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Wednesday, November 19, 2008
By Mia M. Malafronte
I was searching through my old photos yesterday, looking for some pictures I had taken of my daughter, Nina, a few years ago, when I pulled out a roll of film I hadn't seen in quite some time.
It contained pictures of my son, Luigi, when he was just 2.
As I looked over the images, smiling at how cute he was as a baby, I came across a photo I hadn't remembered taking. It was Luigi with our old family dog, Ripp.
I felt the lump in my throat as I let the memory of a pet I hadn't seen in almost five years carry me away.
It's amazing how much a person's life can change in just five years.
And this one photo was breaking my heart as I thought about the puppy I brought home for my new husband back in 1996.
We called Ripp the $5.00 dog.
I adopted him from the Shelton pound while out on assignment one day. He was only 3 months old and just the cutest thing I had ever seen.
They charged me a $5.00 adoption fee. Ripp was about the best dog you could ask for. He was happy, loyal, protective, didn't bark too much, and LOVED children.
As years passed, Ripp saw the good, the bad and the ugly in our marriage. He heard the fighting, he licked the tears from my eyes, and sat beside me during some very dark hours. When my husband and I decided to split, he took Ripp with him.
I was sad, but I knew how much that dog meant to him. After all, he was his, a gift from me. I knew he would take good care of him.
Then, one April day in 2004, while out with friends at a Yankee game, I got a call from my ex-husband. I let it go to voice mail, thinking I wasn't going to let him ruin my fun with the usual banter I was accustomed to hearing.
I decided to listen to the voice mail as we were leaving the game.
I was not prepared for the message I was about to hear. My ex was barely audible, and his voice cracked as he told me there had been a terrible accident.
While checking on his family's summer beach house with the kids and the dog, Ripp drank anti freeze from the winterized toilet bowl. No one saw him. No one stopped him. They didn't realize what had happened until a few hours later. It was fast and ugly. He had to be put down the next morning.
He was only 8 and I never had the chance to say goodbye.This picture brings a bit of sadness as I remember a happier place and what seemed like carefree times. but the joy that Ripp brought to those who loved him, makes me thankful we were even able to know him.
Mia M. Malafronte, who is a professional photographer, can be reached at: http://www.miamalafronte.com/
Posted by Helen Bennett Harvey at 10:43 AM