We had our ray of sunshine and spark leave our family today. Gunther, who has been a full-fledged member of our family for the last 13 years finally reached that point where we had to say goodbye. No good way to do, no easy way to deal with it. It sucks, it hurts, we’re all lost – you can’t spin it to make it feel better. We feel good he is no longer in pain or discomfort and we know we did the right thing…but it still sucks. I can’t say enough about what he added to our lives other than he was a key part of it from that day my son and I drove 3-4 hours to get him to the very long morning we had today knowing it where the day was going to end up. I’ve become a weeping idiot, not knowing when in the middle of a sentence I’m going to get hit with it and the waterworks start. I don’t think that is going away any time soon – good thing I work from home.
Gunther was special to us – I can’t recall anyone who met him that didn’t love him immediately – and he was equally ecstatic to make your acquaintance. He protected our house from everything you could imagine – from other dogs to deer to snakes and even those evil bunnies (which made us all cringe a bit) but he was doing his job. He was fearless – 100lbs of dog in an 18lb body (at least for most of his life). He was a role model of “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” – but he was gentle with people and he was truly a people dog. In some ways he was the core of our family – he watched my kids go thru school and college, as they left (and returned) as adults. He was there with my wife for all those years I worked on the road and he was the first one to always greet me when I got home. He loved the kennel when we went on vacation – we called it his “trip to the spa” – he would walk into through the door and immediately forget who we were and run to get in the door to the back. Inevitably, when we picked him up he was hoarse for a couple of days as he was quite the barker with all the other dogs vacationing with him.
I’m going to miss him quite a bit. While he slowed down quite a bit as a result of several bouts of pancreatitis and age, his spirit never dimmed. It was in his eyes and in his stance. I no longer will be greeted with that short Jack Russell tail going 100mph. We won’t see him frantically and unsuccessfully going from one deck planter to the other trying to get those pesky chipmunks. He’ll never take on another snake, grab it with a quickness that you had to see to believe and then complete a shake or two or three of his head snap it in two and then walk away after again protecting his family. I’ve lost my driving buddy – I’ll have to go get my afternoon Dunkin Donuts by myself. I have a feeling my reaction when the Dunkin Donuts people ask where my friend is not going to be a good one.
But I’m better for Gunther being in my life. I know this pain and hurt will fade and the memories and stories of the last 13 years of Gunther will slowly begin to help ease the hurt. He was my friend.