by Toik
(Walpole Island, Ontario, Canada)

Most people thought Gum was an unusual name but it fit him because he was small and white and everybody liked him. And we almost lost him a lot earlier when a much larger dog picked him up and chewed him. He had to walk around with straws protruding from his torso so the skin could heal back onto his torso while water slowly dripped away. By the way he rebounded from that, I knew he had a strong love for life. My late father picked him out from a litter of chihuahuas he saw advertized. He was the whitest one and it was almost as if he was the one doing the choosing. My father had one year with Gum before he passed on, leaving Gum with my mother. It was easy for everyone to see he was choosing again, this time with both my mother and myself. My mother loved him until it was time for her to join my father and there was no doubt he was going to live with me next. Although I was never really a pet person at the time, he grew on me much more than I even realized and soon he became the focus of all my attention. I took him with me all over and we would walk all the urban parking lots and country parks together, Gum happily bouncing behind me. Our little escapades made those days the happiest memories I ever had. As he grew older, he became the most popular dog in and around my neighborhood. All the other dogs came to respect him too and left him alone to go where ever he chose. It wasn't unusual at all to see my siblings and friends coming to visit him before me. His strong love for life kept him around for more years than any other pet, he was well into his 18th year when things started turning around for him. I guessed it started dawning on me when I saw that he was sleeping longer and more often. Other age related things started happening too with the cloudiness in his eyes and his weak hind quarters and loss of balance. Everybody knew the inevitable, but God wanted me to make the call while I waited for Him to. Bar none, this was the absolute hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. Ever. We had one last walk in the park together before the appointed day and my heart started to break, something I never experienced before. Every fibre of my being was crying out not to do it but I knew it was my love for him that prevented me from being that selfish. On that day I felt like a death row prisoner making his final walk, everything seeming so surreal. Gum was ever trusting, even when they put the intravenus in his leg and place him in my arms. He died in my arms along with the biggest part of my heart. My head felt so much like a bag of wet cement, it hurt. My voice became so choked up I couldn't make a sound. I would hurt for many many days after that but I knew he was in a happier body in a happier place with his first two owners, and waiting for his last one. It's been about a month or two since we parted, but with little scenes running throughout my mind of him and myself, and others to keep me going I can't help but appreciate the time I got to spend with him in this world and anxiously wait until we can meet again. I snapped a picture of him in the clouds not too long ago. Everybody I show that picture to can see him also. Now its his turn to be looking down to me. I love you so much, Gum. I feel your presence everywhere I go. It's going to be a great day on that rainbow bridge when I can hug you once again.....

Comments for Gum

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Nov 21, 2013
by: Toik

Diane, Doreen, Greg
Thank you for all your kind words. They really mean a lot and go a long way in comforting me. You are absolutely correct in everything you offered me. I know because of you that I can remember Gum now in a happier light, which is good because there hasn't a day gone by that I haven't thought about him. Good luck, lots of love and happiness for each of you in your travels as there now is in mine. Thanks again.

Nov 14, 2013
Beautiful Gum
by: Diane

I'm so glad you were there to comfort Gum on his way to the Rainbow Bridge, even though it broke your heart. Thank you for not letting him suffer.He was a big part of your life and only time will help you with your grief. We are here to help you in any way we can, we understand your anguish because we too have experienced this great loss. He would not want you to remember him with sorrow, but with joy at the great love and memories you two shared. I'm awed at how long you had him in your care, I would wish for every animal to have this time to spend here on earth. Take care and keep busy, bless you for loving so much. RIP beautiful Gum!

Nov 13, 2013
by: Doreen UK

Toik I am sorry for your loss of both your parents and also for GUM. I enjoyed your story reading of your journey with Gum. He was a very special dog. I am so happy for you having had those precious memories you will have FOREVER. I wasn't a pet person until my youngest daughter got talked into having 2 cockatiels by her brother as he had an African Grey and a Cockatoo. Well those 2 became 4 and then 4 became 7 and 4 babies came and then 2 lovebirds and I had to take care of them all. I enjoyed the experience like no other. Best memories and experience. I ADORE BIRDS. I would be happy living in the middle of an aviary with birds flying over my head. It broke my heart when I lost the first bird. Then the second flew out of the cage. The 2 lovebirds could not stay in the same cage as the cockatiels so we separated them. then Ben one of the lovebirds got an infection in his eye and went blind. I watched him struggle to climb the cage. I then took him out and put him in my hands and told him I loved him and then he died in my hands. That was the most painful moment at that time for me. We then gave the remaining love bird to an aviary. My husband didn't like the birds but my husband was dying of cancer and this was a good diversion for me. Before my husband died of cancer I gave the birds to a rescue service so the birds had a better place to fly in and all the space they needed for their happiness. It broke my heart but I had to let them go for them and not for Me. I still have the good memories and the bad ones but still happy for the experience. Thank you for telling your story. It blessed me. May God be with Gum and you see him again.

Nov 12, 2013
what dogs do
by: greg

"Dear God, please let me be the person my dog thinks I am".

How these creatures grow into the center of people and the hole they leave when they go confounds me.

Gum sounds like he found a fine family he could part of for a long time.

My condolences on your loss, God bless and take care.


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