I'm not sure I could remember the exact order of these challenges while I was unsuccessfully trying to handle them!
A Tribute to Gabriel
I rescued Gabriel from a homeowner who cared more about his Italian furniture than he did for a dog’s life. When I met Gabe, he was being kept outside in a cage with a rug over the cage in 85 degree weather. The man let him out of the cage so I could meet him. Gabe immediately wanted to play ball but the man kept hitting him with a fly swatter. Gabe was 7 months old.
Guess what? I rescued this boy. He was the sweetest, most gentle soul. When he was 4 1/2 he got epilepsy and to this day I wonder if the many hits on the head by his original owner were to blame. But Gabe had Jake and Daisy and they played together every day. When Jake died, you could see all the sadness in Gabe but he kept on fighting for his own life. He was on a lot of meds. Finally, he couldn't fight his illness any more. One year after Jake crossed over, Gabriel joined him. He was only 10 1/2. Can't even begin to tell you how much Daisy and I miss him. My tribute to Gabe follows:
MY LITTLE BOY, GABRIEL
SEPTEMBER 15, 2007 TO MARCH 26, 2018
I remember so clearly
The day that we met
You were so friendly
And wanted to play.
Your owner was mean
I knew you were mine
So we took you home
To be loved and cherished.
Your name was Boots
Which I did not like
I saw you were an Angel
and you were now Gabriel.
At first you were afraid
To come into the house
But quickly you knew
This was your forever home.
Oh, wow, you wanted to play
You and Jake became great friends
You so loved your ball and your Frisbee
But mostly you wanted to swim.
You were always so gentle and so loving
You loved your brothers and sisters
They all loved you, especially Snoopy
The two of you would romp the yard
You were never crazy about car rides
You stayed home with me when Jake went with Dad.
You loved to cuddle and love
At night you would stay under the bed.
Remember we rescued Daisy
She loved you so very much.
Jake, Daisy and you would play
Catching Frisbees, balls and swimming
When I would come home from work
You were so happy to see me
You would jump up on me
And hug me around the waist.
You were never really close to Dad
But you loved him all the same
When he left us you all were very sad
But things just started to change
When you were only four and a half
You had a seizure and it scared me.
The seizures became more frequent
And the doctor put you on meds.
All of a sudden you loved car rides.
Jake would hold his Frisbee
You barked and laughed, the 3 of you
And we all became so close.
Whenever you would have a seizure,
Daisy would try and help you.
She stayed by your side and kissed you
And always just tried to help.
We had to move from the home you loved
And we no longer had a swimming pool
But the 3 of you found other ways
To make our days stay cool.
We played every day and went for walks
We even went to the Beach.
We had a lot of happy times
But we had our share of sad.
One day, Jake became very sick
And he crossed the big divide.
It broke our hearts so very much
And things began to change.
You were starting to have more seizures
You found it hard to get up
You kept going to the doctor
And I knew it was getting close.
We still played outside a lot
Daisy would comfort you
We still went for car rides
And took our walks every day.
But one day it became so clear to me
You were not doing well at all
One year after Jake you joined him
And Daisy and I were alone
My Little Boy I love you so much
You are always in my heart
I pray that God holds you in His arms
Until I meet you at the Rainbow Bridge.
Walter Stoffel is a substance abuse counselor and GED teacher in correctional facilities. When not behind bars, he likes to read, travel, work out and watch bad movies. Major accomplishment : He entered a 26.2-mile marathon following hip replacement surgery and finished—dead last. The author currently lives with his wife Clara, their dog Buddy (another rescue), and cat Winky (yet another rescue).