Sunday, December 21, 2008

...3rd dog...

Maudie is now the 3rd dog.
We lost our Gus Friday night... and the physical absence of him is heartbreaking. The grief overwhelming. Our neice, who was stranded at the airport Friday on her way back east from Reed College has come here to ride out the winter storm ....and I think her presence...which is soft, and smart and sweet has made it much easier, esp for Mark. But I, who stays up late into the night and haunts the places where Gus is not...I meet the rip in the fabric that is our life in this house without him... the silence without the flurry of barking when I and the other dogs would come in to bed at night, his sudden appearance at the door for a late night snack and a pee.
Now, it is 3 am on the first full night of this terrible knowledge; the wind is batting the trees around, tiny ice crystals fall onto the deep snow and I am tired.
Earlier today I wrote a kind of eulogy for him to send our family and friends. Then we took Maudie out for walk in the snow.

CH Ezee Butterfly Storm CD CGC...known to his friends as Gus.

Gus came to live with us in 2002 took one look at Mark and announced that he was "his man forever." While he finished his championship with his co-breeders, Karen and Steve Baird, Mark and Gus began a relationship characterized by a love and devotion that was moving to all who knew them. They ventured in to the world of obedience together and very quickly earned a CD. Their second qualifying score was earned under Judge Jill Jones who remarked that she had never seen a Novice A dog with such great off lead heeling. This, we understood, was evidence and illustration-of the bond between them.
Gus took it upon himself to be Mark's partner; he taught Mark how to train, he took care of him in the ring. Once the judge called left turn, Mark, with Novice A jitters, started to turn right, but Gus turned left and for a moment Mark heeled with HIM into the turn.

They had been training in Open and Utility when he died. Tuesday morning class with Ellie Wyckoff was a highlight of the week. They went a lot of places together, and even when it was to the hospital I think the experience was softened by the fact that they were together.

Gus was a very special dog. If he had been a person, he would've been a poet, sensitive as an ant's antennae, lovely as a monarch butterfly. To us he was the epitome of papillon beauty: graceful, a little willowy yet masculine,and with the unmistakable bright intelligence of the breed. He didn't have a coarse bone in his body yet he always struck me as much larger than he was. He was of a type that defied fashions and fads, not flashy, but balanced and elegant. And he loved to show off.

Always polite to everyone, there is a small group of people with whom Gus shared his heart. He continued to adore Karen, he loved Ellie and Steve and me. But he
was without doubt, a once in a lifetime dog for Mark. An irreplaceable force, a true true friend.

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