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Who's On Air | Brett Ritchey
Brett Ritchey



Ted Gocke
Ted Gocke

Yesterday afternoon I received several phone calls and text messages from my wife Amy and our son Chipper.  I was in a meeting and couldn't answer my phone for about 30 minutes.

When I was able to use my phone I learned that one of our family pets had passed away.

"Brownie" was a stray dog that "found us" about 6-7 years ago.  He wandered into our yard in a neighborhood we lived in.  He was a real beautiful brownish-red dog with a lot of life.  He and Chipper hit it off right away.  Brownie loved chasing balls and running back and forth.

 Brownie was already an adult dog when he "adopted" us, so he was around 12-13 years old.

Tuesday night Chipper went out to feed the dogs, (we had two outside dogs), and he came back in and said, "Dad, I think something is wrong with Brownie.  He won't come out of the doghouse."

I went back out with Chipper and took the top off of his plastic doghouse.  Brownie raised up his graying head and just looked at me.  We pet and rubbed him and he licked our hands, and put his head back down.  I told Chipper to get him some food and water and put it in his house where he could get it.  I told my son that Brownie was not feeling well.  I knew that Brownie's days were probably numbered.

Chipper came home from school yesterday afternoon and went outside to check on him.  Sure enough-Brownie had passed away.

I got home and talked with Amy and Chipper about what to do with his body.  I was hoping that Chipper would be fine with wrapping up his body and disposing of him in the garbage/county landfill.  Chipper said he would rather have him buried in the back yard.

So, begrudgingly, I grabbed a couple of shovels and we went into the back yard to dig a good size grave for this beloved family pet.  Did I mention I live in Georgia?  The ground wasn't nice, soft, and moist soil.  It was good old Georgia Clay and rock. And I wasn't "digging it."

Several times I tried to talk Chipper out of burying him in the backyard and just disposing him in the garbage, and then Chipper said, "Dad, I am so glad we are burying Brownie in the backyard so I can come out and spend time with him.  He will also be able to be in the backyard he played in."  As a lump rose in my throat, God woke me up and made me realize that I was not burying a dog-I was bonding with my son.

The rest of the "funeral service" was a lot different.  We talked about what a good dog Brownie was, how much fun Chipper and the rest of the family had with him.  When we finished putting Brownie "to rest," Chipper had a sense of relief.  We had a great time together.  We made a memory yesterday that Chippper and I will remember forever.

God fogive me for all the times I tried to take the easy road and sacrificed moments I could of spent with my wife and kids learning more and more about them and how God desires for us to grow closer to each other and to Him.

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Hi Ted----I listen to you on the radio often. J103 is my #1 radio station. I just want to thank you for your sincere honestly in this blog. Sometimes we as parent do look for the easy road because our schedules are so tight. I thank God for daddies and husbands like you though, that heed the gentle nudging of our heavenly father and DO give your children & wife honor and respect. You're right! That was a bonding experience and a memory you will all cherish forever. Dogs truly do become part of a family and Chipper will always be grateful for a loving dad who took the time to give his pet a meaningful burial!
Hi Ted,
Thanks for sharing such a touching story! Carolyn Arends has a song (several years old now) and it says,"This is the stuff....that life is made of" as she sings of all the "simple" things and moments we encounter. It was not the most popular song on that "Seize the Day" album but your story certainly illustrates the importance of the message. Time. It is truly a valuable gift that we can give each other. It is a sacrifice. You made a memory alright and I'd guarantee you left a lasting impression on your son. A meaningful burial, yes. Other examples too. He saw that you valued him and something that was important to him! Priceless! An example of God's love.


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