The man who wrote the story about Moon was right, if you own a bulldog it will
break your heart. Her name was Ripple and she broke mine.
It was a gray, rainy day in Northern Michigan when I received the call about a
bulldog puppy that needed a home. I rushed right over to a house with a pole
building. “She’s in the barn”, the man said. I walked into the barn and there
was this 8 wk. old white and brown puppy just sitting on a towel. She looked up
at me with her wrinkly face and I turned to the man and said, “I’ll take her”.
From that moment on it was me and Ripple. I named her Ripple after one of my
favorite Grateful Dead songs. I still can’t listen to that song without crying
and I’m sure it will always be that way.
As a puppy and young adult, Rippy was moody, disobedient, and very sensitive. I
spent the next 4 yrs. trying to make her life great. Everyone who met Ripple
could appreciate her personality and my love for her. Throughout the years
Ripple and I spent many hours at the vet clinic. She had entropian as a puppy,
so we had to deal with the eyes being sewed shut for weeks and then surgery.
Ripple was also famous for over heating. We would rush in the clinic and sit in
a tub of ice trying to bring her body temperature down. Each time the vet would
offer me Valium because I had such a hard time seeing Ripple unwell. And each
time I was there for her and made sure she was okay. I think Ripple knew I was
put here to take care of her.
Ripple loved to swim more than anything. She would shake as I would put her
life jacket on and play in the water for hours. The only time she would ever
have to be on a leash was when it was time to leave. If I didn’t put a leash on
her, she would stand by the water and bark as I walked away. Ripple would go
with me anywhere and everywhere I was not all right unless we were together.
When I had to leave on a trip, Ripple would pout and sulk the whole time I was
Then on July 1, 2005, my life changed. I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to her labored
breathing. I thought about an emergency call to the vet and decided to wait
until the morning. I had her at the office at 8:00 a.m. She had a temperature
so the vet wanted to keep her in the clinic. I visited her on the hour
throughout the day. They couldn’t find anything wrong with her but they
couldn’t bring her temperature down either so she stayed. I left her side at
3:30 telling everyone I would be back at 5:00 to pick her up or kiss her good
night. The vet called me at 4:30 and said they lost her. That was the worst
call I have ever received. As I walked into the clinic to get her, I remember
to this day, the look of shock on everyone’s face and I’m sure the look of total
despair on mine.
Ripple was 4 years old. I loved her dearly and would have done anything for
her. I had her cremated that day and keep her with me always. And I always
think of when I hear it:
There is no road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go, no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.
“Ripple”, The Grateful Dead
story submitted by Deter Racine