a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Goodbye Mr. Chip

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Goodbye Mr. Chip

SUMMARY: My sweet boy is gone.
Note: Also posted on Facebok, more photos currently.
ALSO NOTE: The original link for this was mucked up, so I reposted. If you bookmarked this before & it appears to be gone--that's why. But here it is, still same date and time.

I can't believe, can't bear it--third dog to die of cancer between 9 and 10. I am grieving for them all now and railing against the Universe.

Goodbye Mr. Chip

Chip (Finchester’s Butterscotch Morsel)
May 25, 2011-June 17, 2020

Monday morning, when Chip went to the vet, I suspected pancreatitis. Twenty-six hours later—Tuesday—I learned that cancer and fluid filled him. He is dying. Twenty-one hours later—Wednesday —the vet arrived and, just like that, my long-legged, skinny, perky, happy, bright-eyed boy is gone.

The one who loves people. The one who sometimes worries about something new until he has carefully figured it out. The one who is terrified of fireworks and thunder. The one who, no matter how many times I say “Stretch!”, doesn’t—until we’ve done other tricks and I’ve put the treats away. The one who takes everything cautiously, except exchanging expletives through the fence with the dog next door, except playing in a spraying hose, except for his Indy car tunnel performances. The one so soft, so smooth, who loved hands on him.

Wet dog! Happy spotted tongue!
The big dog with the small, black-spotted tongue who loved tiny toys. Who loved sleeping in his crate.

He interviewed for, then joined, Taj MuttHall in May, 2014 as a rehome from a family who loved him. He was going to be my next agility dog. After the first several classes, though, it became clear that it stressed his slow, studied way of figuring things out (he’d run and hide in a tunnel) and so he became simply a proud and excellent companion dog.

Things he loved the most:

- Going wild with the hose spray (watering flower pots became a challenge). When the spigot came on, he’d fly in from wherever he had been.

- Being touched: Lying quietly on his side being stroked and massaged, or standing for gentle brushing, or pushing his head between my knees to be wiped down after another hose spray experience. For as long as I wanted. And if it weren’t as long as *he* wanted, he’d wriggle and verbally demand more until I started again.

- Blasting through the yard’s agility tunnels full speed, back and forth and around, and then hitting a high-tension play bow just inside the end of one, eyes sparkling, waiting for me to say readyyyyy GO! and then blast to the other end of the same tunnel and wait again. And then explode out to the next tunnel. If I were inside, he’d do tunnels all on his own, the b-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-um sound of a dog breaking the tunnel speed barrier echoing into the house.

- Digging.

- Marking. Everything and often.

- Rubbing his head and back on my wet hair fresh out of the shower.

My sweet volunteer assistance dog—he’d come and get me if I accidentally closed Zorro in the garage, or if Zorro found an open gate and went outside to explore, or if my alarm went off (any alarm, any time of day), or if anything occurred inside or outside that he wasn’t sure what it was or felt that it was out of place in his carefully ordered world.

He is deeply intelligent, in a quiet genius way: He’d consider each piece of each thing I wanted to teach him, maybe for a while, and try a couple of things cautiously, and then more confidently, and then he’d have it. No wildly offering random behaviors for him.

In that way, he replayed my beloved thoughtful-learning Remington (1993-2003), whom he resembled , which is how he ended up coming home with me. Like Remington, he wanted to smell my breath once daily (only 2 dogs to do that). Like Remington, he loved to run, but agility wasn’t high on his priority list. Like Remington, he has cancer in his 9th year.

My heart is sundered.

And yet I am replete with gratitude for those who brought him into my life so that every day I could laugh and smile repeatedly with him and could receive as much snuggling as I wanted. What more could I really ask?

March 20, 2014 - New dog!
That look...!

August 14, 2004 - First time through dog door on his own
(Full set of photos: Dog Door Success!)

June 17, 2020 - Le Chien Soleil 
Really, Human Mom? More photos?

Daily - Full-speed flying through tunnels


NOTE: the same text with a bunch more photos should be viewable on Facebook at the moment: https://www.facebook.com/ellen.finch/posts/10221178115937779

ALSO, just copied them (and maybe more) to my Smugmug photo site under Chip Photos for His Obituary.

I'm posting this now, butI have many more photos to add. Trying to cull from 6,000 with so little notice--


  1. These are wonderful photos of him. Perfectly sharing his personality. I always thought he was a shy, frightened boy, but I see that wasn't the case at all. I wish I had been able to meet him. But I love looking at pictures of him, seeing him play, and oh my, those eyes. I wish you had been able to be together for so many more years. This all seems very unfair.

    1. I know, not even 6 years together. I'm so angry and so heartsick.
      He wasn't shy with people or dogs, generally loved to meet them all. Loud noises were mostly what frightened him, but mostly fireworks & thunder (the little that we ever get here). He loved going on walks. Sometimes maybe I focused more on the things where he was frightened, because they have all be so unusual to me.
      We've been getting fireworks every night since early June sometime. Makes me nuts. So illegal. No one can figure out how to stop them, apparently. Now that Chip is gone, it has been calm and peaceful in my bedroom while that's going on--Zorro pretty much ignores them. Like the other 6 of my dogs have.
      Those eyes, yes yes yes, it's always the face that gets me excited about a new dog. Plus of course he resembled my Remington and my Amber, so that added a lot of points to his scorecard.