And they call it puppy love…










As easy as eager, to please


Unconditionally loving

…and the list goes on and on and on

Our dogs; our friends; our playmates; our soulmates; our living examples of all God got right.

There have been dogs in my life as far back as I can remember. Dogs like Amos Manley Calhoon, (Manley for short) our 3 1/2 foot long, 1 1/2 foot high Basset Hound who had to have his ears pinned with a clothe’s pin lest he eat them with dinner or drown in his water bowl.  And during times of winter snow, we’d only know where he was by the sound of his bowel-deep rooolf, rooolf.  Or as the tip of his tail rose above the snow as he ran (waddled).

Then there was Bileau’s Cadeau Migneaux, (Min for short) our Miniature Poodle, who I’d swear could not have been more in love with another four-legged creature than she was with a two-legged one; my father, whom she’d marked as her own when just a puppy, by peeing on his chest while he lay on the couch watching TV.  And as witnessed by anyone within view, when he’d pick her up at the end of the day so she could lay her head on his shoulder, roll her eyes lovingly up at him, and slowly and deliberately, slide her tongue up his cheek in long, slow kisses.  These are two of many, but two especially loved for what they brought into our family and into our lives.

But this is for Ripken…our Black Labrador mix, who has been with us since his eighth week of life, more than 10 years ago, and who will see the end of his days on earth Wednesday.  It’s never easy to witness the suffering of those we love, nor is it made easier by the fact that they have four legs instead of two. And the decision to end the suffering is always tempered with the notion that perhaps it is our own suffering we are hoping to ease by intervening and changing their natural path to the end.  It isn’t, after all, for us to say “Now is your time”…yet we do.  For them…and…for us.

So, to Ripken, I say thank you.  For the years of unconditional love, the multitude of spontaneous moments of joy and laughter, and for feet that were warmed by you as you lay upon them in winter.

But mostly, for the lessons in loyalty, tolerance, and forgiveness, as only one with no guile could teach.  For giving so freely, without question or condition, so much more than you ever asked for.

You are and always will be, greatly loved.

Goodbye dearest friend.

Rest In Peace


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Hi everyone! Welcome to 50 Shades of Gray Hair. 50 Shades is my blog of life over the hill, where each day is full of delicious opportunities to earn another gray hair. I stopped declaring war on the gray when I began this blog years ago. Instead, I embrace and celebrate them along with whatever life decides to throw my way, with (sarcasm forward) humor and an optimistic eye to the future. I think. I hope? I don't know. At any's real, it's honest, it's full of 4 letter words, and it's me...on a platter. I sincerely welcome you all to my porch....♥♥Rhonda

24 thoughts on “And they call it puppy love…”

    1. Gorgeous in all ways. Won’t be the same without him, but I know he’ll never truly be gone. He’s leaving a lot of himself behind…bless the beast. xo


  1. I am beyond heartbroken for you – Ripken is a loving and beloved family member. A beautiful boy with a beautiful heart. Rest peacefully Ripken, and live forever in Rhonda’s heart..xox


    1. I’ve been thinking of the years he’s shared with us, and the incredible impact he’s had. What jumps out to me most is just how important his presence was when Matt was a teen…when the teen tantrums reared, Rippy would get in the middle of us and bark once, sometimes twice…to great (and funny) effect. Amazing dog, incredible friend…and yes, he’ll be forever part of us..xo


  2. Awww hun I know soon I shall have to make a similar decision (I secretly pray he will pass quietly in his sleep) they are as much a part of our family as any other member and their loss leaves an empty space but we can give them a kindness we cannot give to the human members we can take the pain away and allow them to go with love, peace and dignity, love to you xxx


    1. Thanks Paula. It’s the hardest thing to do because he offers nothing but love and trusts us to do the same…this is a hard way to show him we love him. His life will be celebrated here and remembered always…xo


  3. Oh Rhonda, my heart is so sad for you. A month ago, we held our first baby, our 17 year old cat as she passed for the same reason. It wasn’t easy and I’m still heartbroken ~ she was a priceless piece of my life to whom I will always be grateful as she never left my side throughout every surgery, chemo etc. She healed me with her rumbling purr, comforted me in the middle of the night and gave of herself always. I love both dogs and cats, but I think cats get a bad rap as too independent. For us, I think our Chessie was just right. You are in my prayers. Big hugs. xo ♥


    1. Bless you Yvonne…and I’m a cat lover as well. Our last cat was 15 when he passed, a complete character of majestic proportions and attitude. While his legacy was not what Ripken leaves behind, no less memorable and never forgotten. I’m glad you had Chessie’s love to help you through. They are amazing creatures. Thanks for the hugs, think I’ll share them with Rip…he’s very huggable…xo


      1. Oh hug him now my friend. Make sure the vet gives you his paw prints (although I know they are indelibly printed on your heart). Perhaps a video as well to remind you of his smiling face? I just know what I did before we took Chessie and it means the world to me now. xo


        1. Good idea on the video. We are going for ice cream tomorrow…I’ll capture it as I know that tail will be going a mile a minute. Thanks for the idea..xo


  4. I am so sorry, Rhonda. My heart hurts for you. Our babies are family members. I only hope that when the day comes that I am in an unhealthy, unfixable, painful way….someone will love me enough to do the same. Love you, my Rhonda ♥


    1. Some feel this should be left to nature and it’s natural course, and I’m not saying that’s in any way wrong…but we each do what we feel is best for them and each other. We couldn’t love this guy more…peace is all we can give him for all he’s given us..thanks Paula…Love you too.


  5. No words … just a big lump in my throat for you; and some tears…feeling the tide of grief this surely unlocks and lets pour down all around you. Wish I was closer so I could be there for you in the days after. A beautiful creature… xoxo


  6. Ah and now I feel weepy… So sorry to hear about poor Ripken, but it sounds like he had a great life with you guys, and he does after all have one of the best names ever.


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