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The Sweetest Boy

The Sweetest Boy

The Sweetest Boy

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Nor am I ready to share that my sweet, silly, smushy boy crossed the rainbow bridge on January 7th. Because of Gavin’s endless adoration and immeasurable devotion, my sense of self is more profound than the last time I navigated the grieving process and tricky emotional terrain that is giving the dog I’ve loved deeply with my heart and soul for years the peaceful passing he deserves.

Gavin loved everyone, openly and easily, often preceding my apologies as he wiggled and whacked them with his whip-tail. Because he spread joy and love, no matter how hard his body raged against him, I have a stronger connection to my in-real-life-support system. Gavin illuminated generosity, humor, and kindness in the people I love most, always-there-attributes that I may have missed without his light.  

In my bravest moments, in recent weeks, I’m finding comfort, even laughter, in some of the many lessons I’ve learned from my amazing Gavin Goobs, Soul Man, Twerpinator, Heart Boy, Turd Butt, Sweet Little Dude, and the plethora of other nicknames of the dog who made me smile, even during otherwise mundane moments.

Never a morning creature, it took lots of smooches, snuggles, and “sweet boy, it’s time to get up, time to eat your herbies, time go to Nanny’s” on my kitchen mornings. Once I discovered that if I called my mom and put her on speaker phone, he’d happily stretch and sleepily squirm towards the steps. Then, he’d slither down one stair at a time, nuzzling my face while I sat beside him and simultaneously scooted down and nuzzled him back. Our morning routine became a ritual I relished. 

Gavin took napping and sleeping seriously, always dramatically unmaking beds (thanks, mom and Trent, for laughing about him digging and burrowing in your sheets).

When we’d settle in for the night, Gavin would sit up and stare at me, waiting for me to lift the covers so he could “go underground,” as I called it, as he nestled against me with every inch of his body. The instant I fell asleep, Gavin would get too hot and rustle, then buck like a bronco to get out from the under the covers, slide out of bed, then emphatically sigh as he stretched out on his dog bed, farting and snoring through the night.

Always willing to express himself, if I wasn’t ready for a walk the instant Gavin was, he’d roll around on his back and make Tasmanian devil sounds. And, when we arrived at my mom’s house every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Gavin would pretend to protest his stay by grumbling and rubbing his butt against her armchair with such fervor it’d be halfway across the room when he crawled into her bed for his pre-breakfast nap.

I’m trying to tell myself that my heart’s not broken. It’s cracked open. Yet, when you’ve loved and lost, you know, there’s no way around, only through.

Cancer sucks, and Live Like Roo was there for us when I still wasn’t paying myself a salary, lost my first business to COVID, and had to put one of Gavin’s-far-too-many surgeries on a credit card. So, in honor of the dog who helped me find more love, compassion, patience, and gentleness than I ever thought I had inside me, I’m donating 10% of our profits for the next week to the Live Like Roo Foundation (in addition to our always-available-pouch-matching-program). So, please either donate to them directly, or if you need to re-stock your dog(s)’ favorite recipes, I’ll pay it forward until January 27th.

I hope my sweet, I’ll-always-miss boy is smiling down at me for doing so and wiggling with delight at my small deed.

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