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Like a Candle in the Wind

Gibbs is gone. We released him today. Our vet called to say the time was upon us and that we should come. Gibbs would not return home with us today. His homecoming to this house has been delayed. But his leave taking would not wait. Back now, we both have been reminiscing through our blogs, pictures and memories. Let it be said that Gibbs' life was well-chronicled. And he will be greatly missed. 

Here's some snippets from previous posts re: Gibbs:

March 4, 2008 - I was practicing [the Exsultet] today sitting in my home office with Gibbs laying at my feet when I heard some curious sounds. Gibbs was quietly groaning and moaning. I tried to ignore him. I imagine I started singing louder which only prompted him to groan and moan louder himself. As I sang "It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn," Gibbs lifted his head, and let out a plaintive yelp which turned into a yawn. As I turned my head to him, I burst out laughing. He just lay there wagging his tail. Maybe he was happy the singing had stopped.

June 20, 2008 - The only option we have is to love him as much as we can for as long as we have him. And that's just what we'll do. Love him lots while we can.  The prognosis is maybe 6 months to a year. I've been reflecting back on how we met. When we found him at the shelter, Mulligan picked him. And Gibbs picked us. I think he knew what he was doing then. And as Heart Of My Heart wrote the other day, "he's where he needs to be". With us. 

June 22, 2008 - We are NOT on a death watch with the Littl' Dude. I've learned enough to differentiate between "living with" and "dying from". Gibbs is not dying from kidney dysplasia. He is living with it. We offer nothing less than our unconditional love for this special creature God brought into our lives. That he is so playful and loving and mischievous is a wonder, but more a blessing. We really do appreciate all the notes, calls and prayers. We have made our peace with the situation, but we had already chosen to give Gibbs the good life he deserves, even if the probability is it will not be for as long as we'd like. It is what it is.  So for the record, we're not on a death watch. But we will give most of any available time we have to being with him. Thanks for understanding. 

June 28, 2008 - But it really is an interesting question to ponder: ‘What’s Good vs. What’s Bad’.  I don’t necessarily dwell on the good and bad of things.  But sometimes, Shit happens. Like when we learned our 13-month old puppy suffers from congenital kidney disease. We can’t tell that he suffers exactly or is in any pain.  He eats, he sleeps, he drinks water and love treats, he romps around with his big buddy basset hound, or tears around on his own, being “wild puppy”.  But he doesn’t seem sick. We certainly didn’t know he was sick, but we knew he was out of sorts because an abscess on his muzzle took him to the vet. Only because I checked the box to test his suitability for going under general anesthesia beforehand did we learn of abnormalities in his blood. To make a long story short, an ultra sound found he has no right kidney, and the left kidney is not much to speak of. But still the odd thing is he doesn’t act sick.

July 15, 2008 - No, the boys would not be denied. It started first with the usual low, intermittent moans of Litl' Bits - they pretty much signify the phantom timer on the kitchen stove was sounding off again. As if to say, "Daddy, there's this beeping in my head and it won't go away! Please make it stop!" If you don't respond to that, and usually Mom Dog does, then Litl' Dude resorts to his next tactic of leaning up on the bed and reaching across to poke you. His back legs stay on the floor while he stretches out his long lanky body across the bed to paw at me.  If that doesn't work, then the full scale attack escalates into Gibbs jumping up on the bed to seek out any exposed body part to bite or naw on.  If that weren't enough, the Big Guy decided to get in on the action. He moved around to my side of the bed, sat close by with his back to me, turned his head around to look my way, and began to plaintively whine quietly.  I say quietly, but Mulligan's whining is distinctive and seem to cut through all manner of noise to be heard, no matter how loud he is.  So there I was, basically pinned between two dogs who want Dad Dog to "GET UP". The younger one assaults any part of my body he can find with gnashing teeth or a slobbery tongue and the older one quietly says "Don't make me come up there because if I do, it's all over and somebody might get hurt".  My defenses weakening, I cry out a frantic "Okay!  You win!  I'm getting up!".  No sooner than that is said, the two creatures quickly flee the bedroom and anxiously wait at the gate restraining them at the top of the steps.  But if you don't move quickly, there's the insistent tapitty-tap tapping of puppy toe nails click away to tell you "COME ON!"  So pulling on shorts and a T-shirt and opening of the gate leads to the thundering herd making their way downstairs and outside.  Yea, Daddy is up and we're going outside.  Out they go and there is quiet again.  Blessed relief.

August 6, 2008 - I wasn't gone even 15 seconds, but it was time enough for him. I heard a curious thump from the other room. Turning into the hallway, I could see already that the bed occupied when I left was now empty. And as if to tell me I didn't say "Dibs on that chair, no takeaways", the older sage lying in the corner just looked at me.  When I peeked around the corner, Lil' Bits tried very hard to lie still and low to blend in with the black leather chair. His whale-eyed gaze just oozed with tons of adoration, love and gratitude. "Thank you, Daddy!  This chair is nice and warm and soft." 

August 8, 2008 - Returning home today from driving Heart Of My Heart into work, I went straight out for a morning walk.  It was a lovely start to my day, being much cooler than midday, and it allowed me a more brisk and strong walk.  My typical route has averaged 36 minutes the last several times out during mid-day or latter afternoon. This morning I shaved two minutes off that time.  When I came back in and let the pups out of their crates, there was great interest from Gibbs that Daddy was hot and dripping with sweat. Plopping down on the futon between the two dogs gave Gibbs an opportunity to audition for the role of towel.  Since a shower was coming shortly anyway, I let the little guy clean my face, neck and behind the ears. I must admit about a minute later, I felt cool and refreshed.

February 4, 2009 - Dogs just know. They can read our moods, sense our psyches, and know our ways. For me, they are God's very best, most true example here on earth today of pure, unconditional love. I sat here with my eyes shut, trying to comprehend what it would be like to no longer see. I failed. This is not real. Light still creeps into my head through my eyelids. Even microscopic gunk floats by on my eyeball. It is not total darkness. It is not real. And it is not final. I cope with Gibbs being not fully formed in the kidney department, praying our love will cause some to sprout. But I struggle now with the possibility that B has lost his eyes and his sight. I wept and I wailed, I even railed at God about the injustice of this horrible situation. Then Gibbs quietly hopped off the couch, approached me, climbed up and began kissing away the tears from my eyes. Softly. Carefully. Completely. His puppy kisses restored me.  Soothed me. Comforted me. Such love. I am so blessed. I wish I could take Gibbs to Baltimore to kiss B's eyes. I believe it would help.

July 29, 2009 - If I don't see him heading my way already, I do hear his trot as he gets near.  Sometimes he rises from within his crate and makes a beeline to where I'm sitting. At other times, he hops down from one of the two perches in the living room as "puppy TV" goes to commercial ("puppy TV" is when one or both boys look out to the world via windows or doorways to ensure all is good and calm 'out there').  When he comes to me, he approaches slowly and gently lays his little head on my leg and presses his nose into my belly. Then he leans in and waits.  His head is down so his eyes are not visible - he cannot see me or what I might be doing. I'm told that burying the face and shielding his eyes is a sign of trust. As he loves on me, I return the gift of love, and we melt together in gentle caresses and warm nuzzles. He knows I'm his daddy and I know he's my baby. My "sweet, sweet, puppy paws". My dear Gibbs. When he does this, I call it "checking in." Nothing has really happened. It's not feeding time. He's not anxious or needy. I didn't call him, nor was he really stirring. Just out of the blue, he's there and we have that sweetest, gentle moment of communion with one another. I've had many pets over the years, but I cannot remember one who has been so content to just be with me. Gibbs is one of the sweetest gifts to me and for us. 


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you God, indeed.
Jan. 10th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC)
Re June 20, 2008 - he beat the odds and gave you 18 months of wonder and love. As you did he! He was one lucky dog and you his lucky beans! love you both.
Jan. 10th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
Puppy Love
He was a special dog - who knew you needed him just as he needed you. You gave him a full and comfortable home for as long as God gave him life. Thanks for all the memories of him in your blog. Thanks for loving him just as he was.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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