It is with heavy hearts we share the sad news that Gus is no longer with us. About six months ago, Gus developed oral cancer. The only treatment option was to remove his jaw, and that was unthinkable.
After two decades of golden retrievers, Gus was our first ever non-golden dog. 11 years old at the time of adoption, Gus came to us from GBR as a package deal with his lifelong golden friend, 10-year-old Gracie. Gus was an English springer spaniel, and what a different personality he had from all our previous senior goldens. Early on, he earned the nickname “Gusto”, because he had only one gear, and it was full speed ahead! Gus charged into our lives and announced, “I’m here!” Insatiably curious, he wanted to check out anyone and anything that came into his house, and always had to know what you were up to. He LOVED walks and could nearly dislocate your shoulder pulling on his leash. Unlike our goldens, Gus could never be an off-leash dog on our daily strolls through the woods, because there was just too much world waiting for him to explore over the hill or around the next bend. As a bird dog, and former hunting dog, Gus wanted to take off after everything with wings. This made it difficult to give him all the exercise he needed. The happiest day of Gus’s life was on a trip to the beach where we found a long spit of sand jutting into the sea, with water on all sides except for a narrow neck. We let Gus off the leash and he tore up and down that sandy strip, with a big silly grin on his face, chasing an endless number of seagulls. In fact, he even brought us a dead bird. Gus must have run at least five miles and it’s the only time we ever saw him completely exhausted and thoroughly content.
As a consequence of his high spirted nature, Gus became a compulsive licker. He would lick or chew a spot till it bled, and if we made the spot unavailable, he’d simply start on another. With the help of our vet, some Prozac, and his “jammies”, we got his compulsion controlled and his coat healthy again. However, it meant wearing his suit 24 hours a day (except when walking). Gus never seemed to mind his clothes, and he looked so darn cute it got him a ton of attention. Moreover, instead of ears—like any normal golden—Gus appeared to have pompoms on his head. They added to his charm, but had to be pulled back for meals to keep them from dragging in his food. With his ears tucked into his eating scarf, Gus looked like a little Russian grandma, oy vey!
Gus’s old eyes were cloudy with cataracts, but there was nothing wrong with his nose. Likewise, Gus’s sense of play was strong to the end. He was a master of finding a sock or taking a piece of paper from the wastebasket, just so you’d chase him around. He was such a bright spot in our lives. We’ll miss you, little Gus.
Laura & Robert
Having only had goldens in the past, a spaniel was a new experience, and one we were a bit dubious about. But Gus— with his big chocolate eyes—is a real charmer! You wouldn’t know this guy was 11 years old. He’s curious, attentive, lively, fast, and just wants to be a part of whatever’s going on. With only a stump for a tail, Gus wags enthusiastically with his entire behind. Both dogs are incredibly well-behaved and quickly took to our home, yard, and dog doors. Gus has even fallen in love with a long-haired Chihuahua who comes to work each day with our office staff. Gracie and Gus now have 6 people eager to pet them all day long. The dogs are very fond of their new pet beds and LOVE sniffing their way through our daily mile-long walk in the woods, where their bird dog backgrounds are evident. We are thrilled to have this healthy, happy, low-maintenance, and high-love pair in our home.
Gus’s Available Story:
I am an active eleven year old English Spaniel. I have a slight limp when I walk, but I run fine and FAST. (Personally, I think the limp adds a bit of character.) I have no problems jumping in the car and I enjoy going for rides. I also enjoy running and exploring. Sniffing in the woods is the best – I believe the human equivalent would be reading a book that you just can’t put down.
My one “special need” is human attention. I will sit next to my human, place one paw on his/her hand then the other paw on top of the first paw; I’ve discovered this is a great tool for when I want to be petted. The only other things you should probably know about me are these: I like to counter surf and I occasionally try to get on the furniture. I also pull on my leash a little hard and sometimes I forget to come when called (see previous comment about a book that you can’t put down). Of course, I don’t see any of these “issues” as serious character flows and I doubt you will either. They’re simply little habits that make me who I am.
Gracie and I make a great team. Like her, I can be trusted alone for fairly long periods of time, though you might want to clean off the counter before you leave in case I feel the need to start hunting again. Between the two of us, you’ll have all the love you could ever want. Please consider making us part of your family. You’ll be glad you did.
Gus was adopted (with Gracie #2615) on January 16, 2016.