Saturday, May 9, 2015

Remembering Gus's Lessons on Life

In the day since we sent Gus to the Rainbow Bridge, I am mostly fine. Yes, I've of course had those low moments yesterday and today. Gus had a really big personality and was never shy about letting me know if he thought we weren't getting his meal fixed fast enough or if he needed help getting to where he wanted to be. So instead of being focused on our house being quieter without him, I'm instead remembering and celebrating the nearly one year that Gus was a part of our lives.
~Gus and Cricket~
When I think of dogs that had truly been dealt a bad hand, it was Gus.  He was a six time repeat offender at a shelter in Virginia when he was found wandering in traffic. Each time his owner would come and get him, but the seventh time, he was found tied to the shelter door and they never returned for him. Thankfully Gus was given to the rescue, and unlike others before him, we at least knew his name.
~Gus, the first day we met him~
In looking back at the photos of our first days together in May of last year, I recall the total uncertainty that we were facing with Gus because of a tumor in his abdomen, and the grim diagnosis he'd been given of degenerative myleopathy. Added to that, not long after Gus arrived, he developed a large pressure sore on his hip that even after nearly 10 months, would never really heal. It added to my discouragement when I was told by a vet that saw him at that time, that he didn't expect Gus to live through the week and sarcastically quipped to me to "not buy him any green bananas."  Of course I was taken back by those words, but they would give me the determination to prove this particular vet wrong.
Thankfully Gus would become the patient of two other vets who managed his care both clinically and holistically.  They gave me the optimism, hope and support I'd need to get through some of the low moments with Gus. I will always be grateful to these two amazing ladies for their solid expertise and care they gave Gus, and for their friendship. They truly made a difference for him.
~Gus and Beau~
A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a silly and goofy one like Gus.  He taught me about living each day with joy and seizing the moment. Gus taught me to appreciate the simple things in life; the cool grass, a beautiful day outside, and to remember to trust my instincts.
On the days that I knew Gus may have be feeling pain from falling or tumbling down the steps, he taught me about  forgetting all of that, and to continue on by doing my best, to get up those proverbial steps no matter how difficult and insurmountable they may seem.
Gus also taught me about the depth of friendship, love and selflessness.  He taught me to never give up and to remember that life can be too short and passes too quickly, so enjoy it.  Play the hand  you've been dealt the best you can, no matter what your circumstances may be. And finally Gus taught me that when some don't see your value, and tell you that "you're not going to make it." don't listen to them, and buy those green bananas!

Godspeed my handsome Gustavsen.  I wish I'd known you when you were younger. But I have a feeling you were just the same carefree and endearing boy as you were when we met last year.  I'm grateful to have had you as part of our lives and that I was  your caretaker at this final season in your life.  You taught me so much, and those lessons will not be forgotten. Run free until we meet you again at the Rainbow Bridge. 


  1. Kim, what a wonderful post on Gus.. Even though he was only there for a year he seems to have brought you as much joy and love as you gave to him. He was a beautiful dog, thanks for being there for Gus.. Happy Mothers Day to you..

  2. It seems like Todd loved him and that's endorsement enough for us.

  3. What a sweet memorial to you wonderful Gus. Like I said before he was so lucky to finish his life in your home. He sure was a special dog.

  4. I love that you have remembered dear sweet Gus in this way. How perfect that he should have found his way to you for the last few months of his life - he was truly loved and cherished as he should always have been.

    Love and hugs to you, Kim.

    ps How dare that vet joke about not buying Gus green bananas, so unacceptably thoughtless.

  5. sweet and touching tribute. i have to go wipe my eyes, now.

  6. So touching . . . such kind thoughts, words . . .
    Thanks for being there for Gus . . .

  7. I'm so glad you go with your instincts! It sure makes a difference. Peace, Sweet Gus.

  8. Dear Kim, Again I'm so sorry for another loss. Just this morning there was an article in the paper about Goldens, how long they used to live-15 to 16 and now they are only living to 9 or 10, due to the cancers taking them. They aren't sure why Goldens are so susceptible but are doing studies to see if they can figure it out. I wonder if Goldens in Europe are healthier? I know many breeds are.
    May the memories of your sweet boy bring you comfort. You are an angel to these beauties.

  9. What beautiful words, a great tribute to Gus
    For Kim and all at Golden Pines we are sending you lots of luffs and hugs
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  10. Farewell Gus. So sorry to hear this.

  11. A tribute that speaks from your heart, and to have Gus with you for his last year in this world was so special, Love galore, friends with the others, and lessons for each one of us as we face illness, a struggle, or just a short time of trouble or worry. Dear Gus, others would be waiting, and a huge welcome as you arrived.. Lori, hugs and love as you remember Gus and all he was in your life .

  12. This reminds me so much of Morgan. She falls down a lot but she just gets back up and tries again. We can sure learn a lot from these beautiful beings.

  13. What a wonderful pup. Taught so much in one year.....we're so happy his last year was with you.

  14. Thank you so much for your post. I love reading about ali of his wonderful attributes and what we have also vicariously learned from Gus.
    The reason you were able to take so much away from Gus' life is because you have an open heart. I'm not sure the "green bananas vet" would have ever have begun to appreciate Gus' wisdom.
    By listening to your inner voice, Gus had such a good last season of being loved. That same attitude of yours saved Sunny.
    Now, you have Lexi and Georgie who will benefit from Gus' time at Golden Pines. All of your babies have paved a gentle path for each new one to be nurtured and loved.
    Thank you. In this tough old world, you and Carl and your babies give me a soft place to fall. Golden Pines epitomizes the right way to live. It is refreshing.
    Gus' Mom

  15. What a beautiful tribute to one special boy ♥

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  16. When you posted a photo of gus
    It always made me smile
    Chin up dear heart

  17. Beautiful post about your sweet boy Gus.

  18. Hi Km, very sweet touching post about that beautiful boy Gus. I thank you for taking in these gentle old souls and loving them to the end, you are an Angel for sure.God Bless, Francine.

  19. Beautiful tribute to a great dog who overcame some really horrible obstacles in life. Run free dear Gus, run free.

  20. Beautiful words. I am so glad that there are good people who care and love these dogs on their journeys end. Hope you are ok .

  21. What a beautiful tribute Kim - I'm sure Gus is smiling at you from The Rainbow Bridge. Hugs to you.

  22. Kim,
    Your tribute to Gus,, is so from your heart,,, Every word.
    You know how we feel,,,and again we will tell you,,,
    your made a difference to Gus,,
    You make a difference to so many- again and again,, because you are filled with that angel kind of love,, that is real.
    "Gus was real." and so are you.

  23. *hugs* Kim. May God bless and comfort you. ♥

  24. Crikey .... I'm so pleased he ended his days in your wonderful, loving care. We have lots of Larrikins in Australia. I think Gus was a bit of a larrikin. Tweedles said it beautifully again, aye?? She ALWAYS does.

  25. What a treasure you have to keep in your heart - it seems so fitting for Mother's Day - you have been the Mother to so many dogs who would have been lost without your tender hand and loving heart. God Bless You, Kim. I am so proud to call you my friend.


  26. Kim, I started crying reading this. Thank you for giving him so much and taking such good care of Gus. It was an honor to be able to help him in what ways I could. He was one of the bravest and he taught me how happy you can be despite the limitations life puts on you and that even if you can't walk, sometimes just having friends around you is enough. I will never forget Gus and I hope you don't mind if I borrow and print out these photos to put up in my office when I move, so I can remember and think about him every day.

    1. Cynde, please take any of the photos you'd like. I'd hoped you'd read this post, because I truly am grateful for your friendship, kindness, support and compassion as well as your great care you gave Gus, as well as my other pups like Cissy that you truly made a difference for. I am really going to miss you and wish you and your husband all the very best as you begin the next chapter in your life!

  27. you did it again.
    you captured the heart of a dog and put it into words that literally ring with truth and inspiration. not to mention a little love.
    that little love that is total light and goofy grins and rolls in the grass and banging food dishes and soft fur... and furever. yes. furever.

  28. What a lovely tribute to Gus. You made sure his days were full of love and then eased him on his way. We lost our beloved Murphy on April 5, and your words brought me such comfort, Kim; they reminded me why I miss him so very much but also why he was such a joy.

  29. Buying you bushels of green Bananas for Mother's day Kim!!!
    `*.¸.*✻ღღ Happy Mother's Day!

  30. This is such a beautiful tribute to Gus! May he rest in peace. We do hope that you were able to enjoy Mother's Day.

  31. Bye, bye Gus. Thank you for giving him so much love in the short time he was with you. Xoxo

  32. Run free and swift, Gus

    Edgar and his mum

  33. Run fast buddy, I know you have lots of friends waiting on you.
    stella rose

  34. Run free Gus, and enjoy the next life. My deepest sympathies. Mary Ann

  35. A perfect tribute.
    Thank god for people like you.
    Someone who still fights for someone like Gus.
    Someone who still sees the positives in life.
    I work at a vet clinic and truly, some days it's hard to have the strength
    to deal with the sadness but you somehow rises above your grief
    and do the job that so few have the courage and the compassion to do.
    You are so special and so rare.
    Thank you for being you.
    R.I.P. Gus

  36. Oh my, my first visit and so Sade for you and Gus. I have several friends at the Rainbow Bridge and know Gus will be welcomed with open paws.
    Thank you for making Gus' last year so loving. What lessons we learn from our four legged teachers.

  37. What beautiful memories of a handsome and extraordinary fellow,
    We have three friends at the Rainbow Bridge who remain in our memories for all time (one was a golden retriever like Gus, her name was Emma, and perhaps they will meet there. Nice to think they will).

  38. Seven time wanderers have a special place in heaven.

  39. This is one of the finest eulogy I've ever read, saying goodbye to our favorite kind of dog - the goofy male Golden - they steal your heart so fast and never let go. Fly free big guy. He was so lucky to have you and .... you - him!

  40. I read your blog with tears running down my face.


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