Tippy was my best friend (and still is) from1986 to 2001.
If Tippy could sing a song about our life together, I know that he would pick "I've Got A Woman" by Ray Charles. We were the best of friends. I never felt that I was his mother. He came ready made.
I found Tip in a box on a very busy street. As appalling as that was, Tippy and I would not have shared a long and wonderful life together. I took him to my friend's veterinary clinic to stay. On the 4th day that I picked him up from Roger's clinic and took him home with me (for exercise) he told me that I was his human. We were apart very few times during those 15 years. He was about 10 weeks old then.
Tippy was a happy and friendly dog. He had a way of greeting everyone he met with a head bump to the crotch. It could be embarrassing at times but most people laughed. I was never able to convince him that he could think of a better way to say "hello". He learned at puppyhood that if he was a very disciplined dog that he could go wherever I went. We went to Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado (moved to New Mexico after the divorce) Texas, Arkansas, California, Nevada and North & South Dakota. He sat in the passenger's seat and navigated for us. Tippy never had to scolded or told what to do twice. He knew when to 'load' and when to get out. He was the perfect traveler.
We traveled many miles together. We went to the Indian rodeos all over the United States and he always reminded me that getting into the arena with the bulls and horses was crazy. I remember him jumping out of the truck, climbing a hogwire fence and dashing to my side one day when he thought I was a goner.
Tippy Does Shiprock, New Mexico
During our time together, Tippy was photographed everywhere we traveled. We picked iconic locations/things and ended up with 12 wonderful images that have been sold, as notecards, all around the United States. I've never known another animal that understood so much about the photographic process. He posed until he heard the shutter click and then he relaxed.....when I said "one more", he knew what to do. We used to freak our tourists everywhere we went. I have his set of notecards and they still sell today.
Tippy, you'll never guess who I am going to see next weekend! Julius Y. ! We had gone to see him the day that I took your photograph at Shiprock. He is coming to a rodeo in Texas and we're meeting up for a day. I am sooooooo excited. I would give my truck for you to be here with me but I know that your spirit never left the passenger's side of the truck. You and I will know that you're there. I can't tell you (you already know) how much it means to me to get to see Julius. Best Indian Bull Rider Ever!! xoxox p.s. he is in the SENiOR circuit now! I knooooooooow....
Besides being such a traveling partner....he knew everything. We were camped out in Yellowstone one night and he woke me up to let me know he was cold.I took my full length goosedown coat and put it ON him! He wagged his tail and went back to sleep.
Tippy and I were happiest when we camped out. There was a spring on the mesa above the house that was one of our favorite places to be. Whenever we had time, we always loaded and went up there. I would keep a small fire going so we could see the animals that came up to drink at night. At first we didn't see any but after awhile they got used to us and would creep up and drink. We saw one or two of everything. The only things we didn't see was a bear and a panther. We saw the panther in the daylight once. He/she was lying on a rock on the side of a cliff and I was fishing in the Rio Grande. It laid there about an hour and left. One came to the house and up on the porch to the bird water. At night.(it left scat) That had to impress Amsu. He slept under that porch in his basket.
The photograph with all three dogs was taken one day when 6 of us were going camping. My daughters and Smutty went with us. We went about 75 miles up northwest of Penasco, NM, and put our camp there. Smutty wasn't in the photograph because he rode in the front seat on his goosedown comforter. The girls and the other dogs all rode on the extended seat behind me. We couldn't disturb or crowd Smutty, could we? :-) When we set the camp up, the first thing we had to do was make Smut comfortable. Connie built a nice fire and Colleen and I made a soft bed, by the fire, for Smut. We wrapped him in a warm quilt and he held court there. Everyone who came down the hiking trail would stop and exclaim over him. He accepted their praise modestly and always let them know he appreciated it. Smut invented the word "diva" for our family. We always worked around what would be comfortable and fun for Smut. He repaid us in 11 years of the most unconditional love, fun, joy, happiness and the greyt silliness.
A wish for Tippy for today is to mess with Henrietta a little bit today and kiss Smutty for me. Don't leave out the other 2 of the "Fab Four", Keep Smut away from the butter! J.J probably worries about me and I know that you will explain to him that I'll be with him someday.
Tippy's Last Christmas in a Stable at the Ranch
A friend of mine, Dave Bohn, said that he had heard that Mister Tip suffered many indignities in his lifetime due to my photographing him. We both knew that Bohn didn't know what he was talking about. He loved the opportunity to have another photograph taken. Bohn is a very famous photographer of Glacier Bay, Alaska and taught at several workshops that Tip and I attended. One trip to San Francisco, CA, Tippy and I walked the Golden State Bridge and Dave couldn't believe it. He wanted to know why we did it and why I took Tippy. BECAUSE. Tippy got to see a big ship that had a load of Santa Gertrudis cattle on it and that was the highlight of his trip. He was very interested and watched until the ship went out of sight. We don't have sights like that in Oklahoma.
The Day You came to Save me!
I am sitting here laughing thinking about the day he jumped out of the truck window and took in after a coyote in the Wichita Mountains! All I saw was his big butt leaving and the chase was on. I've always believed that the "trickster" said something to him that was so mean and ornery and he felt he had to be put in his place. He chased him onto the west firing range! There are "duds" everywhere there and I was furious that he would go through that fence and endanger us.... I chased him down and "spanked" him with my sandal and then I made him sit in the backseat. Our eyes would meet in the rearview mirror and he was pleading with me to let him back up front.
I am certain he remembers when he, Tooter and I would go to the mountains and look for Whipporwills. They both loved watching birds. Tip saw a bald eagle at our house in New Mexico and I could see him thinking "damn, that bird is big"......The eagle had the audacity to sit on a cotton wood tree about 10 feet from the upstairs deck.
When the horrible and painful divorce happened, you and the other three rallied around me and let me know that even though my life had turned upside down.....you were with me. We went through the divorce heartbreak and Moma and Daddy's death together. You got to meet Bella before you died. You guarded your "grandchild" day and night. So did Henrietta.I depended upon you for so many things for so many years that sometimes I have trouble making decisions about little things. Your attitude was "oh, don't sweat that"........
I know that Tippy heard his song. Colleen, Connie and I sang it to him as he took your last breath. Dr. Still came out to my pickup so Tip wouldn't have the fear from the smells and sounds of the veterinary clinic. He spent the majority of his life in one of my pickups and I wanted to set him free in one. We all cradled him in our arms. I know that he realized that there wasn't any love like ours. We wished him a speedy and safe journey to be with Smutty and Levon.
Another note......I miss you so much........and so do Connie and Colleen. You gave them so much love during your lifetime....You always got out of my bed and went to theirs when they visited us in New Mexico. They still talk about you doing that.....Bless you, Tippy..you were an old soul and we loved you so much for that.
When Tip and I travelledwe never knew which gate we would go through next and we didn't hold back from new adventures. I could always count on his curiousity when it came to a new road. I bet he thought I was crazy part of the time but he never let on.
I went to a rodeo in Farmington alone and all of the cowboys were asking me "where is Tippy"?
Tippy, I teased them about liking you more than they liked me~ Benson Roan, in particular, would go out to the truck to see you. He was crushed that weekend that you weren't there. He had a tennis ball that he brought you. I didn't have the heart to tell him that you felt above chasing things. I didn't take you due to the heat. It was August and being part terrier you were susceptible to the heat and I didn't want you to get sick or have a heatstroke .
Remember being at Crow Agency at the Crow Rodeo and Fair and you and T.O. Yazzey went to the store to get ice...the seat was loose and T.O. told me that when he stopped the truck you slid all of the way up to the dashboard. He said that the look on your face was "what the hell, T.O.?".......T.O. sure did enjoy our years of traveling and he made the long trips better with his stories and trying to teach me Navajo. He would tell me that the Navajos would roast and eat Tooter. :-) (my scottie) He was full of Navajo jokes.
The rodeo years were so much fun and you reluctantly put up with me taking my camera into the arena. My sister said that you never took your eyes off me when I was in front of the chutes. You were ready to intervene if I needed help.
April 2, 2009Tip, I hope that you had a good birthday day yesterday. I've been thinking about you and remembered more things that we did. We were camped somewhere in Oklahoma, off I-40, and a small group of coyotes came up to the camp. You and I laid there so still and never made a peep. We both knew that what we were seeing was so special and we didn't want to miss a thing. After checking around our site, they howled......well, yipped and yapped. Wolves howl and coyotes "talk".
Lorene, your aunt, reminded me of the "swimming hole" experience that we had at the ranch. I'll never forget how scared I was that you would see the water moccasin and try to kill it. I knew you would get bitten.....I held you by the muzzle and you didn't pull or make a noise. I got you out of the creek and into the truck and we went up to the house. There are so many memories of you like that. Where you behaved and helped things along.
Tippy, this memorial has helped me more than anything else that I've done with you. I love you so much and I'll see you someday. I pray that you and Henri will come to help take me home. Take care of Fayedy for me. She is really a great girl.
Tip at a photography workshop in New Mexico
What a time we had!!
Tippy sat in the passenger seat, like the photo, of three different trucks, for about 14 years. Sometimes I put the arm up and we held hands or I scratched his chest..his favorite thing that I could do for him. I have a photograph of a slightly different version, the arm is down, in a silver print B&W 16X20. Many people have asked to purchase a print but it is not for sale. We were doing 90 mph (no speed limit in Wyoming) and I've always wondered what he was thinking."Crazy speed freak". (This was black and white film that develops in one of those drugstore color machines. Thus. the blue tint.)
Tippy didn't share the front seat. If I picked up a hitchhiker (except for Indian Elders) they had to ride in the back seat. Unfortunately, the world has changed too much for picking up walkers now.
I quit traveling when Tippy died. I just can't do it anymore. I went to one Indian rodeo after he died and I was photographing the saddle broncs and suddenly remembered he wasn't waiting in the truck. I dropped to my knees and bawled like a baby. The stock producer and cowboy waited to open the chute gate until I was composed. I'll never forget that moment of such intense kindness. How blessed I am to know Casper.I pestered Casper to let me get on a bull, in the chute, for 2 or 3 years. He let me get on one at Crownpoint one night but the photographs weren't impressive. I wanted to show exactly what the cowboy saw when he got down into the "hole". I also wanted to show what the bull saw when he looked through the chute slats into the arena. A year after I got on the first one, Casper called one Saturday night and asked me if I wanted on one the next day. Of course I did! Tip and I loaded up and took off to meet him at the rodeo. Tip sat in the truck right across the fence from the bucking chutes. I walked up to the bull, talked to him and petted him. Then I got on. The entire time that I was in that chute, Tippy stood up and through the window watching. As soon as I got off the bull, climbed over the chute gate and jumped to the ground, Tippy let out the most celebratory bark ever! I swear he was saying "you did it, you did it!".
I miss Tippy so much.......so much......tonight, August 26, 2009
Tippy , you and I could sleep together in the extended seat in the back. Remember how Henri slept? On top of me, across me and always was kicking me! And the trip to San Francisco when we made the mistake of taking her? From the front seat, I heard a low grade growl the entire time we were on the road. But she was the reason that you decided at age 2 that you weren't going to be an "old dog" and she pulled you out of your mind and you decided to just go with her flow. And I remember how you would grab Tooter's leash and drag her all over the pasture?
I am thinking about your time as the "therapy " dog when I worked as a therapist at Great Plains. How the patients loved you and they responded to you. The lady that hadn't spoken for 8 months? Then the day you were lying by her feet (you knew who to care for) and she said "Pat, I think Tippy needs to pee"..the entire group broke out in cheers and you just looked at us to say "I knew that she would be okay".......How were you so smart?
May 11, 2013
Dear, dear friend: It is about 20 hours now. 12 years. It could be yesterday or it could be another lifetime ago. I literally cried all day yesterday. I'm 70 now. It doesn't seem possible. It doesn't seem possible that you're 27. I was 43 when I found you. Our higher power certainly had a hand in our meeting. I have always known that we were meant to be. No one else could have laid our plans out. No one. We knew that first day that it was going to be you and me against whatever the world could throw at us. And we were thrown plenty. We always perservered and somehow made it to the other side. I'll meet you on the other side, Tippy, I'll meet you. I love you. P
TIPPY HATED HORSES AND THESE WERE RANCH HORSES IN WYOMING
ANNUAL NAVAJO REUNION AT CROW
PHOTOGRAPH OF BULL WHILE I SAT ON HIM IN CHUTE AT A RODEO AT BELEN, NM.
Yet Another Place to Stop
Mr. Tip, I miss you. I cry a lot for you. Things happen that I want to share with you. I'm going to move back to the ranch and I'll be with you again. I'll plant a garden over you and make the yard beautiful again. I've really missed being with you and it has made me so sad to think that I couldn't have you cremated and had to bury you there. I could have had your ashes with me through the many moves.
I'm so excited about being back at the ranch. We'll hear those barred owls carry on at night again.......Love....
Tippy, it is March 12, 2011. I will be moved back with you by May 15th. We will have a long talk when I get home. xoxoxoxo
Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous? Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines! Din, dan, don. Din, dan, don.
COLLEEN, CONNIE AND I SANG TIPPY'S FAVORITE SONG AS HIS SPIRIT LIFTED EVER SO GENTLY INTO THE CLOUDS OF OUR HEARTS AND THEN HE SOARED ON TO THE BRIDGE WHERE HE REUNITED WITH SMUTTY, J.J. AND HENRIETTA.
HOLD THE PRESSES!!!! Tip, you wouldn't believe how many calls I've had that were about you..this week!
People call up and tell me that "Tippy's cousin won the Westminster Dog Show"........how wonderful is that? We have only seen one Scottish Deerhound in our lives and then one goes and wins the BIG one!!
Your Scottish blood really shows in the photograph that I had up of you recently. I took it while we were having a photography workshop at the ranch and were sitting on the patio. I'm going to send it to Aunt Lorene because she called today to tell me that your cousin won....you sure had lots of kin that loved you deeply. Other than me, I would say that Moma loved you most. You took care of her for about 3 years...I know you are with her now.
ANGEL FOR TIPPY
Tippy loved nothing more than hanging his head out of the car/truck window. It was our "deal" when we went out to run errands or take a 1500 mile trip to camp or go see cowboys and cowgirls.......
2012..Christmas is hard and it is coming up again. Tippy loved his stocking treats and always nosed around under the tree before Christmas day. I love you, Mister Tip. I'll make cornbread tonight and leave a piece for you......P
When I think of Indian rodeos, I always think of Gallup, New Mexico. Tip and I camped out in a KOA campground and when we weren't working, we would sit and watch the other campers. Some of them were pretty amazing and we really enjoyed sharing our time with them. We were camped next to the president of Heiniken (sp) Beer once. They were from Belgium. I talked him into taking his wife and children to the rodeo and they loved it. They stayed for the powwow. Once I invited a french mother and son to go to the Gallup rodeo and they spent the entire time shouting my name and waving to me in the arena. So sweet....Everyone would ask if they could take a picture of Tip..and sometimes me. I feel connected to the world remembering how many friends photographed us and took us 'home' with them.
Dear Tippy: It is December 8th and your sister's 45th birthday. Can you believe she is that old? It makes me feel really old.
A huge bald eagle was here recently and was eating on a carcass it found. It was as big as the ones we saw when we lived in New Mexico. After it finished it's meal, a coyote came and got the rest of it and took it into the woods. You would have loved seeing all of this. I thought of you and how I only had to say "shh" when we saw something wild. I don't remember you ever breaking discipline when we were out..or anywhere else. Precious friend. I love you
TIPPY AT HIS HAPPIEST..BLOWING IN THE WIND
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM LIBRARY HERE IN LOCKHART
ROY BEGODY ON BILLBOARD
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