TIPPY AND SPOT
A Love Story
Welcome to February! This month, I’d like to share a story that’s very special to my heart. It’s about two special dogs and their life-changing lesson.
Thanks to my wonderful parents. I was raised to have a deep respect for all life forms. And because of two special dogs I learned, at the young age of 3 years old, that animals have rich, full emotional lives.
My earliest memory of our family’s dog was of lying on the floor and burying my nose in the thick, black ruff of fur around her neck. Inhaling that musky, doggy scent, I remember thinking it was the best smell in the whole wide world. Since she was black with just a tip of white on her tail and toes, she was named Tippy.
Tippy was the best friend a kid ever had! Wherever my brother and I went, Tippy was right there beside us. That is, until the day a stray dog trotted jauntily down our sidewalk. Strays were a common sight in our community so no one thought too much about this one. That is until the little vagabond saw Tippy. He was clearly smitten and to the entire neighborhood’s surprise, the little fellow decided to stay.
He quickly scoped out the neighborhood dog lady and set up camp on her front porch. Isn’t it amazing how animals instinctively know who will care for them? The dog lady was a magnet for any stray or homeless animal passing through and all who arrived at her door could be assured of a hearty meal for as long as needed.
In short order a bed, food and water dishes appeared…..the little dog was a stray no more. And best of all, his bed on the dog lady’s porch gave him the perfect vantage point to watch our front door so the moment Tippy came outside, he knew it.
Now for a name! Since the dog was white with black patches, we kids imaginatively named him Spot.
The two dogs became inseparable and ceased to be known as Tippy or Spot, instead they became TippyandSpot, one long word because one was never seen without the other.
Spot was a young dog and we never discovered exactly where he came from but one thing was glaringly apparent: Spot had street smarts! Back in those days, the city dog catcher patrolled the streets, picking up stray dogs with single minded dedication. The dog lady and Spot had a special relationship. She watched out for him and made sure he was well cared for. Sometimes, when the dog warden would appear, the dog lady would call to Spot, “Dog catcher!” and the amazing little guy would drop his hind end and begin crawling along the ground. The catcher, not wanting to tangle with an ill dog, always drove past. As soon as the truck was out of sight, Spot jumped up and trotted merrily on his way.
The May—December romance of Spot and Tippy continued for some time but Tippy was an old dog by anyone’s standards. Her black face turned a grizzled white, but Spot didn’t notice or care. His heart was firmly on his sleeve and it belonged to Tippy.
As happens with the Circle of Life, one day Tippy became very ill and could no longer go outside. Spot would come and visit, but his favorite position was standing guard outside the sickroom door. On the day Tippy died, her loyal guardian left his post and returned to his lonely bed on the dog lady’s porch.
Every morning for two weeks, I would run up the sidewalk and carefully climb the steep steps to visit Spot. I remember so clearly sitting quietly with him, stroking his soft fur, gazing into his sad eyes. he never moved, never raised his head, never wagged his tail. Spot was physically there but his essence, that special energy that made him Spot, was gone.
One morning I climbed the steps and there was no food or water bowl, no bed, no Spot. I remember banging on the front door and asking the dog lady where Spot was. Her answer forever changed my life….two simple words, yet powerful enough to write the destiny of my life…..the dog lady said, “Spot died.”
Have you ever had that moment of clarity where the entire Universe seems to coalesce into one crystal clear point? At three years old, I couldn’t verbalize it but I felt it, I KNEW it…..Spot re-joined Tippy in the only way he knew…through death. And in those moments I fully understood the depth and breadth of animal emotions. They love, they grieve, they feel sorrow and joy. The lessons learned from these two dogs are what kept my communication skills active. Despite what anyone ever told me, I knew that animals could communicate quite effectively. I knew that they were not ‘dumb creatures’ incapable of emotions. I knew that the animal kingdom had much to teach all of us. Look at your pets with new eyes, imagine what they are thinking and feeling as they live their daily lives. What would your pet say to you?
Tippy and Spot began their lives as strays but were fortunate enough to find loving families to care for them. Millions of dogs, cats and other animals are not that lucky and find themselves living life in an animal shelter or as a stray.
February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, so please check out the chart at left to see the impact that just one intact dog or cat can have. Wondering how you can help reduce the influx of unwanted pets? Number one is spay/neuter your own pet! Other ideas are to help someone less fortunate to spay/neuter their animal, donate to an animal shelter or rescues spay/neuter fund, or use your social media to raise awareness of Spay/Neuter Awareness Month.
Your voice counts….your actions make a difference….and the animals appreciate it!
Thanks for joining me, see you next month!
- Jeanna Billings
Jeanna Billings is an Animal Communicator serving an international clientele, a Reiki Master and a Certified Crystal Healer. She volunteered for many years with humane societies and animal rescues, serving as a Board Director, Adoption Counselor and Humane Educator. She currently teaches animal communication classes and provides private consultations. She lives in Indiana with her husband, three dachshunds, two cats and a very chatty parakeet. You can find her online at www.ShamansSpirit.net .