The Great, Gallant, Gentle Gage is Gone (sniff)

This is a very hard blog to write. Gage was not your average pet, nor your average dog. He was one of those dogs they write stories about. He wasn't much for playing. Instead, he was a very loving, attentive, loyal family member. He also was a beautiful old-style purebred German Shepherd like they used to make - before they got over bred and started having the hip dysplasia issue a few decades ago. Perfect markings. I don't think he even had bad breath. His only bad habit was wandering the neighborhood. Even that habit came in handy a time or two.

Apparently Denny (as well as some other kids of mine. I have nothing against dogs, I just already had 5 kids and a dog is too much like another kid) wanted a dog so the minute I booted him over to his dad's house he went dog hunting. He said he went to the pound regularly, for months, waiting for the right one. The last time he went there was a person surrendering two young German Shepherds. One had already been adopted and when Denny saw Gage I guess something just clicked. Denny, in the comments below ("cat hacked up hairballs") can you please share what it was that made you know that Gage was "the one"? So I'm guessing that Gage maybe never even got to see the inside of one of their pitiful cages. Denny was on the way home from work in his big flatbed so apprehensively he allowed the large, unfamiliar dog to ride in the cab with him. He didn't want to take the chance of leaving him there and possibly losing him to another adopter. He wasn't sure how the ride home would be but Gage entered this family the right way, he simply laid on the seat with his head in Denny's lap. And the rest, as they history.

Early on, when Denny was living in Pacific with his dad and the rest of us would come to visit we each created our own relationship with our first member of the next generation. Rachyl would take him for a walk, Tony gave him a treat and I got on the floor and wrestled with him. I don't remember my initial reaction when I first met Gage but I know it was positive because I had a German Shepherd mix growing up. I loved that dog and still have the warm fuzzies when I meet one out and about. I remember when I was introducing my last husband to my kids I was down on the floor, wrestling with Gage, which involved doggy moans and grumbles and open mouth on my hands and arms. Rick was incredulous, he watched with large eyes, probably figuring I was nuts to trust this beautiful, large German Shepherd with my life and limbs.But he soon learned that this was one of the greatest family-oriented pets ever. They should have named him Lassie!

A few years ago Kevin and my half brother, Mark were living across the street from Denny. Kevin had been trying to collect some utility money from Mark and after many lame excuses Kevin became more insistent and Mark got in his face. Shirley began to shriek and that was heard easily across the street so when Denny and Heather opened the door to see what was going on Gage took the bull by the horns and simply ran across the street, got Mark down on the ground and just stood on him until things cooled off. I always knew that he was that kind of dog. I remember warning Denny that when Hunter got bigger to watch Gage if they were ever out and someone approached tried to approach Hunter. I was afraid the dog would get overly protective. What he ended up doing, though, in this case was perfect - no violence, just warnings and getting things under control.

Another time Denny and Heather were tied up helping with a dead vehicle on their property and no one was watching Taylor, who was then about 3 (we've all made a mistake like this, no judging). She wandered off and it was getting dark and a panic was starting to set in when they realized she was gone and they got out to look for her. But right away they found good old Gage following her. They had gotten to the other side of the block but with that big dog with her, Taylor was just fine. I pity the fool that would try to approach her with Gage by her side!

When Denny moved on to my street Gage already knew where I lived and loved to wander the neighborhood. I would spot him and call his name and he'd get the guilty look and head back home, sometimes without me even having to tell him. When Denny would come around Gage always came along and just loved to do his business, vigorously wipe his paws and then run like the wind in grandma's back yard! I have a bigger yard than Denny's and he was always in sight, I think he enjoyed the room and security at the same time.

Heather had an adorable pink tabby named Lili that was adopted just before Gage. So she had seniority and Gage had no problem with that. I believe that when they were both young they played together under the stairs in the Pacific house. That dog and cat loved each other. But the strange kitty always preferred dog foot to cat food so they eventually got to a place where they ate together. Actually they shared a bowl and Gage would let Lili go first. So when Lili died suddenly in 2013 of a spider bite Gage couldn't eat. He kept waiting for Lili to go first. I seem to recollect this went on long enough that he started to lose weight and they were worried about him.

Gage went everywhere with the family. He was in our family photos. He came with us to our trips to Ocean Shores, Lily lake and other camping trips. One year we took him to Lily lake before Denny could come out (he had to work) and that poor dog just laid in the shade and moped, he missed his people.

Oh, and Gage loved his chickens.

We all knew that his demise would be hard to swallow but someday would have to be faced. Unfortunately it finally came on Thursday, March 16. Even in this he was the perfect dog. Denny had no idea how to decide when to put the poor failing doggy down and his last morning he actually gave Denny a pleading look, he gave him permission to let him go. So the arrangements were already made, they just had to wait for the vet. She came out and apparently was very good at her job. She explained to the kids in simple terms what was going to happen. Gage didn't have to have a trip to the vet's office as his last memory. He was in his living room with his family. They were all around him, I imagine they were all softly talking to him, reassuring him, saying their goodbyes. After Gage was gone the vet went out to her vehicle and brought in a stretcher and blanket. They wrapped Gage in the blanket with his head out, put him on the stretcher and carried him out to have his body cremated. His ashes were going to be given to them and they will do what they will with them. She got some of his fur and a paw print in a mold for the family to remember him by. I was so happy to hear that he left this life in as respectful a manner as he earned, being the nearly perfect doggy that he was. Rest in peace dear, dear doggy.

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About Me

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After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.