When Amber told me she and John were adopting a greyhound, I wasn't sure what to expect. The first time I met Gable, in their small one bedroom apartment, I was shocked by his size.
Tall and lean. Towering over Lily, who isn't a small dog herself.
Knowing his background as a racing dog, I approached slowly, gently.
He backed away, anxious.
He followed Amber everywhere those first weeks. She wanted a companion while John worked the overnight shift, and Gaby provided that instantly.
I laugh remembering the first time I took him for a walk. He wasn't too sure of me yet, but once I held his leash and asked "Want to go for a walk Gable?" he happily let me put the leash on.
Out we went. Gable already appeared to have a certain route in his mind. When I tried to go a different way, he let me know, quite clearly. He stopped like a statue, not budging an inch, no matter how much I tried to convince him.
Needless to say, I went the way Gaby wanted to go, hoping I could eventually get him back to the house.
This became a pattern with us. We became close. He was my first grand dog. If he wanted to go out, I took him. If he wanted a treat, I gave it.
The joys of being Grammy.
Sadly, Gable spent the first years of his life mostly in a cage, being confined and probably abused with one goal in mind- human entertainment. Each pup in his litter was given a name based on a Clint Eastwood Movie. Gaby's official name was "Unforgiven."
I cringed when I heard that. Certainly not a name worthy of such an awesome dog- no way was he "Unforgiven."
That name was forgotten and replaced with a bunch of goofy nicknames like "Shibby" "Gablaroni" or "Awkward Jenkins."
In spite of his past, when Gable was given the chance to have a new beginning, he took it with an open heart. Amber said, almost immediately after getting him, he no longer wanted anything to do with his crate. Some greyhounds only feel secure in them, but Gaby appreciated his new found freedom, choosing to sleep instead on a comfy bed next to his parents.
The more pillows or blankets, the better for him. Greyhounds are so lean and bony, that having plenty of cushion helps them to be comfortable.
The morning of January 2nd I took Gable out for a walk.
On our way back to the apartment he did his sweet little prance. We walked in step together, as I stroked him between his ears and told him how much I loved him.
I didn't know it would be our last walk together.
I don't want to share the details of his unexpected death. It was painful for him and for Amber and John. And it was only the last few hours of his life. A life that touched so many.
Instead, I celebrate his life. The joy he brought to those who he embraced with his gentleness.
As I laid on Amber and John's couch looking up at the beautiful black and white photo Amber has of him on the wall, I thought of what Gaby taught me...
That if you have a chance for a do-over, a new beginning... Go for it, with all your heart.
Thank you boy.
Rest in peace. We will see you on the other side.
Lily and Gable were best friends. Taking them out to walk together was no small feat, but I loved doing it. We referred to them as "ebony and ivory!"