I am dedicating this entry to our beloved Gabby, who today, turned 5 years old, but still has the nub-wagging, bum-shaking exuberance of a puppy. Gabby came to us when she was just 14 months old. For some crazy reason, we had decided 4 cats weren't enough and we needed to add a dog to this chaotic mix. And so sweet Gabby, this is a love letter to you~
You've been with us four out of your five years here on this earth, and not a day goes by that we don't think that your presence has enriched our lives every moment of those four years. Even when you're naughty, which I'll get to later.
I remember what felt like kismet in how you were brought into our lives, and how we were allowed to 'try you out' for the weekend--Labor Day weekend of 2007. We took you hiking with us in New Hampshire. By the end of the day, you were exhausted, sprawled out in the backseat of my car, and I knew I wouldn't be able to give you up. You were ours.
I remember your first night home with us, Terry working late, and you did NOT like your crate. So I slept with you, hugging you on the floor of our apartment. And then when T came through the door late, I knew you'd always protect me, as you barreled forward, your deep startled bark probably waking the neighbors.
You needed some training. You were, well, a little nutty. Not in a bad way, but you are a Rottweiler after all, so even though you are a lovebug, you needed some basic obedience. You and I went for six Thursdays, where you splendidly became a quick learner and followed everything I commanded. You also mastered the Gentle Leader, which has since become our favorite training tool. (No people, it is NOT a muzzle. Sheesh)
It wasn't long before you embedded yourself fully into our lives and hearts. You became my shadow; my backseat copilot. My buddy to take everywhere and do everything with. Remember getting up at 6am and driving to the dog park for half an hour of play before work. I do! Suffice to say, the kit-tehs were less than thrilled by your arrival. I think they are still wondering when you're going to leave. Except Winston. You somehow managed to make him love you. (A common tailless nub bond, perhaps?) I still find it amazing that you won't walk down the hall if you know big, bad Franklin is blocking your way.
We soon discovered your love of swimming--whether a shallow pond in NH, to the icy winter waters of the ocean, or by launching yourself from a rock to get that tennis ball we threw into Acadia's "Bowl". You love the beach. You love to run and you somehow make your 80lb self look graceful and gazelle-like in doing so. With you, we have explored so many places that turned into favorites. Gabs, you may not remember the first time we took you camping, but we do.
It was, of course, at our favorite serene Mt. Desert Campground in Somes Sound. You waited patiently as we set up camp, exploring every nook and cranny surrounding our site. How your nose must have been in overdrive! So many new smells! We set up the air mattress and that night, expected you'd sleep on your LL Bean dog mat. No sooner had we settled precariously onto the mattress, you launched yourself smack dab in the middle, nearly sending us both flying into the sides of the tent. You readjusted until YOU were comfortable and there you stayed. Of course, that's when I learned that you make *the* best blanket ever. We never get to experience that at home since the kitties own the bed. You make everything fun.
You do have your quirks. As much as you love water, you hate rain. Especially wet grass. You're stubborn and willful. (But then again, so am I) You seem to sometimes have selective hearing. You have an incontinence issue that comes with being a spayed female. Isn't being a girl tough?
You have your naughty moments. You've eaten entire sticks of butter, wrapping too, that were meant to just be softening on the counter. If we're cooking and need to drain fat from say, ground beef, we can't leave the bowls out or you'll slurp them down, giving us a greasy smile of satisfaction while you smack your lips. You are a carb hound. You love pizza crusts. You love finishing our DQ ice cream cups. You adore a Jordan Pond House popover.
But you have healthy habits too. You know the moment I split open a freshly ripened avocado. You suck down cantaloupe. Your soulful gaze doesn't waver when you're watching us eat, hoping that the even the smallest crumb hits the floor. You've found that Gman has learned to 'feed' you from his highchair and you stick close to him at all meal times, not yet bored with soggy Cheerios or graham crackers.
You're G's biggest fan. If we let you, you'd lick him up one side and down the other. You're gentle and sweet and maybe sometimes slightly overeager, but you're the one he gives his smiles away for free to. And you're the one who was the recipient of his first 'Mama'. You've been so patient this last year, as our routine had to change due to this tiny, sometimes loud, being that all of a sudden demanded all of our attention.
I remember, especially during the long cold winter, you looking at me, with those warm chocolate eyes, as if to say, "Ma, I'm bored. Why aren't we meeting Buckley and his Human at the field for some ball play?" What can I say? I couldn't bring out my 7 month old for an hour or two of dog play when it was 15 degrees out. But I understood, Gabs. I always understood.
Guess what, tho, Gabs?! It's summer! In a couple days, we'll be in our favorite place; where you will no doubt, as you have for the past four summers, reign supreme as the Belle of Bar Harbor. You will get to swim at the Bowl, strut down Main Street, splash in the fountains, and be admired by all. And then it will officially be summer, and the Gman will be able to toddle around, while we resume our play dates for you and your buds. I promise.
So happy birthday, sweet girl. And here's wishing we have at least 5 more happy years with you ahead of us. We love you.