subscribe: Posts | Comments      Facebook      Email Steve

Remembering Gus, after 6 months


IT’S BEEN exactly six months since Gus died on that sunny Tuesday morning, Dec. 1, 2020, when I lost my constant companion of the preceding ten years.

He was an exceptionally cute little dog, with a sweet disposition, the sort that strangers on the street would stop to pat. This is Gus when he was very young.

We were at the UPS Store, picking up my wine, and Gus would watch everything from the countertop.

When I got my job at Jackson Family Wines, in 2012, I took it only on the condition that I could bring Gus with me on my work travels. We crisscrossed California wine country. Here he is at the Red House, in Bien Nacido Vineyard,

and here he is at the opposite side of the state, in the Siskiyous, experiencing snow for the first and last time.

Of course, Gus had the usual doggie disabilities. He hated the Cone of Shame.

But he never complained. Here was his one and only time on a skateboard.

I first noticed the bleeding in November of last year. I thought his paw was injured, but the vet examined him and said, No, it’s not his paw. She took him into another room while I waited and then she came back and said he had a very aggressive form of cancer in his jaw. She gave him several weeks to a few months, and some pain killers. He was in good shape for about three weeks, sniffing and peeing and eating and sleeping and sitting in my lap. But then I noticed his increasing lethargy and while his appetite was undiminished he seemed to be losing his zest for life. I had wondered how I would know when it was time to have him put down, but as long as he was happy and pain-free there was no point in doing it. But then a day came and I knew. I had a prearrangement with the euthanizer. It was at the height of the pandemic and the vet wouldn’t come inside my house so we did it outside. Here’s the last picture ever of us.

It was taken by my friend, Gina, who stayed with me during the procedure. I don’t know that I could have endured it without her.

The vet injected him and as the drugs passed into his blood Gus lost consciousness in my arms, and there he died. The vet took him away and Gina and I walked around the neighborhood. I did most of the talking. A few weeks later Gus’s remains came back to me in the mail.

Winter set in, dry and cold. The New Year came. The pandemic made everything horrible. With nothing to do, nowhere to go, I was stuck at home, memories of Gus everywhere.

And now, June 1, 2021. Winter is over; the pandemic seems to be, too. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of Gus. The first month after his death was unbearable, the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I was inconsolable. Now, the tears don’t come so often, and while the pain remains, what’s even stronger is this feeling of gratefulness, for having had this remarkable, loving, sacred creature in my life.

Leave a Reply


Recent Comments

Recent Posts