Faithful friend Kipp mourned by loving family

Published 8:18 am Friday, November 1, 2019

It’s Friday

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Oh, I knew this was coming. Our dear old friend and constant companion for the past 14 years left us this past week, his sweet old heart just stopped.

DW and I were thankful Kipp’s long life ended quietly and easily for him. Not as easily for us, though.

Old Kipp had become feebler over the past couple of weeks, but he still enjoyed his daily beef and cheese jerky treat, a good head scratching and he loved us. He was ever our dog. Our twins were finishing up college when we got him.

It was Nicholas that found him while he was at Mississippi State. Friends of his in Mathiston had a litter of Australian Shepherd puppies. He recommended that I come take a look at them.

I picked Kipp, the only red one in the bunch; he looked like a tiny bear cub. Nicholas brought him home at the end of the semester and it seems from that day he made DW and me his people to love, herd and protect. Characteristics which make this breed so special.

He and Friday Cat tolerated each other, though the vet warned that Aussies didn’t like cats and he’d probably chew him up. That never happened, Friday Cat let him know from the very beginning who was boss and seems Kipp respected that, though he often tried to herd him around.

They each had their own bed, but Friday sometimes liked to sleep on Kipp’s bigger bed and right in the middle of it. Kipp very carefully would curl up as tightly as he could and lie on one corner…mostly hanging off on the carport concrete … to avoid touching the cat.

But, occasionally, on a very cold night, you’d find them sleeping warmly, back to back.

Kipp loved to play fetch, though he liked to make it a game of keep-away. He knew the word “ball” and would go find his tennis or golf ball if you asked him to. Sometimes when I’d be working in the flowerbed his ball would come rolling right in front of me. From the side he’d look at me as if to say, “let’s play!”

He could jump up and catch a frisbee; and he and DW enjoyed many stout games of tug of war. He knew the word “rope” and we’d have to spell it, if we didn’t want to play. He was too strong for me to play “rope” with him.

All in a day’s work. I wrote before about Kipp killing snakes. He could sling a 6-foot snake until there was nothing left but it’s head, and then matter-of-factly go back to his bed. We never had problems with deer or other varmints in our yard with Kipp on duty.

He served us well. Kipp was an outside dog, and he seriously took his job of keeping us and our property safe.  DW and I smile when we remember him jumping into action when we’d arrive home. He’d spring from his bed and run around the perimeter of our property barking out a warning.

He’d meet us at the door and assure us that all was well. He usually stayed on his chosen spot under the carport whether we were home or away. There he could see us, his food bowl, the yard, the road… and was ever watchful for intruders be they canine, feline, the occasional bovine, hawks, the potentially dangerous delivery man or visiting neighbor… though to our knowledge he never hurt anyone.

But we always knew when danger lurked. Good dog.

As brave and as strong as he was, dear Kipp was terrified of thunder and we don’t know how that happened. He seemed to have an innate sense that told him when the barometric pressure was about to drop. If he started circling, tried to rush in the house, or shimmied under my car we knew the weather was about to get bad.

If we were home, we’d let him in and he’d hide under the kitchen table until the storm passed.  If we weren’t home, he’d run to the neighbors’ house and get under her car, but that would be the only time he ever left our yard without us.

Bless his heart, he was quite the trooper during our move. Seems anywhere with us was home. Both times we moved after selling our house in Batesville, he picked his spot and took up his work just as if nothing had changed.

Once, I had taken him to Laura’s to stay while we were away for a few days before moving up here. Somehow I didn’t get the gate closed, he ran out and jumped right back into my car as if to say, “I’m going with you.”

And if there was ever one thing that would get him up and going even in his old age, it was having grandchildren come visit. He loved following Mack around on his bicycle and getting pats from the girls, his old eyes ever sparkling.

I miss those big brown eyes.

Maybe all dogs do go to heaven, for he’s surely there.