Many years ago when Mummy was a “Corporate Chick” who had no time for anything else, a little guy named Gus knew there was more to Mummy than just what she was deemed to be.
When Mummy finally had enough and spread her wings to fly from the constraints of the big Corporate World, Laura, a colleague and friend had arranged for a farewell dinner at her beautiful house. Laura was nervous how Mummy would take to her three dogs as she was not a dog person. Laura thought to lock them all up in her bedroom but thought – no, she will just have to deal with them. And to her utter dismay, Gus didn’t leave Mummy’s side. Laura was mortified, but Mummy didn’t even notice Gus was by her feet. It was not like he wanted to be fussed over – he was far too macho for that. In hindsight, Gus knew there was more to that person behind that corporate front.
A couple of years after that, I entered Mummy’s life – and things were never the same again. Mummy noticed every dog wherever she went. She even went to visit friends with dogs – from Miami to Chicago, and other parts of the world – so she could spend time with the dogs!
Several years later, when she re-visited L.A. in May 2016, Laura offered her to stay at her house, and Mummy was absolutely delighted. She wanted to finally “meet” Gus properly and his sister and brother, Emma and Jasper. Neither I, nor George got to visit, though Mummy still keeps promising that we will go to L.A. one of these days. Instead, she brought Impostor. For those who have not met Impostor – he’s a 2-D life-size version of me!
Mummy wanted another chance to thank Gus for believing in her.Gus was already an old man then at 15 years old and he was definitely the head of the clan! He was Laura’s protector. She always felt safe with Gus. She knew he would “kill” anyone who should harm her!
A few months ago last year, Gus became ill. He had cancer of the lymph nodes and was undergoing chemotherapy. He had never been ill a day in his life, so when he was diagnosed, Laura and Julia were shocked. They knew it was going to be a difficult battle for him as he was getting on in years but they kept believing. But the chemo did not shrink the tumours, and the cancer had gone into the bone marrow. From the Alpha dog, he became a helpless baby that did not want to leave Laura’s side.
Last week, on the 16th Jan, Gus gave up his fight …Gus is at the Rainbow Bridge now – chasing everything to his heart’s content – where there is no pain and no suffering. Laura’s heart is broken and feeling the unbelievable pain. She had in him, a friend that was always there for her – for many years. He was Laura’s constant companion – he lived in eight different homes from New York, to Los Angeles, to Miami and back to L.A. He was her “rock.” He was loving and intense, but he also made Laura laugh. She still does when she remembered the day when he got loose and decided to run out of the lobby and made a beeline down Park Avenue with six doormen running after him! Or when at the beach, he went over to a body-builder (you know, that’s L.A.), lifted his leg on the guy – twice!!! Oh, Gus, you were funny!
We have never met, but I thank you, and George too for being so wise – in knowing that inside that hardcore Corporate Chick, there was our “real Mummy”. You sensed it though so many of her friends and even her own sister thought she was crazy to ever own a dog. She was too footloose and fancy-free, they said. She is still somewhat footloose – but she makes us footloose too!
May’s comment: I grew up watching Lassie and loved Timmy on Famous Five. Like a lot of children, I fantasized having a dog but in reality I was afraid of them. Growing up in Malaysia, we were told to be afraid of dogs. They were dirty and they bite. And then I grew up and left the country to faraway lands. I got caught up in the strife to succeed and stayed focused. I never connected with dogs – they never featured in my world. I wouldn’t want to have to move a dog , when I moved countries every few years. They were invisible to me and found it disturbing to find dogs in restaurants when dining in France. And when a colleague’s dog passed, I thought it was rather inconvenient that she didn’t come to work, and when she did, she was bawling her eyes out. If it was today, I would have cried with her, told her to take the week off, and sent flowers.
Along came little Gus. I’ve never had a dog who “liked” me to come and say hello. But he sat by me the whole time at Laura’s house. Of course, I didn’t notice him. I vaguely remembered Laura saying – how sweet that Gus was by my side – when she was actually quite nervous about the whole situation. When Darcy entered my life and started to write incessantly about her – Laura was the one who reminded me of Gus.
“Gus knew,” Laura said, “he pegged you as a dog lover before you ever got near it.”
Gus, I feel privileged that our paths crossed and I thank you for believing in me. Not any of my friends believed I could fall in love with a dog. I hope you’re looking down at us – with a wink, saying, “I knew.”