Dear Gabby,

My walk with you this afternoon was so delightful. As the days go by, it is evident that you are far surpassing your golden years. You are moving slower now; your hearing to commands appear to be less acute, your joints a little less agile now. However, you still appear as beautiful as the day I brought you home in a cardboard box with a can of dog food–a gift from my students from when I was teaching in Arlington, Texas a little over 13-years ago.

Gabby, you have been my most faithful friend and companion, and have blessed me with many years of sharing our lives together. Over the years I have taught you many commands, rules and regulations; however, you have taught me so much more than that. You introduced me to a deeper level of love, which is unconditional love–the kind I always heard and read about, but only took for granted because I now realize I really didn’t understand it until you came into my life to teach me. It is almost as though you already were prepackaged with this deeper level of gratitude, respect, kindness and patience.

Gabby, you are the only canine that I am aware of that has the theory of mind to make any attempt to get access to my face to put your paw on my mouth if I am voicing rage or anger at others. This is a special and unique attribute that you innately have to prove other humans wrong that dogs have no emotion. This alone has taught me to get a better handle on my emotional reactions to others, as I am afraid I fall short in temperament, which you are so gifted. It is your expression of love, professional demeanor and sophistication that I must say I envy and can only try to imitate.

Gabby, you do know, when I travel for work, weeks at a time, I often cannot sleep well because you are not sleeping on my pillow with your paw on my shoulder as you always do. But it is such a delight when I pull up on the driveway and Carl opens the front door to let you quickly run out to greet me, still trying to jump into my lap before I have a chance to get out of the car seat (with a little help now) to cover my face and eyeglasses with a whole week’s worth of kisses to make up for lost time together.

Gabby, you have been my buddy, my friend and an important member of my family. You have always been obedient, cheerful and happy. You are so polite to stand back and let the cat have her turn for meals and treats first, then you gently and gratefully take yours with perfect manners. When it thunders, you shake in fright, yet knowing that if you hide your face under my arm, there is comfort to help you through. But what I love the most is when you lie next to me and gently scratch my cheek to let me know you need some itchy spots tended too, which sooths us both for our short afternoon naps.

Gabby, when you have been ill, you have always let me care for you, even when you wanted to be left alone. The vet says you have an enlarged heart, but I know that it is so full of love, your heart just keep expanding. He says you have arthritis, but I know that your joints have tired from years swimming and running. He says you have cataracts, but I know you have a vision that can see beyond the physical world.

Today during our walk, when you found that fresh green lump of unscathed, beautiful grass and rolled over on your back to wiggle in it with pure delight and bliss, you looked at me with what I perceived as a great big smile to share your love of life at that moment with me. How ironic, even at our advancing age for both of us, you are the one to encourage me to get up and keep moving. Gabby, I will always love and care for you, just as you have with me, in this life and the next.

Breed: Miniature Schnauzer


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