No better time like the present to get Gertie’s bio written. It will be 2 years since she moved in, after all.
It’s been a long, strange trip for Gertie.
Here’s the short version:
An apparent domestic upheaval split Gert’s original family between Arizona and the east coast. Further issues occurred with the family member remaining local. Gert and Pablo were left(?), abandoned(?), surrendered(?), tied to a tree at a local McDonalds. They had been there all day when Crabby beat Animal Control in picking them up. That was June, 2014.
Let’s pause for a flash forward: Gertie’s east coast family reached out a year later and informed me that Gertie was 13 (then) and not the generic and regular 10 year old estimate of all foundling senior dogs.
OK, now let’s flash back again – to 2014. Gert Gert was clearly old, was generally sluggish, and had difficulty moving. For that reason, and those of you who follow this blog will agree, Run A Muck Ranch was NOT the place for her. You can’t drop a Fine Old Dame on the island of The Lord of the Flies and expect it to end well! Gertie got a courtesy post on a local senior dog rescue site. Of course no one was interested.
For my part, I made sure Gertie was well cared for. She got her 2 squares a day, scritches, pets, hugs and of course her evening Old Lady Plumbing Walks. All the while I wished she lived somewhere else. Being Mom to Slugger is a full time job as it is! Being Mom to Slugger + 11 other Idiots, and Sarah was exhausting. I really didn’t have the juice to incorporate the special needs of a giant, uber senior into the mix!
Then came that fateful day in October, 2014. Gertie was in a bad way. We were at the vet within 2 hours. An hour later, the recommendation was to put her down. Even if we could afford the costly additional tests, chances were (emphasis added) she probably (emphasis again) wouldn’t respond to the treatment. With dogs in Gertie’s situation (yup, emphasis again), the best thing to do would be to let her go.
Those emphasis statements aren’t exactly quotes from the vet, but they were the general gist of what he said. I’m not sure what you make of them, but what I heard was Gertie wasn’t worth it. I then deduced that Gertie had deteriorated to that point because, well, what reason could she possibly have to stick around? Sure, she was well cared for, but no one cared for her.
I declined on letting Gertie go that day. Actually, that was the very day I made Gertie my own. I would no longer be her caretaker. From that day forward I would be her mom.
That’s all it took. It’s 2016 now and even with Gertie’s worsening arthritis (especially when I let her get too heavy) she is scores better than she was the day Crabby brought her and Satan’s Cheewawa home back in 2014.
Gertie has forgiven me for not being a mom those first few months. She knows she’s my Lady now. We have a daily routine for just about everything. No worries about shirking my responsibilities because if the appointed time arrives, and I am not already making the necessary preparations, Gertie WILL remind me, including but not limited to, the 1:30am, written in stone, does not vary EVER, pee.
Sarah used to be the only source of intelligent conversation for Gertie, but when Sare Bear passed away, it became Gertie and The Horde and she seems pretty content with the situation. She will play with Morty. She accepts Marcy’s worship. She shares dog beds with pretty much all of the others. And she is as mystified as we are as to how someone as stupid as Slugger could possibly exist.
Gertie is patient, kind, so very loving and has a beautiful smile. She absolutely loves meeting people, new and old, and has no issues with inserting herself into the personal space of anyone.
Gertie knows she has nothing to worry about anymore, but sometimes if she wakes up and I’m not in the room with her, she gets a little nervous. It used to be she would shuffle from room to room looking for me, but that got old pretty fast. Now, she just barks. She knows 1 or 2 thunderous roars are enough to bring me running.
A few tid bits about The Gert Gert:
She sleeps with her eyes open. On more than one occasion, I found her in a deep, barely breathing sleep, and thought she was dead.
She is completely deaf. She could be sleeping (with her eyes open of course) and the rest of The Horde decides to start a mosh pit within inches of her and she will not so much as stir. (And you wonder why I thought she was dead a few times!).
After every meal, Gertie must wash her face. If there is nothing else available, the closest human leg will do.
I have never known a dog who loved a hug as much as Gertie. Doesn’t matter who the hugger is, a hug is a hug and Gertie loves it.
Gertie doesn’t move like a dog. Rather, she moves like a Standardbred (horse) pacer. In her mind, she’s racing like the wind, but to the casual onlooker, it’s a little old lady shuffle. Which brings me to one of my favorite Gertie stories:
Once, while I was talking to a neighbor during one of Gertie’s evening walks, a lady on a horse passed by. I didn’t pay any attention until the lady called over to me – kid you not:
“Is your dog chasing us?” she asked, watching Gertie, with great concentration, pacing up the road after her.
“Yup” I said – not concerned that Gertie would ever catch up.
After a short pause the lady called back “Should I slow down?”.
If a person on horseback offers to slow down to allow a chasing dog to catch up, you just know there’s something about the dog.
There is a serious disadvantage to bringing a super senior dog into your heart: There will never be enough days. But there is an even worse disadvantage to not giving a super senior a chance: You don’t have any days.
We knew going in Gertie wouldn’t be with us very long in the scheme of things. But rather than focus on time, we focus on times – as in the good ones.
Here’s hoping there are many more to come!