Eulogy for Tipper

Queen Tipper Marshawn Kuhlman!

Tipper Marshawn Kuhlman, born Friday, October 13, 2000, passed away peacefully on Friday, June 6, 2014.  She was the eldest dog of the Kuhlman clan and the first pet for the Kuhlman children.  She was procured by way of a newspaper classified that read, “Pure bread beagles – $60.” When her human dad picked her up way out in the farm country around Wilshire, Ohio, he was greeted by a large litter of barking hounds and puppies, all contained within a chicken wire fence and all apparently living in a small chicken-coop-like building.  She was the smallest of the puppies, and probably the dirtiest, as the bathtub was left with a grimy ring after her first bath, the remnants of her country life.  Once clean, the name “Tipper” was given to her because of the white tip at the end of her tail.  Her middle name came later, in honor of a beautiful African-American contestant on Donald Trump’s TV show The Apprentice.

Her acute sense of smell gave her a unique appreciation of both food and other less obviously appealing substances.  In fact, even when her eyesight and hearing began to diminish, her sense of smell still gave her great pleasure.  One of her favorite pastimes was to stand facing into the wind, velvet-floppy ears blowing back from her face, taking in all the smells the wind could bring her.  Even when food no longer brought the enjoyment it once did, she still took pleasure in the smells of outdoor air, innately understanding how choosing joy in any given moment makes life worth living.

Though misunderstood and barely tolerated at first by her human mom, she grew to be a lesson about what unconditional love can do to a hard heart.  Her willingness to love became an opportunity for grace to break open a heart that at first valued new, clean carpet more than a puppy.  Over the years that heart began to soften, and regret for past impatience, resentment, and other harshness began to come forth. Once Tipper was diagnosed with bladder cancer and again was pottying on the carpet (just as she had as a puppy, only more so), her human mother had a chance to “redo” the past; this time, though, her hardened heart had cracked open and compassion, patience, and love filled the places where resentment had once been.  This time, the messes were larger, yet the love was larger still.

To most people, Tipper Marshawn Kuhlman was only a hound dog, but to her human mother, she was a spiritual teacher, a creation of the living Word used by the Father, Son, and Spirit to show how love and forgiveness play out in relationships. Tipper amiably allowed a human to learn compassion by enduring the hard work of grace. May we all be such willing instruments in God’s hands as we learn how to love with compassion in all our relationships.

~by Nan Kuhlman


6 comments so far

  1. cdog5 on

    I am very sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it is to lose a pet, but know that she was blessed to have you as family.

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      Thanks for your words of comfort. Tipper may have been blessed to be with us, but we were blessed by her even more.


  2. Jane Walter on

    Very beautifully written (and obviously heartfelt), Nan. Sending lots of hugs and love.

    • Nan Kuhlman on


      If we were men, you would be “a brother from another mother.” Unfortunately, I can’t think of a rhyme for “sister,” but you are indeed a sister, maybe not by blood but by love. Thanks for your abiding love and for taking time to comment here.


  3. iamjean9 on

    Absolutely beautiful, Nan. This put tears in my eyes.

    • Nan Kuhlman on

      Many thanks for your words of encouragement. I, too, had tears in my eyes when I wrote it.


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