The British, and some Americans, refer to males as chaps. “He’s a fine chap,” they say. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone use “chap” in any other connotation other than describing an upstanding individual. The term chap is derived from chapman, an old English term for an honest tradesman.
When I first joined Doggyspace 7 years ago, on my very first day, I made three unique named friends from California: 12, Chappy and Whiskey. Oh how those names rolled off the tongue. 12, Chappy and Whiskey: Like Tinkers, to Evers, to Chance, or Crosby, Stills and Nash.
What wonderful, wise, kind, true friends they became. In an illogical world we could find sage advice in the comments under their picture. When we were down, they provided furry shoulders to cry on, paws to hold, and smiles. They celebrated with us, played with us, prayed for us, and were our rocks. We believed they would be with us forever.
Their pack expanded. There was first Fuzzy Bacon, whose time was brief, then Blue Last March we lost 12, the leader of the pack, and while Jasper, a fine dog and great friend joined them, we knew we lost a great leader in 12, and missed our original terrific trio.
At the beginning of October a small growth on Chappy’s side grew alarmingly. The little growth had grown into a cancerous monster and Chappy needed emergency surgery. 12 and I put on our angel wings and watched over the surgery. It was difficult. The tumor was very large. But the doctor consulted with 12 and I and we termed the surgery a success.par
A month later my parents, and Pocket and River, got to meet Chappy’s wonderful parents at Pokey’s house. My pack found Chappy’s parents to be wonderful, kind, generous people. I must admit I went into a snit for a week that I had gone to the Bridge before I got to meet them, but I have slipped into their sweet dreams to be able to spend time with them and get to know them better, and if I wrote a pet parent of the year blog it would very likely be about them.
Two months ago another large tumor appeared on Chappy’s side. Again, the surgery was successful, but a short time later two more growths appeared and Chappy asked his parents for no more surgeries. He was going to spend as much time with Mom and Dad as he could, and then when he was ready, he would cross the Bridge to join 12, and his other siblings, Travis, Irie and Fuzzy.
Which brings me back around to the origin of the word chap, because Chappy is the definition of a good chap. He always put others first. He made the decision for his Mom, collecting his best bandannas and telling his Mom it was time to depart. Before he came to the Bridge he contacted me to make sure I was ready, and had me gather his Bridge Pack to meet him.
His sibling were so overjoyed to see him, and being Chappy he greeted everyone graciously. There was lots of running, romping, and tail biting. But I could tell he missed his family, and once everyone had calmed down I took him to the River of Life so he could watch over them. He’s been doing that a lot since he arrived. He wants to know his Mom is going to be all right. We keep telling his she will, but it takes time, and we do have a lot of that here.
Chappy’s Mom’s and Dad’s hearts will heal in time, and he will check on them less, just like 12 did before him. Sort of the way things work in these parts.
But as for now, I lay next to Chappy as he watches his Mom’s reflection in the river, for as long as it takes, because that’s what a fine chap would do.