It is with a sad and hurting heart that I let you know that Gus, my wellness doggie in Florida, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He had suffered with arthritis, which eventually affected his nervous system and caused paralysis. Matt and Mattman were with him as he quietly and peacefully began his journey.

When my kittie, Clyde, crossed the Bridge last year, I was comforted by these words which I passed on to Matt and his family: “Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.” (Author unknown)

I’ve written about Gus many times: a fine looking golden retriever with a beautiful heart and gentle soul and the kindest eyes. When 8-week-old black Lab, Doak, arrived on the scene, Gus patiently submitted to the boundless energy and playfulness of this puppy, complete with nips on the ears, mouth and tail, and generally becoming Doak’s favorite “toy.”

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Gus totally loved his human family. He’d hear one of the cars pull into the driveway and would wait, his nose up against the front door, to greet and love his human. He didn’t jump on you, just stood wagging his tail 100 miles per hour, so happy to see his loved ones come through the door.

We followed a ritual when I came for a visit. When Matt and I arrived at the house from the airport, I’d firmly set myself on the couch with the red box of treats before he let the doggies in from the backyard. True to form, they both came bounding in—actually tried to come through the door at the same time—and with wagging tails and doggie smiles, they welcomed Grandmopps home.  Gus would put his head on my lap and look at me, and I’d melt. Of course, they were rewarded with treats: After all, I was the cookie lady!

There were a few trips where I felt under the weather—thank you, airplane germs—and stayed in bed. Gus and Doak slept outside my door, my furry guardians. One morning before heading to work, Matt called them to go outside. At that moment I began coughing; Gus lifted his head, looked at my door and then at Matt:

“Are you serious? I’m not going anywhere. Grandmopps needs me. I’m her wellness dog!”

Matt often remarked that Gus’ loyalty to family shifted just a little toward me whenever I visited. He never left my side; he was my pal, my wellness dog and I will miss his tender heart and soul.

Part of me would like to believe we are united with our pets when we leave this earth: “We look once more into the trusting eyes of our pet, so long gone from our life but never absent from our hearts, and then we cross Rainbow Bridge together.”

Gus, I hope there were lots of treats waiting for you as you crossed the Bridge. Love you, handsome boy!