantee you, and I hope you can take solace in that.

We adopted Toby from a rescue center when he was 2 years old. Two weeks after we brought him home, his kennel cough turned into pneumonia. He was 20 lbs. underweight and almost died on us. It was very stressful but he finally pulled through. He's been the absolute best dog ever since. He brings joy to our life. When he leaves us I will mourn his loss dearly. Dogs are special souls in this universe. Thank you for loving one through its life. :sad:

[my two loves...]
 

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3.14159265358979323846…
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Mike, I'm so sorry. You gave Pippi the oppurtunity to be a happy dog. Our canines are certainly special critters. My condolences.
 

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That is so horrible, rescue dogs are the best. I'm sure Pippi knows how incredibly lucky she was to have spent her life with you.

Esther sends her love:


 

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More pie please
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K-max said:
...You gave your dog a life far beyond it's imagination I guarantee you, and I hope you can take solace in that...
+1, you did good, Mike.

My condolences,
///Charlie
 

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I think its great..

that you made a difference in pippis life and she in turn was a life time companion to you and your mom. hang in there man...shes in a good place...
 

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Feeling a little taller
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Mike, I'm sorry for your loss.

I, too, had a SPCA rescue - Sam the Samoyud. Like you, changes in life and habitation made for Sam to move in with my folks for a few years. I was never replaced as his person.

It's tough to have a companion pass on, regardless of form.
 

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Capricious youth...
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My dog Coco... we adopted her when she was about a year and a 1/2 old. She had obviously been beaten before we rescued her. She became the light of my world. She outlived her life expectancy by almost 2 years. We put her down on January 2nd of this year. Saddest day of my life.



On the bright side, Cookie Monster (aka Cookie-Cookie) sends his 1 year old love, man. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.



 

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I am so sorry to hear about this. my wife and I love our pup as if he were our child, loosing him would be too much to handle. My thoughts and well-wishes go your way.
 

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Mtbr Founder
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Sorry about your loss. Sounds like Pippi grew up with you there. Also, he was a glue between you and your mom. Heal well all ye.

fc
 

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My sympathies to you

Mike,
How I know. I hope the good times you and Pippi had remain with you always. My deepest sympathies to you on your loss. Is there a truer heart than a dogs? I don't believe there is.

John
 

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Nature Rider, Not MTBer
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all your sympathy, and especially for your doggie pictures. It was a tough day yesterday, partially because of the suddenness. 7:30pm Sunday she was happily chasing squirrels in the park. 7:30am Monday she was gone. All during the day yesterday I'd think of her and cry, but every time I thought of her it was another great memory. We had so many good times and it all adds up to a reminder she had a good life.
 

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Sorry to hear of your loss. Your pal knows that she had the best possible life, provided by you.

I miss my Golden ret. all the time, and she passed 4 years ago.
 
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