Sometimes animals touch us in a way no human being ever could. Almost 14 years ago my hubby gave me the greatest gift in the world. We had been together just under a year, and it was my first birthday we'd celebrate as a couple. He loaded my two children and myself into the car, and we drove to the Macomb County Animal Shelter. I was set to find a German Shepherd, my favorite breed of dog, and it was to be my first birthday gift from the man I would later marry.
When we pulled into the animal shelter I was so excited to be getting a puppy. I really had no idea how special an experience it would end up being. The kids and I looked at all the puppies. There were no shepherds to be found, but there was a litter of beautiful, velvety, little Lab-Husky pups. We got them all out and played with them for a time. Then, it became evident that there was something special to us about one of them. That one little puppy was Gypsy, and she came home with us that day forever changing the dynamics of our family.
Gypsy has always been a great dog. We never did master the art of walking her, though. That dog could pull your arm off if you let her. She was happiest running along side the bicycle with Pat, or going for a run with Andrew. Most of all she loved to run free through the snow, flipping it up with her nose. There were camping trips when she escaped from the pop-up with the kids chasing her down through the campground. Never a dull moment. :) She loved to run along side the mini-bikes, and actually out run them sometimes, when the kids would spend the day riding up at the grandparents' farm. Then, there were the rides home with the windows down because Gypsy had rolled in something ever so irresistible to her and repulsive to us. Oh, and who can forget the small log she used to carry around in her mouth. I still remember laughing hysterically at her flinging around an empty two-liter bottle in the back yard and chasing it playing for hours. She even chewed a rather large hole in the telephone pole. What a dog! Those were the days...
Her favorite human foods were chocolate, pizza crust, and buttered popcorn. Lord knows she loved to eat. With age came a slower pace, smaller appetite, and a more subdued existence. My once traveling companion now found it difficult to get in and out of the car. No more car rides. No more jumping up every time she heard the keys jingle. No more spelling the word W-A-L-K, and later just saying " a W", so she wouldn't get excited and want to go with us if it wasn't convenient. Gone were the days of throwing her popcorn, pizza crust, or treats and having her catch them. Her eyesight began to fail, and it was just too hard to see the snacks to catch them accurately. The trips up the stairs to go to bed became more difficult as her body became ravaged with cancer, unbeknownst to us. We just thought she was getting old. Then it was the hearing. We had to speak louder for her to hear, and it would take a bit for her to notice we were calling out to her.
Oh, Gypsy, we will miss you greatly. You are loved beyond words, and it is so difficult to imagine our family without you in it. I thank God for animals and the companionship they give us. I thank God for you, and I pray you rest in peace.