Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted June 17, 2016
First off, as a disclaimer, Gilbert was primarily my dad's dog. That said, Gilbert was something special. He was rescued as a senior, with a light limp, a droopy lip from some teeth that had to be pulled, and scars on his face. If dogs could talk, Gilbert could have told you stories for days. The woman who fostered him actually went to his shelter to pick up another dog, saw him, drove halfway home, and turned around to get him because there was just something special about Gilbert.
Ask anyone who ever met Gilbert. There was just something special about him. There was something in his eyes that seemed to grab you and say "I know. And I'm here."
He was a sweet, companionate, personable old dog who loved food, would do a little dance for a treat, and stuck to my father like glue. He loved everybody, yes, but he and my father bonded instantly.
This proved to be a good thing, as my father has heart problems and Gilbert had mini-strokes that were, sadly, what eventually ended his life. While Gilbert was alive and well, his strokes were infrequent and, when he recovered, actually made Gilbert seem to appreciate his life even more. He was lively and made my father go walk with him. He also innately sensed when my father had chest pains and wouldn't leave Dad alone until he saw the doctor. Smart dog!
He was the indisputable patriarch of my family's pack of beagles, but was always very gentle with them and they returned the favor. When his health wasn't the best, the other three would actively stay with him and protect him--he was that special to them as well.
Even as people came in and out of the house, he remembered them and was just as friendly to them when they came back as if they had never left.
Sadly, in April 2016, he had a series of much worse strokes that left him paralyzed and unhappy. My family made the difficultrip but humane decision to let him go and stop suffering. But to this day, we all agree: there was something special about that dog. He touched everyone in just two years, and despite the sad ending, he is a true senior dog adoption success story. We would adopt another senior in a heartbeat.