Gabe 2003 - 6/21/2007

Gabe came to our little rescue kennel on a beautiful summer day. He was found in Powhatan by a family that we knew that volunteered with Henrico Humane and already had three dogs of their own. We took Gabe into our group and he soon became a favorite with his antics and his sweet disposition. He loved to steal other dog’s belongings and would refuse to give them up; it didn’t matter if it was a blanket, a toy or a leash. The girls that volunteered and worked there soon learned to wear two shirts so that when he grabbed a sleeve of the shirt they would not be shirtless.

We brought him a huge stuffed Sponge Bob and his eyes lit up and he attacked it. I don’t know who enjoyed it more - us watching him shred it to pieces or him.

He opened gates with little effort and would escape every chance he got. He loved it when an unknowing person would open the gate and come into his play area. They immediately became the toy. He would pull their coat andtheir shoe strings and try to remove articles of clothing. My one regret is that we did not get a video of these episodes. It would have been too difficult to run a camera when you are hysterical with laughter.

He was not found of cats and one day he burst thru the door and grabbed up one of the older cats that were housed at the kennel. I called him very loudly; he turned around and laid the furious cat on my lap. I still have the scars on my legs from that day. He looked at me, with a quizzical look in his eyes that said, “Well you must have wanted the cat.”

The time came for him to be adopted. When I left him at his new home, he burst thru the back door and ran to the fence and cried and so did I. It was one of the hardest adoptions that I have completed. One of the stipulations with this special guy was that the owners had to keep in touch with us and they routinely sent pictures and emails. In February 2007 Gabe became very ill; he seemed to recover and then relapsed in April. It was decided that he be returned to us so that we could find him the best medical treatment available. He arrived by transport and was in very bad shape. He had approximately 25 lbs of fluid in his abdomen and he could barely stand up. This was the first of several trips to local veterinarians.

He was diagnosed with PLE Protein Losing Enterapathies. There is little known about the disease and the outcome is usually fatal. We were determined to do all we could to save this very special guy. He was put on a variety of medicines, special food and the fluid was drained. He seemed weaker but still mischievous, still our Gabe. He had started to gain weight again and appeared to be in a stable condition. His large frame that used to be over 70 pounds was now so thin it was hard to pet him other than his head, the disease had left him weighing under 50 lbs, but the spirit was all Gabe.

He went into the emergency veterinarian on June 12, 2007 for his routine blood work and to check his progress. When I picked him up, he was bouncing off the walls playing tug of war with his leash and kissing everyone there. During the day his food and water was withheld therefore his medicine was also withheld, in his weakened condition he rapidly deteriorated, He was taken to another local veterinarian and was these off and on for the next week often refusing to eat and in typical Gabe fashion would turn over the bowl as if covering up whatever was offered to him. On June 21 2007, he looked up at me shaking and refusing to eat, and I knew this special, sweet, wonderful guy was giving up his fight. I took him back to the place where he had spent most of the past week and it was decided among all who love him that he would not survive the day. Several of the people that had loved and cared for him came to give him one last hug and to tell him what a sweet boy he had been and he smiled at us as he died in my arms.

Being in rescue is rewarding and heartbreaking. The animals that need us, come and go and most are adopted into loving homes. Some of them stay a short, while others stay in our hearts forever, Gabe was a very lucky boy to have so many pulling for him and loving him. Needless to say he will not be forgotten.

Thanks for all who assisted in his return to us and to all who donated for his medical and prayed for him and to all who came to give him one last hug.

If you would like to help AARF with his medical bills, click here.