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Pip, by Michael Jablonski

The friend you’ve been waiting for has also been waiting for you. Meet each other at your local animal shelter.” The late Charles Romesburg, Professor, Utah State University.

On an early spring day in March, I pulled into the animal shelter’s driveway, parked my pickup truck and walked over to the small brown and white pit bull tethered to a cinder block on the ground. I clipped a dog leash to his collar, unhooked him from his tether and walked him to the pickup. I lifted him up into the truck and put him on the passenger’s seat. He put his head on my lap as we pulled out of the shelter.

He was my new best friend. I named him Pip.

Pip thrived with my wife Cindy and I for 10 years. We took him on three or more walks each day. Pip had a charming habit of stopping, like a stubborn mule, when another person was walking behind us. He had to go back and greet that person in his friendly pit bull way.

“Everything in life is just for a while,” said science fiction writer Phillip Dick. Pip was diagnosed with an inoperable hemangiosarcoma tumor and given weeks to live. Pip lived for 54 days after the tumor discovery, joyful and playful each day, as if he were not sick.

One evening the tumor ruptured, ending his life in the morning. He died peacefully by our side.

Like a diplomat sharing the best of his country, Pip showed us, our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors, the best side of pit bulls: joyfulness, loyalty, playfulness, a loved family member.

That fine day when I drove Pip away from the animal shelter, so long ago, seems like just yesterday.

 

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