March 6, 2014: It was a Sunday morning nine years ago today when I first laid eyes on you. You were broken hearted and distraught, wandering around the parking lot at work, circling aimlessly around cars. I came to find out that a coworker had seen you the day before, standing in the middle of a busy intersection. It's a miracle you found your way to my office. You were so timid and lost that you wouldn't take a treat from my hand or even drink any of the water I had brought out for you. The most you did was sniff at my hand, but moved away when I reached out for you. I sat in the parking lot for 45 minutes while we waited for animal control to arrive. Thankfully, you were taken to the beautiful P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village & Education Center in Long Beach, California, where I had truly hoped you'd be reunited with your owners. And while I thought about you as this sweet little stray, I figured that was the end of the story and the last I would see of you.|
The following Sunday, I had to truly be talked into going to see you at the shelter (thank you Jen!). I wasn't looking to own a pet and I didn't want a pet. I wasn't all that good at taking care of myself and knew that I didn't want to be responsible for another living thing! And, besides, I didn't think dogs were allowed in my cool apartment with a great view. Going to see you was just a waste of time.
When I got to the shelter, I found out that you had been deemed "non-adoptable" because they said you weren't a "warm and fuzzy dog" and that you had been giving "hard looks" to the workers there. They were apprehensive to put you in the play area with anyone, but having some interaction with you a week earlier, they allowed you to come out to see me.
I remember you walked around the fenced in patch of grass almost completely indifferent of me. I thought to myself that you were so pretty but I certainly didn't want to make a huge commitment to a dog that couldn't care less if I existed. And then, without prompting, you came up to me, sniffed my leg, looked up at me with your golden eyes, and flopped over and showed me your belly.
And then my life changed forever.
I signed all the necessary the papers and even went back to see you one more time before I left......and you whimpered and cried out as I left. Maybe you weren't so indifferent after all. And while I know it was only because I was a familiar face, it did make me feel like I was doing the right
At the shelter they called you Goldie, but the name Gypsy just seemed to fit you better.
You were spayed and the next day I brought you home on a warm Tuesday afternoon. I didn't know you. You didn't know me. Suddenly, I find myself in a position where I have to carry you up three flights of stairs because you couldn't climb them yourself after your surgery. You trusted me. I trusted you. You were stoic, but I wasn't afraid.
The next few weeks included me receiving eviction papers, massive rains, my father hospitalized after a heart attack, you riding in cars for hours at time during the search for a pet friendly place to live that would allow a dog of your size, and scariest of all, you escaping out of the yard of a co-worker kind enough to offer to keep you while I searched for a new place to live. You made it nearly a mile and a half while crossing three major streets during the morning rush hour!! It was a miracle you didn't get hit!(You had a tag with my phone number and I will always be thankful to the guy who caught you and called me!)
It was chaos and I wondered what I had gotten myself into.
But in the midst of all the craziness, one day I walked through the door from work, you saw me and wagged your tail for the first time. You were mine. I was yours.
Over the next nearly nine years you were a constant in my life. You traveled so well in the car. We used to drive the 45 minutes to see my parents and Lucky "the pest"....you never seemed to mind the journey since grandpa always had a pocketful of treats!! You did so well in the car, you got to visit Santa Barbara, Solvang, and San Diego a bunch of times.
Ya know, Gyps, it was okay with me that you didn't have any interest in chasing the ball or carrying around sticks in your mouth. I never minded that you were not big on licking or even that your fur got on all of our clothes. You were patient with every stranger who wanted to pet you and every little kid who wanted to hug you. You kept Kristen company during the day and nights I worked late. You found a comfortable places to sleep and made everyone step around or over you.
We were so fortunate to have lived so close to Community Veterinary Hospital in Garden Grove, California. Dr. Grant, Dr. Jennings and the entire staff always took such good care of you. While you didn't like to stay away from home without us, the folks at Animal Friends Pet Hotel were wonderful to you, even when you'd just go in for a bath.
Back on September 5th, I took you to get scanned to determine the size of what Dr. Jennings believed was a thyroid tumor. You spent a long day at the scanning facility and were so weak when I picked you up, I was certain that the time had come to say goodbye. I called Kristen and Community Veterinary Hospital stayed open for us. Thankfully, Dr. Ericson recognized you were just very dehydrated and gave you intravenous fluids. And while we were nervous for the the next few days, you got your strength back. The scan results came back and the news was worse than we imagined; there was not one, but two active and inoperable tumors. Once we came to grips with the diagnosis, we made a point of making the most of the time we had left with you. You probably noticed we were considerably more generous with treats and restaurant leftovers! We were blessed with 5 months of bonus time with you.
Before we knew it, you were very much back to being yourself. And while you made it through my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Kristen's birthday, the bad days were more and more often. Our walks grew slower and shorter, but you always found a way to surprise us! It was late January that you even successfully climbed the little grassy hills along our walk that you used to easily scale when you were healthy!
And until Kristen and I said goodbye to you a week ago Saturday, you'd been there every moment of our marriage. Up until a week ago Saturday you were our companion, our burden, our comfort, our excuse, our purpose, our reason, our joy........and you were always our special girl.
You will always be Kristen's Baby Girl. You will always be my Gippo!
We were blessed to have had every single moment we shared with you. We are blessed to have had thousands of sweet memories.
We love you Gyps.
We miss you, Fuzzy One.
Thank you, Gypsy.
You were a fine girl.
My Sweet Gypsy,
Much of the year I was too aware your absence. You were so weak at the end, I never doubted that we did the right thing when we said goodbye.
The "popcorn" answer to my prayer helped me pass through the darkness and the despair of brokenhearted loss.
I saw you "in the clouds" exactly when I needed to. Gyps, I simply missed you.
By summer I was convinced I was ready for another dog......companion....family member....soul to welcome into our home, I deferred to Kristen to know when the time was right.
On October 29th, the time came. After a couple of days of exploring shelter and rescue websites, she found Lucy. A Lab-Golden mix. You would love her!
She could never "replace" you, nor was that the goal. You were the soul we were supposed to have and love during the time we were blessed to share with you. Lucy is clearly the soul we are supposed to love and share our lives with now.
My prayer was answered in such an obvious way, I know you're fine and that you know how much you were loved.
I'll always love you girlie!
Until we meet again.....
February 22, 2018:
Four years without you has gone by so quickly. You will always be our special girl. While I wish you could have been happy and healthy longer, I know in my heart we shared the time we were supposed to. You going to the Rainbow Bridge put us in the position to be ready to adopt Lucy nine months later. I don't know if she would have gotten another chance at a family had we not been looking at the time.She has a sweet soul and greets me when I come home, the way you used to. I really think you two would have been great together.
We shall continue to not take love for granted and will remember to value those in our lives every day. Thank you for all you were and always will be.
Until we meet again....