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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gabriel Felix

Gabriel Felix Howe
February, 1997-July 7, 2014 


I don’t have words for the emptiness.  Gabriel Felix has ceased from his suffering.  Yesterday was a hard day for me.  Gable wasn’t walking except for a few feet then he would slowly collapse onto his side. He stopped eating Sunday and would only drink water.  Yesterday he would stand over the bowl and lap a few times then look at it as he slowly slid down to his belly. 
I carried him with me when I went any place because otherwise he still tried to follow the pattern of years and follow me.  Wherever I went he was always with me.  If I went to the kitchen, he was there. If I sat in the den he was beside me or on my lap.  If I sat on the deck, he was right there lying in the sun.  For meals, he was beside me.  If I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night he got out of bed and went with me.   These past days, he was too weak to follow me all the way but he’d go as far as he could and collapse until he’d regained his strength.  So I carried him.
For the last three days he couldn’t walk out in the yard to potty.  I would carry him out and put him down on the ground.   He would stagger a few feet and lay down or potty then stagger a bit farther.  The last night he was with me, he wanted out at 4:00 in the morning.  I carried him out and sat on the deck with him until he’d walked around a bit and fell in the grass.  He liked laying in the grass.   Finally he was all the way to the fence and could go no farther.  Using my phone light I trekked across the yard in my bare feet and nightgown in the dark to pick him up and carry him in.
And that was OK because I loved him.
The vet, when he saw him, knew immediately from the odor that Gable had kidney failure. He said it was time to end the suffering.  And I knew that.  It is just that I’ll miss him so much.
Last night I woke up in a little panic twice thinking I had slept past the time when I needed to take him out. The first time I was about to get up before I realized he was gone. The next time it was storming and before I was entirely awake I thought he would get wet and cold.   Then I looked across at the empty bed and remembered he was gone.
It was strange this morning, letting only three dogs out.  And when they came back in it took a minute to remember that I didn’t need to look for Gabriel because he wasn’t there
For almost seventeen years, if he had a choice, he was with me—on my lap, standing in my shadow, lying down beside my chair at dinner, following me when I walked laps around the yard.  He went to New Mexico with me until he was too old to make the trip comfortably. 
When he was a puppy he went to day care with me.  He was so cute and even his toys were tiny.  The staff would bring him little balls and stuffed animals even though he already had several; the floor of my office was littered with puppy toys.   Kids and staff vied for the chance to take him out to potty.  Or just take him for a walk.  Peggy Miller took him out with her for a smoke break, the children would come and ask if he could go to the playground with them.   Sometimes I had to say that he’d just been out and had to rest. 
All sorts of events went through Gable’s life, but he was content as long as he was with me.
And now my life goes on without him. 
Gabriel, I’ll miss you.