IN MEMORY: ‘Peep’: Final Days Filled With Family Love; Tiny Pooch Observed Something That Won’t Be Seen Again For Decades


This post commemorates the life and passing of “Peep.”

Peep, believed to be four, was Maddy’s newly adopted brother. He died Monday at the veterinarian’s office after a lengthy illness that left him unable to process nutrients and gain strength. Peep made his home for the past month with my sister, my brother-in-law and my niece.

Maddy is a small dog; Peep was even smaller. He provided a great deal of love in his short time among us, and received a great deal of love in return.

What I’ll remember about Peep was the way he sat — like a thinker. Although it’s hard to describe, he sat in a way that projected sweetness, innocence and thoughtfulness. It became clear after a few days or so that he has glad to have people again. Maddy was good for him because she taught him how to trust again.

She also taught him how to score table scraps. Peep needed this sort of fun — any sort of fun, really.

His hair was severely matted, and he was just a speck. He must have weighed less than 10 pounds. Despite his youth, Peep had the bearing of a much older dog. Perhaps because he felt insecure or perhaps because he simply was too weak, Peep initially found no joy in his toys.

One beautiful, bright spot for Peep occurred when Maddy showed him how to have fun with his rawhide ball. Peep previously had no interest in the ball. After Maddy started trotting with it and batting it like a hockey puck, Peep suddenly found a spark. He batted it around himself — the first time he behaved in a fashion consistent with freedom.

At one time Peep must have been with a family who loved him. He was house-trained and had a good demeanor. He knew, for example, what it meant to see his leash– and he very agreeably readied himself to go outside. He was very bright.

Peep’s Perfect Freedom

Peep may hold a distinction among all people and animals. In his short time with us, he observed something I’d never seen in all my years: a wide-open Little League field. It was the field of my youth; it is close to a significant deer population, and it always has been fenced in. Workers temporarily removed the fences in late winter, leaving the field wide open. The scene was incongruous to all people and animals — except for Peep. He never saw the field fenced-in.

So, to Peep, no incongruity existed. To him, the wide-open field was a natural state. I drove by the field last night. The fences of my youth, which had been repaired and repainted dozens of times over the years, have been replaced by sparking, new fences. The fences are safer for players and spectators. They’re also much higher. There will be no more cheap home runs. Any balls driven over the fence will require a much higher arc, potentially meaning the current home-run record may never be shattered.

In any event, the fences may not come down again for another 50 or more years. Deer will not have the freedom to graze in the outfield again for decades. Unlike Peep, who had open access to the field, the neighborhood dogs will be blocked for decades from exploration and will need to find a new place to dig holes to hide their prized possessions.

I am not sure how Peep ever ended up at the shelter, but he did — and he had a number of dog maladies. It seems highly likely that he somehow became separated from his family and lived as a street stray for a considerable period of time. His medical situation Monday became incompatible with life.

We loved you, Peep, and you are resting in a beautiful place.  You were preceded in death by your dog siblings Gracey, Skippy, Pal and Beef, and the cats Blue and Kitty. You also (presumably) were preceded by the orphaned, unnamed baby raccoon born in the city who followed me home when I was 11, learned to walk on a leash, ate salad and dog food and lived in the old console TV set I hollowed out until the Game Commission made me give him up. They told me he’d grown too big for his TV set and would be happier in the country

You are survived by your people, your dog cousin Allie, and Maddy, your sister.

In loving memory of Peep: 2006 (estimated) – 2010. His late stages of life were mostly about fences — except for that brief, magical time when even the fences at the Little League field came down and provided the neighborhood dogs and deer with a special brand of freedom that will not be seen again until the kids who race to take their positions on the field this spring — as I did long ago — become grandmothers and grandfathers.

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11 Responses to “IN MEMORY: ‘Peep’: Final Days Filled With Family Love; Tiny Pooch Observed Something That Won’t Be Seen Again For Decades”

  1. Patrick, so sorry to hear of Peep’s passing. I can relate, after having to put two of mine to sleep in less than 3 months due to illnesses, melanoma and a severe stroke. They may be gone but they are not forgotten.

  2. So sorry to hear it! A dog that leaves us, leaves forever a dog-shaped hole in our hearts. But as heaven has to be perfect, if not, it would not be heaven, we will see our four-legged friends again one day. No doubt in my heart about it. As I understood it, you and your family gave Peep s new home, family and friends, so he died as a happy dog, and not as an abandoned stray somewhere on the border of a road. I am sure, if Peep could speak he would say “Thank you for letting me die with dignity, loved and amongst friends!” SY

  3. Rest in Peace, Peeps,

    With lots of love from Sultan and Luna
    (and their mom)

  4. RIP Peep.

  5. I am very sorry for your loss. I know how much pets can mean. I will leave you with this to read and I hope it can give you some comfort. I am very sorry.

  6. Condolences Patrick. Don’t let it get you down.

  7. I appreciate all the kind thoughts from readers. Thank you.

    My sister’s family appreciates them, too.

    Peep was there only a month, but he had become a part of the family. I wish you guys could have seen the way he sat.

    Each time he sat created a Kodak moment. It’s a bit hard to explain, but he projected who he was in his manner of sitting — Peep’s innocence and nobility shined through. It created a vivid memory for me.

    Thanks, again, for your thoughtful words.


  8. Hello Patrick and family,

    My condolences on the loss of Peep. I can hear the love and affection you had for Peep in even this short time. May he rest in peace. As was said above, for heaven to be perfect, we will have to be able to see our fur-friends again. Having lost many pets over the course of my nearly 6 decades, and currently finding myself nursing a beloved cat who is dying of cancer, I can relate to your pain at Peep’s loss. Prayers going up for you and all of Peep’s family.

    Roxy Lewis

  9. Sometimes the brightest stars burn for a short time but they brighten our lives immensely. I have lost two stars in the past 6 months. Both of them shone brightly and I am grateful to have known them.

  10. There is a place they say called the Rainbow Bridge where we will all get to meet our four legged friends again on the other side. While nothing but time makes the loss of a pet easier, take peace in knowing that by taking Peep into your home you saved him, and countless others by the one simple act of adoption.

    My thoughts are with you and your little friends.

  11. I’ve shed a tear and said a prayer for Peep, and for Maddy, and for you, Patrick. I hope you’ll soon find the strength to adopt another pup, since you’re obviously such a great dad!