After suffering a stroke last Sunday, making a good recovery, then suffering another stroke today right in front of my Mom and I, our beloved Gabe left this world.
My Mom and I were watching a movie when I noticed that Gabe was breathing oddly. The kind of breathing that dogs do when they are sleeping and dreaming of something exciting. But it was odd because his eyes were open.
A cold feeling of dread swept over me as my Mom and I jumped up and looked at him. His breathing was in spasms, his eyes unblinking. I ran to Jenni and yelled for her to get Aunt Deanne immediatly and she took off. In the maybe 5 minutes it took from me first noticing the breathing to when Aunt Deanne arrived, he died. It was so fast. My Mom and I were calling him, but his tongue was lolling out, his eyes blank. He did come back to us for a moment, the obedient and loving dog he is... he lifted his head, blinked, breathed. But then he laid back down and it was done.
I was horrified. It happened so quickly that there was no time to process it. Jenni was crying and so was I.
My Aunt Deanne and Mom rolled him onto a tarp, I slipped off his collar. His body was still warm, his fur still wiry but soft at the same time. Aunt Deanne and I carried him outside and placed him on the deck, covering him with an old blanket. He was sooooo light for a dog that was so hefty and solid when living. The illness he'd be suffering with since Sunday had greatly thinned him.
It was not possible that he was here, being a grump to the other dogs, coming out to greet us when we came home just one hour before. I keep looking at where we put him, halfway expecting to see the blanket moving and to see his huge head peeking out.
Tomorrow we will bury him behind the big boulder, near the weeping willow tree. The boulder will be his headstone, where we can sit and remember him.
I'm happy that he passed here in the warm house, surrounded by family and his doggie friends. All the dogs were in, gathered around, sleeping. It was calm, quiet, peaceful. It was a swift death, not painful.
Yet the world seems a bit more lonely tonight. A little less safe. You always felt safe with Gabe. He was so big, so tender, so loyal. You never felt afraid when he was with you.
Goodbye my brave old friend.