Remembering Pippin Skelton

Some Dogs Leave A Lasting Impression

I’ve met my share of great dogs during my life, most being more memorable, better mannered and friendlier than most people. None are bad, some are just better than others, leaving a lasting impression. They stick out more than most, with Pippin Skelton at the top of the good list. Sadly, he’s gone now, but not forgotten, as they say. Been so for years now.


After his previous owner died, Pippin was adopted by mi amigo Bart Skelton. He took the orphaned dog under his wing and the relationship bloomed into a one-man dog show of courage, adventure and high jinks.

Pippin is deserving of a statue, one his fellow amigos and admirers could raise a leg to, in that special one-legged salute we are all familiar with. Perhaps a bawdy ballad should be written to honor this precious pup? I reckon this story about the high desert doggie will have to suffice.

Pippin sleeping on the bearskin rug he thinks he conquered.

Home Sweet Home

Every ranch needs a good dog, and the Skelton Ranch is no exception. Pippin ruled the roost there during his reign. Being a white fox terrier with a black saddle and face, his snout could pick a lock. He was sweet in disposition but brave and ferocious at heart. His only drawback? His breath could knock a flock of buzzards off a shit wagon.

Like our 44th President, Pippin had an unknown past. No one knows where he originally came from, as his records have been sealed. With adoption taking place over 20 years ago, he was at least 16-17 years old, which made him damn near 112-119 in dog time. No one knows for certain, not the Social Security Administration or even the NSA.

He’s tangled with coyotes, porcupines, javelina, as well as a rattlesnake or two. Win, lose, or draw, he was no stranger to the emergency room, racking up a string of vet bills costing Bart the price of at least a couple of first-generation Colt SAA’s over the years. His favored resting place was atop the brown bear skin rug his master killed, where could fantasize he killed the bear when sleeping on it. His confident, smug smile gave him away.

Deep Sleep

One night, while I was holing up at the ranch, Pippin woke me from a deep sleep by jumping on the bed with his front paws, breathing dragon breath fumes in my face. I waken, thinking I’m having a horrid nightmare about steamed broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

No, the stench was real. Not wanting to risk injury from an attack and racking up my own string of vet bills, I gingerly lifted the stiff-hipped canine into bed. He lay against me the rest of the night, back-to-back, providing traction for both our arthritic backs.

Status Quo

Whenever visiting, I was always wary about asking how Pippin was doing. Instead, I usually waited until the black and white unit rolled around the corner, investigating the new guest (intruder) crossing the threshold of his adobe. Last time I visited, I told Pip I’d bring him a New York strip for supper. With the memory of a loan officer, he checked me on this visit, his ol’ factory lobe telling him I kept my promise! Cooked rare, Pippin devoured his meal

Family Affair

Pip had a brother named Stevie Zissou, a black and white Boston Terrier who resembled Batdog when his ears perk up at attention. The young pup would constantly “wrassle” and tussle with Pippin, and he seemed to enjoy it, as his tolerance suggested.

The spirit of the younger pup appeared to be contagious, as Pippin had a renewed spring in his step and a new outlook on life. As the master, he passed on his wily traits and skills onto the younger brother, as this is not a one-way relationship.

They say a dog makes a house a home. When you have a pack like the clan I met, led by the Pippin, I’d say it is pretty darn close to nirvana. I hope Pippin gets at least one more New York strip dinner from me — somewhere, whenever we meet. He’s mighty deserving of it.


If cats have nine lives, Pippin had three times that with his cantankerous tangles involving coyotes, porcupines, snakes and javelina. Pippin had the last laugh, for what his tormentors could never accomplish. His old body finally gave out on its own, from a stroke. Although sad, I know his spirit roams with the high desert winds, keeping vermin at bay while keeping guard of his master. So long, Pip, you won’t be forgotten.

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