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This is a little story about a dalmatian named Dipper.
Dipper is a sweet pup, who loves to see the world decorated in colour. Everything bright and beautiful brings her joy, and she can't help but stop to smell every little pretty flower on the way, or stop to admire a painting in a shop window.
Dipper doesn't belong to anyone, not entirely. She is a street pup, trotting among the city streets with a little pink collar dangling from her neck. Her collar has a story though! A very important story.
See, this little collar came from a very special old man. An old painter, actually, who took up residence in a tiny studio out of the way of the busy down-town streets. Dipper found him one day, hunched on his doorstep, looking down at his feet with a forlorn expression. She wasn't sure why this old man was so sad, but in her canine heart she knew she had to make him happy. The day her and the old man met was a moment that changed both of their lives forever.
The old man brought Dipper unspeakable joy. Every day she would trot off to meet him at his house excitedly, bringing a new gift every time. The more she visited the more she saw the old man smile, and his smile was the warmest...most endearing thing in her life so far. His blue eyes would twinkle, and all the age seemed to melt from his face and leave a beautiful youth gleaming through. Dipper made it her mission to see that smile as often as she could.
Soon the old man almost never frowned. He even would let Dipper in and out of his studio, where she would always take to sleeping by his bedside, awoken with happy pats of greeting on her head. But he never kept her cooped up, he knew she loved her freedom.
The pound was still a big issue for stray dogs without a collar, and the old man knew this. So he invested in a little pink collar, a golden pendant on the end with the name "Dipper" inscribed on the front. On the back, just his first name: "If found, please return to Robin at Studio A113." Since then, Dipper didn't need to cower or hide any time the grizzly truck drove by, she had more confidence in herself and her ability to move about freely.
Life was great...it was beautiful. The bond between her and the old man was greater than ever.
However, one day, as she stayed in comfortably inside during a rainy storm, the answering machine went off with a voice message. The old man all of a sudden looked grim, and looked towards the machine. He didn't pick up...instead he let the message play.
"Mr. Williams, this is your Primary Care Physician, we regret to inform you that..." The message that came after Dipper didn't really understand. Her ears pricked, and her eyes darted from the machine to the old man rather quickly. His face grew more and more grave, and he hung his head with a resigned sigh. He didn't seem shocked, but his shoulders did seem to sulk in defeat. She stood up from her special little bed he had gotten for her and padded over, gently nosing his leg with a whine. Despite his sudden sadness, the old man looked down at her with the same smile. It warmed her a little, but she still knew something was wrong again.
Months passed.......and before long the old man who spent most of his time painting for others couldn't paint any more. Now, he could hardly get out of bed...and the same gentleman visited quite often with strange, foul smelling liquids and a worried, grim face. Dipper didn't like at all what was going on, the old man only seemed to get worse.
Yet despite the grim situation, the old man always tried to perk up for the doctor, sitting up as best he could and smile his pained smile. But the doctor knew, they both knew. But Dipper...Dipper didn't.
Soon, however, Dipper did.
It was another morning, a lovely morning. Spring had come, the birds sang outside, it seemed like a wonderful day! Yet for some reason, Dipper slept in at the old man's side of the bed. She awoke with a stretch and a yawn, then a confused whine. Where was the pat in the morning? It seemed rather late.
Her little paws propped themselves up on the bed and she peered over at the old man. He looked peaceful, but....there wasn't something right. She nosed his hand. No response.
She licked his cheek.
She whined, whimpered, jumped onto his bed. No response.
Dipper lay by his side until the Doctor arrived, who dropped his stuff and darted over. She scuttled backwards and watched, surely the Doctor would wake him up?
He didn't wake up.
The old man never did.
Men came to take him away, a few passed a glance at Dipper, one or two even leaving her treats and patting her on the head. But she wouldn't eat. Things had sunk in. The old man was gone....and it left her hollow.
Dipper stayed at the old man's residence, coming and going through the little doggy door he had built for her in the back. Nobody ever visited his place. Nobody ever came....not ever since they took him away.
But his paints were still there. All his paints. She cocked her head, like most dogs in thought do, and tipped one over.
The colours were beautiful! These could not go to waste! But the old man wasn't here...hmm!! No matter! She would finish what he started. The town still needed more painting. She couldn't colour on the strange squares he had, but she could still use her paws.
Since then, Dipper made it her mission. She would continue to paint the town and bring it colour, like the old man! She'd brighten things up, make the town smile again like they did with every painting he did! Every bright, beautiful painting.
Yes, this was a good plan. Dipper was sure of it, and she'd continue to run her rainbow dipped paws all throughout the town. Colour, for everyone! And for him.
Especially for him.