I know. I wrote about him last year at this time. He's been gone for nearly two years and frankly I don’t think I'll ever really get over him.
I won't do it again next year.
I didn’t know him as a puppy but Michael did, of course. I’ve seen pictures of him then, more apricot than white. He was a cross breed, yes a mutt, but he was mostly poodle.
I’ve been told he was a cheeky pup, loved to run around, nip (often and hard, my big giant Husband says), and was rather bossy.
Ripley came into my life when I met Michael. I’d never really thought about pets. When I was young, my father had made it clear, there wouldn’t be any.
After my father threw me out, well pets were the least of my worries but I did meet a few street dogs, poor skinny flea-bitten things, which had been starved and beaten, but still responded to a kind word and hand. There is a special kind of look in a dog’s eyes. It’s that love of humans that so many of us just don’t understand.
What do they see in us?
The street took its toll on me, on my spirit, the way I looked at things and it was hard to sort of become normal, once I was off them. When I met Michael, I was still sort of this wary, nervous wild thing. Michael saw past that and so did his dog.
Ripley adopted me, gentled me, and showed me how to behave. He loved me and taught me what real love and acceptance is. He helped me love my husband better.
Ripley was a character, like all dogs I think. But he loved sirens, loved to watch the fire engines and screaming police cars go by, he listened to them from the TV as well. He was a connoisseur, enjoying foreign sirens as well. He wasn’t bothered by thunderstorms or loud noises, but his hearing was fine, he could hear you open the cheese from a dead sleep.
He loved to nap on my knee and could be flat out but if at my bedtime I said, want to go to bed? Ripley would be on the floor and ready to go.
Ripley loved the outdoors. Being a poodle he was a natural retriever and when he was younger would bring you his ball and we’d head out to play catch or chase. He always brought the ball back and dropped it at your feet. We never taught him that, he did it naturally. Another favourite game was pine cone soccer.
There are a lot of pine trees around us here and we often kicked the cones across the grass for him. He'd bring them back. And if he lost it in among the other cones, you couldn't trick him. Nope. He wanted that cone back, not the foreign one you just picked up because obviously you are much too lazy to find the right one! Wait ... why was I looking ...?
We sat up with him the night before his final morning and as we waited the sun came up and I hoped the beautiful bird song brought him some comfort. Michael called the vet who agreed to come in early to put our sweet boy out of his misery.
I couldn’t go, Michael and Peter, our nephew, did. Peter said he just slipped away quietly.
Maybe I'm over emotional, I don't know, but I can barely still bring myself to talk about him, without getting choked up.
I can barely write this…but nothing really seems to help.
I'm not sure I want it to.
Thanks for reading.