A Friend Passes
For those of you who never met Chip, he was an exceptional personality who experienced amazing travels and witnessed historical events. We saw Chip and his brothers and sisters shortly after his birth by a breeder in Southport, Connecticut in the summer 1997. At 5 weeks-old we went back to make our pick. Each of the puppies had a string around their necks with a single colored bead, a different color for each dog. They were placed in the middle of an open field with us and we played with them until one puppy clearly sought a connection with us.
Although many thought I was crazy, I left a lucrative day job as a designer (and part-time illustrator) because I couldn't stand to leave him alone during the day. He's a big part of what led to my decision to go full-time freelance from home. He used to sit behind me in my studio chair, standing on his hind legs with his paws on my shoulders, begging me to throw a stick or take him fishing in the Saugatauk and Housatonic rivers.
He was with us on 9/11 at our studio/loft in NYC, only 2 blocks from the towers. Chip was on the roof of the building with me when the second plane hit. He evacuated with Alina and me and about 5 other people off the South Street seaport in the back of a small police boat. The boat captain backed-out of the dock so fast that the entire birth of the boat was flooded with about 2 feet of water. Chip was so happy to splash and jump around in the water, creating a moment of sunshine for the folks on the boat.
The kids are quite upset, especially Andy. We're all sharing stories about the fun we had with him and that seems to be keeping the perspective where I think Chip would like it. Andy said that Chip was still alive inside his memory. Julian wanted to know if we could use fur that Chip had shed to make a blanket or something soft, which immediately brought mind the many times he would curl up next to Chip on the floor and rub one of his ears while sucking his thumb.
There is a bit relief today. I realize now how consumed I've been, knowing that I might have to intervene. That weight is much lighter. He taught us so much. He taught the boys that some creatures love effortlessly and unconditionally, that they love us as the people we hope to one day be.
This puppy picture was taken the day we brought him home at 9 weeks. I carried him from the car and set him down on the wet lawn. He didn't move, he just looked up at me with his timeless "what's next?" look. What's next now is that when I come up for the American Illustration party on the 13th I'm bring Chip's ashes to CT where Alina and the boys will meet me to return him to his favorite rivers and streams.
He will be missed by many.