Last week my parents’ sweet dog Gideon passed away. His breed, Great Pyrenees, is nicknamed the Gentle Giants. That nickname perfectly describes Gideon and his precious personality (and impressive 150 lb weight). He was a happy guy – always smiling and putting his paw up for us to hold.
His happiest memories were in my parents’ backyard. Rolling around in big dirt piles and sleeping in the shade. He had lots of backyard friends – the squirrels that would taunt him as they scurried across the top of the fence, the (live) mole he carried around in his mouth until my dad rescued the rodent, the skunk that sprayed him one year on Christmas day. But his favorite times in the backyard were when we’d be out there playing with him. He played defense during many of our family backyard basketball games, ate a few of our croquet mallets, and loved catching sticks and Frisbees that we threw his way. In one of our favorite memories of him, he got stuck in the swing set. Like in a swing. Swinging and howling as his legs kicked underneath him. He earned the affectionate name of Gideon the Gideot after this incident.
I’m going home to Indiana to visit my parents this weekend and it will be the first time since my dad brought him home that Gideon won’t be there to greet me with his big goofy smile and giant white paws. A bittersweet reminder of the unconditional love that few humans can offer us but that we always have from our pets.
We’ll miss you big guy!