Gordie Helped Me Be My Best Self
Not because she was quiet and good, Gordie helped me because she was expressive and powerful and her bark could break glass.
When she first came to us at age ten, just spade with her stitches newly sewn, she was guarded and inventive. She was not inquisitive or careless. When we gave her food, she would eat a little then bury the rest – yes, in the house, I’m not talking holes in the yard! She was afraid and alert. She had just had her last eight babies in Cadiz where she had been taken to a kill shelter. She had probably had 80 or more puppies in her life at that moment.
In Cadiz the Spanish government had set up shelters to take unwanted dogs to be killed. Our contact, Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton, MA had just made an agreement to set up an organization to deal with the problem of people harming their dogs in unimaginable ways when they were “through” with them. A man in Cadiz, named Jesus, called his newly acquired contact in Hopkinton in the early morning Hopkinton time, to say he had come to the shelter and was supposed to kill a hundred healthy dogs. He couldn’t.
Our Gordie was one of them and probably the eldest. Wraith thin she was called “Gorda” (fat in Spanish) because she was so pregnant) John, in Hopkinton got a plane to Spain that morning and, once on the ground, he managed to get a lot of people organized to find homes for all the dogs – whose number had increased by Gordie’s eight puppies.
A few dogs came to this country – we have Cho, who is fourteen now. Gordie was the flagship dog, and the rest all got homes in Spain. Taking her home from Hopkinton I sat in the back seat with her and as I held her I heard myself tell her that I would never let anything negative happen to her again. There would be moments of contrast, of transition but there would be no indecision, no wavering or vacillation, no equivocation, her needs would come first – always.
So there I was, in the back seat, setting myself on a course whose path I knew nothing about. It’s something we do casually and sometimes we give it some thought – but we can never know, we can never even guess. When we get married, pregnant, adopt a child, a dog, rescue something, there is always that wondrous gift of Chance. Gordie gave me that.
Now that she is gone I have to keep on doing my life but I don’t have to be the same. I can’t stop everything to commemorate Gordie’s death or her life, I can’t stop eating and crying, laughing, working, taking care of the other Beings in my care, but I can resonate with the lessons she taught, I can be moved and changed and carry her with me in my life.