Help Us Help More Golden’s Like Gibson.

We lost our nine year old golden retriever, Midas, to cancer last April. The loss was devastating. Initially, I thought that I even if I could replace Midas, I never wanted to feel this emptiness again.

Midas demonstrated an undercurrent of joy whenever he encountered anyone “new”. He was goofy and gregarious and he immediately put people at ease. It was his job, and he was an “overachiever retriever”. He brought joy to everyone he met, and every one of his days were filled with love and attention from not only the people in his immediate circle, but most strangers he encountered along the way. Love just poured out of this dog, and few people could resist his charming ways.

As sad as it is that he's gone, when I really started to understand what a gift he brought to me and the others on his path, I gained a whole new perspective. While we can’t control the number of days we get to spend together, we absolutely get to have a say in the quality of those days… I’m convinced that God gave us golden retrievers to show us what loving your neighbor should look like.

From that perspective, the life and times of Midas is a huge, happy, “win-win” success story! We’re better off than when we brought him home, and he never wanted for anything. When I started thinking in those terms, I became eager to begin building another “golden” relationship! How better to honor Midas than to rescue another golden retriever from misfortune?

Around that same time, my wife received an email from a friend announcing GRRSWF’s grand opening event. We attended and met Alesia there. I told her that we were in no hurry to adopt because we were looking for a specific Golden. I fully intended to invest whatever time necessary to find the perfect fit for our family.

About six months prior, we “rescued” a young German Shepherd mix from a friend who got laid off and had to move away. Sammy was a bit timid when she came to us, but it wasn’t long before she blossomed into a outgoing ball of energy. She and Midas got a long well, but at eight and a half years her senior, Midas couldn’t keep up with her at playtime. It would be vital that we rescue a younger dog.

For this reason, I thought that it would be months before hearing from GRRSWF about a potential candidate. I was wrong.

Coincidentally (if you believe in such a thing), the perfect boy was surrendered to the rescue within days of our meeting Alesia. He was only 8 months old, but already as tall as a point guard on a whole team of “Air Buds”.

Alesia called me that very day and asked if I could be home to meet him. Bob and Sue would be driving right past my neck of the woods after picking him up. Not only would I be home, but so was Sammy. It would be good to see how they get along, I thought.

When Bob and Sue arrived, this shy, overwhelmed puppy was too timid to get out of the car. Once he met Sammy, however, he exploded out of his shell! They got along as thick as thieves from the day they met, and they’ve been inseparable since! For video of that first meeting:

They say the right dog chooses you. In this case I think the recently renamed “Gibson” chose Sammy and let my wife and I go along for the wild ride.

Gibson has settled in quite nicely and because of his size and ultra relaxed demeanor, we often forget that he is still just a puppy. He and Sammy sleep away most days on the couch in my office, punctuated by bouts of romping about, and sharing toys. They’ve even been known to share a femur bone at the same time!

He has definitely found a role in our family. It was never our intent for him to replace Midas, but he certainly has come a long way in filling the void left behind in his own special way.

We’re just starting out with Gibson, but that “win-win” relationship is already taking root. While it may be the intent of the Golden Retriever Rescue of Southwest Florida to rescue and place misfortunate dogs, it was actually Gibson who rescued part of each one of us!