If you follow me on FB, you may have heard me speak of my “spirit dog,” Gabriella. Well, she’s not just some voodoo dog that I made up. She was an actual dog that I rescued from a pet store in San Mateo, California sometime in the 1980s.
The pet store was located in a mall whose anchor store was Bullocks, a place I shopped often. The mall entrance I used was close to the pet store and I would generally stop and look at all the puppies they had in their windows that were for sale. One day I saw this sweet salt & pepper miniature schnauzer. She was “on sale,” most likely because one of her cropped ears had a large half moon bite taken out of it. I brought her home that very day.
At that time I already had one mini schnauzer, my sweet Dilsey who was I’m guessing about 3-4 years old. Gaby became a part of our household and moved with us from Foster City to the hills of San Carlos.
When Dilsey was ten, she developed cancer and passed on. I was devastated. After a few months, I purchased a puppy from a mini schnauzer breeder – my beloved, Raison d’être. We moved from our San Carlos townhome to our first real house in Belmont. By then, I had 4 schnauzers: Gaby, Raison, Sneakers, and Booh.
When Gaby was eleven, she suddenly got sick. In the middle of the night, I rushed her to my vet which was open 24/7. At two in the morning, I got a call from them. She was diagnosed with hemolytic anemia.
She was put in intensive care and I visited her regularly after work. Around 3-4 days into her hospitalization, I decided to leave work early so I could spend more time with her. I called the vet, but they told me they preferred that I came after five. Reluctantly, I agreed. When I got to Adobe Animal Clinic, instead of being told to go right on back, I was instructed to take a seat. My heart pounded. What was going on?
Dr. O’Day, my vet, came out and knelt down beside my chair. My baby girl had gone into cardiac arrest and passed while I was on the road to come see her. They took me back to a room where she was laid out. She did not look like herself. Her spirit was gone. All that was left was a shell. I was heartbroken, angry, and full of guilt. If I had gone to the clinic early as I had planned, I might have been able to hold her as she went on her final journey.
I was inconsolable. I had held Dilsey when she passed and to not be there for Gaby, well, that killed me.
About a week after her death, I was sitting in the family room watching TV. Raison, Sneakers, and Booh were there, too. Without warning, all of a sudden my three dogs began to bark, their heads and noses pointed at the ceiling. My first thought was “earthquake,” but there were no tremors.
Suddenly, as I sat silent wondering what was going on, a overwhelming sensation of peace and comfort washed over me. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced before or since. And, in that moment, I knew it was Gaby. She had come back for that brief time to let me know not to grieve anymore; that it was all right that I hadn’t been with her when she died.
Since that time, Gaby has been my “spirit dog.” She has never visited me again, but I know she’s always there watching over us. I have had many dogs since Gaby and some of them are no longer with me on this earth. When it’s their time to pass, I always speak to Gaby and ask her to guide them on their way over the bridge. I know she does.
Love u, Gabriella…