I was a broken woman when I first met Giblet. I’d just turned forty, suffered a miscarriage, and the man I’d been in a relationship with had left me. Deep down I knew I’d never have a child of my own. The one chance I’d had was gone.
Each day I got up, went to work and somehow made it through the day. I was numb and fragile and holding it together hour-by-hour.
I think it was a radio commercial – we always had the radio on at the place I worked – for the local animal shelter that first implanted the idea of a dog into my mind. I owed my home, had a yard, lived five minutes away from work, and had the time to share.
The volunteer took my information and brought me into the kennel. I remember it being loud with barking. The cages had indoor/outdoor access and there were four or five dogs to an area. She stopped in front of a cage where two or three – it’s hard to remember exactly – dogs were playing together. To the side, sitting on a threadbare towel was Giblet. She explained he’d been there for many months. That he didn’t show well for adoption. He was clearly miserable in the cage with the other dogs and the one comfort he had was a tattered piece of towel. I’m not saying the shelter wasn’t nice, because it was; it’s just that his temperament made the conditions intolerable.
Giblet looked like he was put together by a committee. His head was small, Chihuahua like. He was barreled chested with spindly legs and had a rat-like tail. His ears were ravaged by a skin condition. He didn’t make eye contact or in any way try to draw my attention to him. The volunteer thought he’d been the dog that had been thrown from a moving car. It was clear to me that he’d been abused before his rescue.
Giblet and I crawled out of our respective depressions together. He came alive on his walks. Head and tail high, strutting out, sniffing, marking every mailbox. I fenced in the backyard and we planted a garden together.
One day I realized my sadness had diminished, that I looked forward to getting up and taking the Little Man for his walk. I wasn’t the only one changing for the better. The hair on Giblet’s ears grew back in. He’d gained some weight. His coat was shiny and his eyes bright.
And one wonderful day I met my future husband. I’d become resigned that I would be single for the rest of my life. But life had different plans. For the first time I knew how it felt to be truly loved by a partner. He had a son. I had Giblet. We bought a house together. We became a family.
Giblet helped Trevor get ready for middle school and would wait for him to get off the bus. Giblet sent Trevor off to his first day of high school, and supervised many tutoring session around the dining room table. Giblet participated in every aspect of our lives. And yes, he had a closet of plush blankets to lie on. He even slept in the bed with us. Years passed and he watched as we packed up the car and sent Trevor off to college.
Eleven years went by in a flash. Giblet was slowing down. He couldn’t go for his long walks any longer and barely made it around the block. He no longer bounded off the sofa to greet George home from work. The UPS and mail truck drove by without him barking. He had hip trouble and knee trouble. He’d had surgeries to repair both and rebounded beautifully, but age was taking its toll. Last fall he had a mass removed from his mouth. We hoped it wouldn’t come back, but it did. The pain pills weren’t helping him any longer. Yesterday we decided it was time to let him go.
Our hearts are breaking that he’s no longer with us, but after giving us so much we had to do the right thing and end his pain. After such a long winter yesterday was warm and sunny. He took one last walk around his yard and we all said our goodbyes. George and I held him until he passed.
Goodbye to the Best Little Doggie in the World, our Giblet.