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Monday 19 August 2019

Gorgeous Gideon, a friend to all

Geraldine O'Connor, Ballyheigue, Co Kerry

Gideon, our Cairn Terrier, arrived in our home seven years ago.

The first thing we noticed about Gideon was his bark. It wasn't a bark as much as a high-pitched, terrified scream and I remember our neighbour passing by one day and stopping to ask what was wrong with him. Gideon, meanwhile, was dancing around in gay abandon, completely oblivious to the fact that he had nearly caused a heart attack with his weird, heart-stopping bark.

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If God ever made an easy going dog, this was it but in his soul, he was an adventurer and an explorer.

No matter how many walks we took him on, he'd head off on his own every day. We'd see him strutting off down the driveway with his identification tab swinging right and left and as sure as the sun rises every morning, the calls would start:

"Hello, eh... I have your dog here. He wandered into my kitchen and is sitting under the table… You'll collect him? Thank you."

"Hello, this is the lifeguard up at the beach. We have your dog here in the lifeguard hut… You'll be up shortly? Lovely."

"Hello, do you own a very friendly dog? You do? OK... your dog is sitting here beside me eating supper with us... you'll be here shortly... good, 'cos he's eaten loads of the sausages for the barbecue."

Anywhere we went, he loved people. Tail wagging, expecting to be adored by everyone. Any spare sandwiches at the beach were gratefully gobbled up like he was never fed at home - and on he trotted, head high, tail wagging, to meet his next new friend... Life was good.

This year, when he started to drink loads and loads of water and was losing weight, we took him to the vet. I was worried about diabetes but it turned out to be much worse.

Gideon had pancreatitis and his liver was enlarged. The pain he was in was unimaginable but he was his stoic self, though much, much thinner and exhausted from the condition.

For four weeks, he struggled on. We had every test, scan and blood test carried out on him but in the end, the vet advised putting him to sleep.

Our lovely, lively adventurous dog had had enough. So three weeks ago, we did just that. We were with him, talking to him, stroking him but most of all, thanking him for being such a character - until he was gone. We took him home and buried him in the garden.

I hope he is running around in the spirit world, free from all pain, calling in to all and sundry and making his presence felt. To date, no calls received to tell us he has arrived - but give him time, give him time.

Name: Gideon

Finest hour: Making friends

Liked: Food - all food

Disliked: Lack of same

n If you would like your pet featured in this column please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

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