Gilda Radner wrote book titled It’s Always Something. The longer you live, the more you know this to be the truth. It is always something.
I have been fighting to stay in my apartment, to find a job where I am treated with the respect due to any office worker, to simply find a way to live my life as I wish to live it. I don’t want anything extravagant. One would think this to be a not so difficult task. But it is.
Throughout my recent trials, my dogs have been my rocks. They keep me grounded. They make me go outside and walk, listen to the wind, watch the trees dance and breath.
And now I am losing one.
GusMonster came to me via a country road in Minnesota. I was driving my son to school when we spied a dog trotting down the road in the distance. I didn’t think a lot about it, a lot of farm dogs go for walkabout. They know how to get home. I know that sounds all kinds of wrong, but it is true. I generally don’t worry about the dogs who don’t look lost.
As we got closer, I saw this was a puppy. This was not an adult dog out for a stroll. This was a puppy, lost and alone on country road where people often drove too fast without a care. I sighed and pulled over. I wasn’t going to leave a puppy on the road. My son got out, made nice and piled the tan and white puppy into the van.
I dropped the kiddo at school and the puppy at a grooming salon. I had to go to work, and the puppy needed a bath. After work I picked up puppy and child and went home. I called the radio station, posted found signs, and called the shelter to see of the owners had come in looking for him. Nothing. No one had lost a tan and white puppy. He had been dumped.
So the tan and white puppy came home with us. He got on with our dogs just fine. He was named Gus, and his large paws earned him Monster. GusMonster was home. The vet came out to vaccinate the horses and gave Gus a good once over. He said Gus looked to be about 6 months old, and he ought to begin losing his baby teeth soon.
Taking that to heart, Gus immediately began losing his baby teeth. I found them everywhere. But that also gave us a timeline to figure out his birth month and year.
It wasn’t always smooth. We had our rocky times. Gus wasn’t house trained and seemed determined to pee in the basement rather than outside. We had no clue what he was. There was pitty in there, but not full pitty. Gus was the perfect guard dog when strangers came to call or repair things. He would be friendly, but watch. No one was going to mess with HIS family.
He hunted raccoons, rabbits, squirrels and birds. He learned how to be a bird dog. Well, what he figured out was the one dog pointed to where the birds were hiding, and Gus had the job of flushing them out. Only some days Gus got a little ahead of the game and flushed them too early. But he loved it.
He has been my companion and my rock for almost 15 years. That is very old for large dog.
And now my time with him is limited. We have perhaps 3 months together. Maybe more, maybe less. Gus’ kidneys are failing. The arthritis in his back is taking its toll. Before I know it, it will be time to say good-bye and let him go. He will cross the Rainbow Bridge and find Spenser, Tuff and Rocky, his old companions, and hunt once more.
And I will miss him forever.