In the summer of 2000 little did we know our hearts and lives would be forever changed when our best friend Roper Dog came bouncing into our lives. At just two years old, Roper, half Border Collie and half Australian Shepherd, was the most devoted friend a person could ever ask for.
Roper spent his days keeping busy on the farm tending to the horses, working the yearlings in the round pen, first one direction then the other. If there was a reluctant horse, Roper would give a quick pass from behind and nip a heel and in the horse trailer or through the gate they would go. He also made chore time a snap – with the stalls full of mares and foals, we never had to worry about opening and closing doors while cleaning, feeding and watering as Roper kept a faithful and watchful eye on them for us.
A few years later, Roper added trucking to his resume when he began riding with me after Wayne (Baker) and I bought a used 2000 Freightliner Classic. Roper quickly made friends at toll booths, as well as with shippers and receivers. He was invited by several to come inside. He would sit patiently beside the dock door and wait until we were loaded or unloaded, then give a “woof-woof” – which was his way of saying, “See ya’ll later!”
In 2008 Roper saved my life when two men with knives not only wanted my money but my life. Roper, who would have gladly given his life for mine, held them back long enough for me to get back in the truck. I whistled and he came running and jumped in the truck. As I locked the door, I heard them yell, “Lucky you have a dog or you would be down and dead!” As they ran away, Roper and I safely pulled away and headed to safety.
Roper also saved Wayne and I from carbon monoxide poisoning from a propane heater on a hunting trip in Idaho. We were both rudely awakened from our slumber in the middle of the night by Roper’s relentless barking, and then we stumbled our way outside to safety. That day we had the world’s worst headache, but thanks to Roper Dog, we were alive.
He also had a part in Hollywood acting. In 2005, when my Freightliner was chosen to be customized by the Chrome Shop Mafia team for the show Trick My Truck, Roper’s role was to try to keep the “boyz” away when they came to take the truck, much as he did in real life. He was a huge hit with the directors, producers and cameramen as he “Woof-woofed” his part. At the end, he gave a quick nip to the camera man’s leg, letting him know who was in charge. He was named the official “Chrome Shop Mafia Dog” and proudly wore their key chain on his collar. 4 State Trucks in Joplin, MO was his favorite place to stop – he would go inside and “Woof-woof-woof” to everyone, as to say, “Hey gang, here I am!”
The years and miles have flown by and Roper has left a long trail of memories in many people’s hearts. His seat now sits empty, but I can still feel him watching over me, as he did up to the moment when I had to tell him that it was alright to go. It wasn’t until then that he closed his devoted eyes and breathed his final breath.
Wayne and I would like to thank everyone from the Chrome Shop Mafia at 4 State Trucks, Millard Cold Storage, and each and every one of Roper’s friends for all of their prayers, calls and cards. A special thanks to my sister for being with Roper and I at the time of his death, and most importantly, thank you to God for giving us Roper for 12 wonderful years. We began grieving his death on December 15, 2011 at 4:16 p.m., but were blessed to have enjoyed him for so many wonderful years. Thank you, Roper Dog, I will meet you at Rainbow Bridge!
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.