We adopted Chips and Alvin together from Lollipop Farm, the Humane Society outside of Rochester, New York. We had only been married a few months and my husband wanted a cat and I wanted a dog... so it seemed reasonable to adopt one of each.
My husband worked shift work and weekends. When he left for work one Saturday morning in late summer 1975, he said that when he got home from work that afternoon, we would go to Lollipop Farm "to look". Well, you and I both know that nobody goes to the animal shelter "to look". So, while my husband was at work I went shopping for all the puppy and kitten supplies we would need.
Well, off we went that afternoon to Lollipop Farm. My husband was not a "dog person" at the time and wanted a dog not too big and not too threatening. So it turns out we adopted the tiniest puppy we could find. Chips was only 7 weeks old, one of a litter of several pups all looking alike. Alvin was tiny too, at only 9 weeks old.
At the shelter, they told us that Chips as a mix of Beagle and Springer Spaniel. I was never sure that was very accurate, but as good a guess as any.
About the time we adopted her, the TV show "Chips" was very popular. However, the real reason we named her "Chips" was for the small brown markings, one above each eye, that resemble chocolate chips.
Chips and Alvin were instant buddies. They were so little, that they shared a small blanket lined dishpan. Taking care of such a young dog is similar in many ways to caring for a baby. We had many sleepless nights with Chips crying all night long. We tried all the "usual" suggestions such as dog toys, blankets, ticking clocks, hot water bottles, music, etc. Nothing stopped her heart-wrenching puppy cries except being held and cuddled. After many sleepless nights, we resigned ourselves to let her cry and not go to her. That was tough! It took a few more nights, but as any youngster, she learned to sleep through the night.
Of course there was all the paper training too. Yes, training a young pup is an adventure. At least with my husband and I working different shifts, we had lots of time where one of us was home.
For such a tiny pup, stairs posed a major hurdle. We have home movies of Chips trying to go down the stairs. She would manage one, then sit and cry at the seemingly too-steep step. Then she would brave another step, and cry some more. Well, it seemed that in a blink of an eye, the tiny pup who could hardly make the stairs grew into a gorgeous, 45 pound, long legged, beauty who could fly like the wind across the back yard.
Chips was beautiful in body and spirit. She was a gentle, loving dog. We had not started a family yet, but the small neighborhood children would knock on our door and ask "Can Chips come out to play?"
Her favorite toy? This has to be the rubber squeak pork chop called "choppy". We went through quite a few choppies over the years. Still cool even after they lost the squeak and the end was chewed off! I think we still have one around, just can't part with it!
We have many fond memories of Chips. The Rochester winters were severe with snow often coming in feet not inches. Chips loved to romp in the snow but there were times that my husband had to shovel a path for her into the yard. Chips was a tall dog, so you know there was a ton of snow!
Chips and Alvin moved to Pittsburgh with us in the late 70's. No more lake effect snow storms, but plenty of yard to run in, and a warm fire place in the family room to curl up in front of! Oh yes, the fireplace at Christmas held all the stockings. One special stocking has the name "Chips" sewn on in red felt. That stocking has held its share of chewy sticks ("lewey licks"), bonies and toys!
We were privledged to have Chips for fifteen years. As with all our "guys", she had several nick names such as "Doodle Bear", "Chips Monster", and "Dooda-Bear".
Chips passed away between Christmas and New Years Eve in late December 1989. She had not been sick, so it came as a real shock to us. She was diagnosed with a fast growing, malignant tumor that blocked off her bladder. There was nothing we could do for her.
She is burried under a young white birch tree that grows more beautiful each passing year. Thankfully, we had several wall portraits made while she was with us, so that her pictures and memory still grace our home. She will always be with us and will always be loved. She is one tough act to follow!
Always in Our Hearts