PIPER'S PET PEEVES
by Piper Semas
Piper's column is being retired in her memory.
This farewell and final chapter in her life will be retained in the Archives.
MY SINCERE THANKS AND APPRECIATION TO:
Gary Ailes for his care of Piper for many years,
Lesli Hewitt-Spears, for her kindness and caring in Piper's final hours,
Animal Emergency Center for handling Pipers last moments with kindness, care, dignity and compassion,
To so many friends and family whose expressions of warmth and love continue to ease the pain I feel over the loss of my little girl... Thank you all from the bottom of my broken heart.
Please support these wonderful people for your pet needs:
Gary Ailes, DVM,
Sierra Veterinary Hospital
Lesli Hewitt-Spears, DVM
Quail Ridge Animal Hospital
775. 267. 4888
Animal Emergency Center,
6427 South Virginia Street,
Open weeknights 6:00p.m. to 8:00a.m. and Saturday noon until Monday 8:00am, also 24 hours on major holidays).
The Story of Piper ~ In Memorium
September 28, 2002 - September 16, 2015
My heart is broken.
Early this morning, I said a final goodbye to my littlest friend and dearest companion, Piper. She brought me joy, laughter, a million moments of pleasure and unconditional love and affection. For thirteen years, she was Papa’s little girl. And Papa will never feel quite the same now that she is gone. It’s hard to see through the tears, and it would be easy to begin the sobbing again over her loss, but sharing her story is the best remedy for the pain the fills me.
I’ll never forget our unlikely meeting. My wife at the time, Doreen, had a large Alaskan Husky, Petrie, and we together had a wonderful and loving Black Lab, Sadie. But she had wanted a little lap dog for some time. We were pulling out of the Costco parking lot when she screamed, “Wait!” I stopped, and next to us was an SUV with the rear door open and a number of young puppies. “Can we look,” Doreen implored. So I parked alongside and we visited this little family of 7-week old Pomeranians
There were 5-6 of them – the owner from Fallon was delivering one to her customer. They were roly-poly, and jostling for attention. Then I noticed the littlest one, sitting sleepily in back. I picked it up. She was sable colored, about one pound, and just fit the palm of my hand. Then she looked up with little black, misty eyes the size of peas. Thus began a love affair that would last the next 13-years, and continue in my memory as long as I breathe.
We brought her home, and she clumsily navigated the front lawn, which came halfway up her little body. She attempted to climb the step to the front door, but couldn’t quite make that either - Pop to the rescue with a little boost. Now Piper was supposed to be Doreen’s lap dog, but wherever I went, Piper was close behind or next to me. She was a cuddler from her first day… with Papa. She followed me around when she was awake, and curled up in my shirt when she grew tired. When Doreen and I decided to part and go back to being friends, we agreed that Piper had to go with me, and Sadie, who had nurtured her from her first days, along with her.
Piper grew and her beautiful coat was almost regal (after all, she came from royal bloodlines), a thick honey-rust, with a cream stripe just behind her neck. Her personality developed and she would exhibit a variety of looks from heart-melting sweetness to foxlike playfulness to happy-go-lucky. When out for walks, if I went one way and she wanted to go another, she showed downright defiance and stood her ground until I gave in – which I always did.
She gave me a couple of scares along the way. Once, while living in Gardnerville she got loose and headed toward the sagebrush and cattle ranch behind me. Only the fence stopped her, and allowed me to scoop her up before she became dinner for a waiting coyote, owl or eagle. She got a lecture – and a treat… for being safely back inside. Another time, on a wet, winter day with the ground covered in snow, I had taken her out to relieve herself. I patiently waited in my slippers and robe and all of a sudden, she turned and her collar slipped off. With a grin on her little face, and newfound freedom she took off. I ran after her, slippers a-slipping and robe a-flapping, dodging traffic, across Division St. and down another block before I cornered her on a neighborhood porch! She got another stern talking to… and a thankful treat.
The days turned into weeks, the weeks into seasons, and the seasons into years. She was always at my side, cradled up against me, and sleeping on top of my bed, with Sadie on the floor beside us. About 5 years ago, Piper and I lost our dear friend, and the family was reduced to her and me. I wasn’t sure if she realized that Sadie was gone until it dawned on me. All of a sudden, Piper started sleeping on the floor, under the bed. She never slept on top again. She took over Sadie’s role. She knew.
This column, which for many years, has been devoted to Piper’s musings (as I interpreted them) is the last. Piper weighed in on politics and matters of state and the like, and was always popular among my readers. But now that she is gone, this column will be retired in her honor, and bit of love and remembrance will replace it in my veterinary column.
Piper never quite made it to dog status, at 6.5 pounds and about 9” tall, she was destined to be a puppy all her life. As I cradled her tiny, lifeless body next to me this morning, the pain of losing my little puppy gave way to copious tears… but gradually, a smile. Her body might have been small, but her heart was huge – and her heart will stay with me always. She is wrapped in one of my shirts, so she will always have her Papa's arms loving and protecting her. I expect that when my time comes, there will be a little soul, a furry ball of fun, smiling and waiting for me. Papa will be home.
Thank you, Piper for your life of love, laughter and caring. I will miss you always.
Sleep, little puppy, sleep... you will be in Papa's heart forever.