“She…buried that old dog Gideon…”
–Emmylou Harris, “Red Dirt Girl”
I said there were some changes I would have to report on, and we’ll start with the saddest one first. Gideon, my friend M’s German Shepherd Dog, had to be put to sleep. He was only 8 years old, so unlike the song he was named after, he was not an old dog. It’s a pretty sad story, and it has a cautionary note, because of why he died. Note to everyone: be very, very careful about what kind of landscaping materials you use in your yard.
But let’s start with the happier things. Gideon was a lovely dog, and he was born just 25 days earlier than Toby. I picked up in Dallas from his breeder–she delivered him to the airport, and I carried him on the plane and brought him home. He also went with us to pick up Toby from his breeder in Colorado, so they were puppies together, though true to form, Toby, at 7 weeks of age, took one look at Gideon and decided he did not like him much at all. They tolerated each other for a while:
Though eventually, they had a fight and could not be together anymore, as is the case with Toby and almost every other dog he’s met.
Gideon was a sable German Shepherd (which according to one dumb comment, meant that he’d “be all black when he grew up” which is of course not what it meant it all!) He was from a great breeder who does not appear to be breeding anymore, but he was from Czech working lines, and was larger than typical “AKC” type GSDs, and did not have a sloping back. She raw fed all her dogs too, and a lot of them went into Schutzhund or Personal Protection Dog training.
Gideon, however, was a sweet, silly boy, who would not hurt anyone (even his fight with Toby happened because Toby pushed and pushed him). He got along with the birds, and he was a good foster-father to M’s border terrier, Truman. Except for Toby, all my dogs were friends with him as well.
One of my favorite stories about Gideon is something M. told me: one day she heard him making a sound to alert her that something was not right. She came in to find that he was herding something very carefully between his paws, like he’d done on occasion with the birds. It was a mouse. A wild mouse that had gotten in the house, and Gideon had a look on his face like, I guess this is a new pet, so I better be careful with it! That was typical Gideon behavior!
Gideon’s passing was both unexpected and really stressful. He seemed ill, and because our regular vets were out of town, M took him to another vet. I went with her that first visit, and to say there were incompetent would be putting it mildly. The vet had a list of things she needed to give him (a wormer, something for the diarrhea he didn’t have) before she even examined him, because she’d heard “raw food diet” and made assumptions. They eventually “diagnosed” him with a UTI and sent him home. He didn’t get better, and we noticed he looked disturbingly bloated.
He was. Because his abdomen was filling up with blood. Once M. got him to our regular vets, they were able to come up with a diagnosis, which, quoting M, was: ”He has a stomach 1/2 full of rocks, stomach lining torn, battered bladder wall, rocks in his intestines, and blood and pus (peritonitis) surrounding his intestines and most of his organs–and that’s just some of it.” And yes, it was something he ate, but it was not his raw chicken: Gideon had been eating the lava rocks used for landscaping in the backyard. It was these lava rocks that killed him. He was diagnosed on Friday, and on the following Monday, we had to make that last trip to the vet with him. It was utterly heartbreaking, and everyone cried, including our vets.
(Cautionary note: lava rocks are very abrasive and if ingested, can kill dogs. Gideon was a poop eater–he was probably eating the rocks with feces on them. But any dog might find them appealing to chew. Also, another popular landscaping mulch is made from cocoa, also deadly to dogs. Please be super careful about what you use in your yard, if you have dogs. You never know what they’ll eat.)
Gideon, of the many names: Sensitivity Wolf, Pencil Toes, Gideon Xmayal, Very Large Array, you are sorely missed.
In memory of Gideon, GSD extraordinaire, I am reposting Toby and Gideon’s correspondence from 2007. This was probably the last time Toby and Gideon got to spend any time together, after they got in a fight (instigated by a certain Shiba….and not Bel, though she did jump right in).
Gidion, you weren’t a good writer. But you were a wonderful dog, and even Toby misses you (if only a little).
Gideon here. The Lade who lives here says I need to right to u. She says u got hurt real bad when I bit u the other nite. She says I o u an apology. So here it is.
I’m sorry. The Lade has a bird–u no her, Rube is her name–and sometiems she says Sweet Bird Sweet Bird over and over. Both the Lade and the bird say this Sweet Bird Sweet Bird. Anyways, lately the Lade and that other Lade who lives with u r talking about how sweet u r. So when u came over I thought that meant u’d want to play with me. But the Lade I live with talked to me and said Sweet doesn’t mean Play. Sweet means Bite. Like the bird would bite if I tried to play with her, just like u bit or wanted to bite but I bit first.
I know it’s not much. The Lade made me do it, right this when I don’t really feel so sorry because u’ve never been Sweet to me, u’ve always been meen. Mostly I’m sorry because the Lade says I’m costing her more munny than she has right now, but she’s glad u’re okay. She says I can’t see u again.
Little Jezebel was here, and she didn’t get any popcorn or other sheebs, so maybe that’ll make u feel better.
That was the first one.
Then he sent number two:
I forgot to tell u. Last nite some humans came over to have “inappropriate touching.” I didn’t see the humans touch that way, but Little Jezebel got inappropriately touched, I’m sure of it. The Lade I live with had Jezebel up on her lap and was rubbing and rubbing the Little’s chest and belly, and the Little didn’t look happe. Then later this boy named Jonathan tried the same thing and Little wasn’t having none of it. And when I tried to play with the Little, the boy named Jonathan got mad at me and shooed me away. Everybody’s mad at me cuz of what I did to u. So there. But at least u didn’t get inappropriately touched. And the Little didn’t get any good snacks. The humans were eating these teeny cupcakey things and Little got hold of two of the cupcake papers and ate them even tho they didn’t have cupcakes in them. U didn’t miss nothing. I would have liked to be inappropriately touched, I have just the chest for it, but no 1 loves me, they love u. I don’t no y. U’re a meenie sheeb. But I’m really sorry u’re hurt. I’d hate it too if I had to wear a necker chief and have a Lade stick a syringe in my draino.
P.S. Y do u like to right? I hate to right. It’s hard.
Then this, because he is too stupid to figure out I might not want to reply to him:
I hate righting. I don’t no y u and the Lades like it so much. I keep pacing back in here to check email and see if u’ve written me and u havent. U r a meenie. Either that or u feel really bad and can’t even get up to check your email, but I don’t believe that. ANyways, the Lade says sheeb isn’t right, she says Sheepa Sheepa Sheepa, those other dogs r Sheepas. Now I really don’t no y u care so much about loosing a little fur if u’re a Sheepa u’d get sheered anyways. Please right back to me and tell me we’re okay Tobe and then I’ll leave u alone for all time.
Then this, which I was finally forced to respond to:
Tobe, I’m mad at u still. The Lade told me I hurt u, but it’s nothing like the way I hurt. I’ve ritten and ritten and nothing. Nothing nothing nothing. If u can’t right back now surely u could make that Little or the Lade u live with right back. U no I’m sensitive, u no I’m the sensitivitewoof. I’ve been pacing and pacing and annoying the Lade here who’s trying to right, I don’t no y cuz it’s so boring and her paws are almost the size of mine. She tells me settle down. She tells me be patient. She puts me in a down stay and when that doesn’t work she puts me outside. I go outside and bark and bark and try to tell all the dogs to carre a message to u that u need to right back or at least bark back your message. To no a veil. It’s just footile. Tobe if I can’t never see u again u could at least tell me u’re all right. Stooped sheepas. The lot of u lack all German concern. Couldn’t u just once suck it up and right back? Or maybe tell Kite the other German dog who’s coming to live with us in March for a little wiles to right me and tell me how u r. At least he’s got morals. Some 1 needs them in your house.
So here was my response:
SHE tells me I must write back to you, even though I
don’t want to. I don’t see why I should. I see no
apology here, just lots of insults, and besides that,
you can’t spell and you write badly.
I can’t believe we are the same age, though of course
you are of such an inferior breed I suppose I
shouldn’t be surprised. Even the German who lives
with me–Kai, no Kite–is smarter, though. Now I
really understand why the humans call you a galoot,
which is a human word for really really stupid.
Yes, I am hurt. I have to wear a neckerchief, which
is actually quite dashing, and lets me stand out from
inferior dogs. I think of it as a badge of honor of
my war wounds, for these are what these are. And this
war is not over. While I admit that this is a defeat,
I do not feel ashamed, because I still fought bravely
and hard against you, and if I was your size, well,
I’d already rule the world, opposable thumbs or no.
Not that you know what that means. In fact, I doubt
you will understand any of this. Get your human to
explain it to you. She is smart, even if she does
have bad taste in dogs. Well, I suppose that golden
dog is ok, though something is seriously wrong with
Gideon, you should recall that after the fight I put
you in your place–a down stay. You should recall
that I would not have stopped fighting had the humans
not stopped us, and no doubt I would have eventually
got the best of you. And I am unimpressed with your
“pain.” You show no pride whatsover. I am a stoic
little dog–er, big dog–and I went to the horrible
place and had shots and had things poked in me, and I
fell asleep there and woke up in pain, and I never
but of course, I knew you were an inferior dog from
the moment I met you and had to take your chicken from
you. Just because you are larger and can occasionally
get the better of me from sheer size–well, that is
I have nothing more to say. this was simply one
skirmish in a longer war, and I have scars to prove my
dedication to the Shiba–not sheepa you idiot–cause.
Death before Dishonor,
Then I had to write again, even though I didn’t want to:
One more here too, though don’t mistake this for me
I am interested in what happened to the little Shiba
bitch. She came back smellng of chocolate, and she
looked very happy, and went waltzing around the house
(waltzing is a human term for leaping and jumping,
which of course you wouldn’t know. I am stunned that
one dog could be so ignorant. What do you DO all day
while your human is gone? Obviously you don’t use
your time wisely, as I do, by studying and learnign
about human technology).
She did not say she had been touched inappropriately,
but she likes to be petted more than most dogs. That
is because she is a bitch.
And I must remind you, she is MINE. My bitch. I may
not always like her, but she is still a Shiba and
still MINE. Stay away from her.
Of course Jonathon pushed you away, and of course the
humans are mad at you. They love me. They are MINE.
Even your human liked me best–she recognized me
immediately as a REAL puppy.
And writing is not that hard if you apply yourself.
Of course you wouldn’t understand that. And of course
you don’t have lovely little paws like me.
I am going to continue to study human technology,
something YOU won’t do. Eventually I am sure I will
learn how to drive one of the human moving boxes, the
things they call cars. And when I do, I will come
down and bite you.
I want to bite you more than the grey bird.
After that, I got this, which I never responded to, because really, why bother?
Sheepa in u, haha!
The Lade walzed me in here to check the email but nothing. Nothing and nothing. She told me her email’s been bad latele cuz she’s getting things late, but I don’t no what that meens. Anyways, it took hours b4 your reply got here. I’m still thinking what I want to say. U’re crool. Not cool. Crool. Don’t go thinking Britney Spaniel Spears shaved her haed just cuz u did. ANyways, I spent all day watching the Lade tiperight. It’s hard. She hardle moves her paws, just her claws, and I can’t do that yet.
P.S. Is Snoopy your righter hero?
Gideon 1-1-04 to 8-17-12 RIP sweet boy!