Category Archives: Just Thinking

MY SPIRIT DOG, GABRIELLA

“GABY”

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.

Puppy Gaby

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…

Gaby, Dilsey, and Me.