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I was working on a mural in the Salvation Army. I had to arrive early in the morning, hours before they opened but just as the employee's day started. That morning, though had a very sad & special donation waiting out front.

She wasn't a puppy anymore, but she was young. And terrified. When I approached her she jumped into my arms, urinating on herself, licking me crazily.

“Yeah, I know the guy who left her,” The store manager told me as the dog tried desperately to crawl inside my body. “He's moving after this terrible divorce. They had two little blonde daughters, as cute as can be. But I guess he didn't choose them for the dog.”

He'd left her with her papers, food, a big dog igloo and stuffed toys. Her collar said her name was Gypsy, which I later changed to Jip-C, after she showed incredible talent for catching frisbees high in the air and loving music so much she did a doggie butt wag dance. She deserved a fresh take on her name, as she was the coolest person I'd ever met.

That was over 14 years ago. Jip-C and I traveled the country together. She didn't need a leash, she understood whatever you said to her. For many years she'd cry out if she saw little tow-headed children. I knew she missed her little girls. When I settled down and had my daughters she was the best big sister a dog can be. When a spinal cord injury stole much of my life from me, Jip-C was there to open doors and help me get around. I'd not had a dog before Jip-C and when she died in 2014 I was destroyed. Even now, two years later, I wake every day knowing there is a giant hole in our lives, a loss that cannot be described, only endured.

Alexandria Heather
Montpelier, VT

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