Facebook has an app that shows some of your posts from past years. I hadn’t realized how many pictures of our dog, Gage would pop up to remind me of the sweet dog who had to leave us last year. Another thing I didn’t realize is how much I would continue to miss him.
We’ve had dogs in our house since the beginning of our marriage. Sometimes there were more than one at a time. Each one had their own personality and temperament. Each had their idiosyncrasies and each one found a place in our hearts. Gage was a gift to us. Our children bought him for us after our last Golden Retriever left this world. They knew how much we loved that dog and wanted to fill the empty spot in our house.
A unique breed, a Llewellyn Setter, Gage was beautifully white with brown, liver spots. His eyes were dark black/brown. I worried from the start that he would be in constant need of a bath, but he always did a good job of keeping himself clean. For the first few years of his life he was a bit standoffish. He preferred to sit far away from us, unless he was being held. He was the last puppy of the litter to be sold, so that may have explained some of his wanting to be alone. It took several years for him to really warm up to us.
During his lifetime he watched his master, Paul, go through shoulder surgery, prostate cancer and a small stroke. These were difficult times for both of them and it reflected in Gage’s ability to get out and hunt – which was one of the reasons he came to us. This highly energetic dog had to adjust his lifestyle to that of those around him. It took several years before he settled down to become one of the best dogs we have owned.
When we downsized and made our way into a smaller home, he immediately adjusted to his new surroundings. He was the dog that kept us on our toes. He made life interesting when he ate a whole bag of jelly beans and threw up in technicolor. He ate many things that normally should’ve made him sick, but didn’t.
When we take on the responsibility of owning a pet, it’s much like adding a new member to the family. When they must depart this life, a little bit of us goes with them. Seeing these pictures pop up so often, is like being with him for just another moment.