Tears In Heaven
By Eric Clapton


Statistics: 6/26/94 – 4/18/08 Gus weighed just over 1 pound and he fit into the palm of my hand when I adopted him. At his “healthiest” he was about 9 pounds. Gus was named after my Great Grandma (Bubbie) – her name was Gussie. Gus was a tiny toy poodle (too big for a tea-cup, too small for a toy) – he was dark red, but faded over time to more of an apricot color.

Memories: When he was a puppy, he would teeth by gnawing on my finger. As he got older, that became his “pacifier” and he would just suck on my finger while he lay in my lap watching TV or napping. I adopted him when he was 8 weeks old – he immediately became “frisky” with a stuffed bear. As he got bigger, I had to keep getting him bigger bears to “play” with (it was better than him using someone’s leg). But he hated being watched while he “played” … if he saw you looking, he would pick up the bear and bring him into the other room. Every night he would “play” with his bear, then when he was done, he would find a treat and bring it to the bear and leave it on the bear’s tummy. When I adopted Gus, I had just had back surgery and couldn’t bend well to pick him up all the time – so he learned to jump into my arms. I always joked that he was part “leap frog”. From all the jumping he did, he damaged his knees. He had both of his knees operated on. Even years later, he would pretend his knee hurt to get extra attention or to have me pick him up. I would laugh and call him a “faker” and he would put it down and walk on his own. Gus loved to have his picture taken. He would “hold still” in his pose until he saw the flash, then he would move slightly into a new pose and wait again. He loved to watch TV. He actually followed the stories – growling at the bad guys, barking at animals, he even acted out the “agility course” in my living room if he saw the dog competitions. He loved watching the Vikings play football and would always want to wear HIS jersey when the game was on … if I forgot, he would sit next to the drawer where I kept it and whine until I put it on him. Gus was VERY smart … he understood what I was saying to him, names, places, TV shows, etc. I think he could tell time … sometimes he’d wake me up in the morning and I’d tell him “10 more minutes” … and he’d stare at the clock as if he was watching the time so he could try again. He loved to play “fetch” … and then “keep away” … in other words, he would go get the toy after you threw it, but he wouldn’t bring it back. Gus slept in bed with me – he loved to sleep under the covers with his head on a pillow just like his mom. Sometimes during the night, he’d decide he wanted MY pillow and wake me up and “nudge” me over so that we could switch sides. Gus loved to wear clothes. He had a full wardrobe of t-shirts and sweaters … but he also loved to crawl into my clothes … even if I was still wearing them. He would sneak up under my shirts while sitting on my lap and pop his head out the top (good thing I wear big shirts). He was VERY much a lap dog … he always was on my lap if I was sitting down.

Gus loved to go outside in the summer. He loved to explore the yard, bark at the birds and bunnies (even though the bunnies were bigger than him). He would sit in the driveway and bark at the people and dogs walking by. He was “my protector” – until a dog would bark back – then he would run and jump into my arms. He loved to just find a nice shady place to sit … especially under my neighbor’s tree. Gus also loved to smell the flowers. Gus loved to explore the yard while I did my yard work … every so often, I wouldn’t know where he went off to … so I would yell “Where’s Gus” … and he would come running out and show me where he was. When I had to leave town for work, my parents would take him to their house. While driving off with him, he would whine a bit … it almost sounded like he was crying “mama”. My parents would spoil him at their house – feeding him cheese and crackers, rice, mac-n-cheese, etc. Gus graduated from Obedience School … he was very well behaved in class, followed every command, and always did as instructed … until we got home. At home, he would “obey” when he felt like it … he would give me this look like he was saying “I know what you want me to do, I just don’t feel like it”. He was a very smart dog. When I would get sick or tired, and take a nap on the couch … I would always wake up with his toys and treats all over me … he would bring them to me to make me feel better. Gus liked to hide his treats … under pillows, between the couch cushions, under the bed. He wouldn’t eat his treats unless I was with him … he liked me to hold them as he took a bite. I usually kept a few treats “hidden” on the headboard of the bed (so they would be in reach during the night if he wanted one) … however he found them … he figured out how to push the pillows close to the headboard and climb on them so he could stand up and reach the treats. Gus loved the neighbor’s cat … he would “rub noses” with him – they were buddies. He hated his kennel … he only went inside it if he was sick or was bad – it was his “time out chair”. He would know when he did something wrong, he would put his head down and “grumble” all the way into his kennel, then sit with his back to me … after a few minutes, he would turn around and look at me to see if it was ok to come out … then he’d come straight to me and give me kisses (as if to say “I’m sorry”). Gus had diabetes for 4 years. Because of this, he was on a very strict eating schedule. He would only eat breakfast if I hand fed him “breakfast in bed” – with each piece of kibble dipped in cheese (cheddar/bacon and American was his favorites) or peanut butter. For dinner, he would only eat if I ate dinner with him – then he would eat some of my food with his kibble (chicken and pork chops were his favorites). After each meal, he got his insulin shot … he would want me to give him his shot right next to where I kept his “special treats” that he only got after being good for the shot. Gus loved riding in the car. He liked to sit on my lap and “help me drive” … he could always tell where we were going by which way I drove. I had a rule that he couldn’t go for a ride in the car unless he went to the bathroom first … sometimes, he would just “lift his leg and pretend to go” just so he could get into the car faster. He loved going to the vet … just didn’t like it when they took blood (he wasn’t a good bleeder). He loved going to the groomer … just didn’t like it when she cut his toenails or shaved his butt. After he came home from the groomer, he would go look at himself in the mirror, and spin around to see himself from “all angles”. Sometimes, he would get stressed out or mad and he’d “hold his breath” … he’d actually turn purple. Once, at the groomers, he did this while she was trying to clip his nails … he actually passed out. After that, I was always with him, holding him, and making sure he’d “breathe” while she clipped his nails. Gus loved babies … but when my baby niece came to visit – he got very jealous that she was on my lap … he actually came up and “sat on her” to show it was “his spot” … he would also try to nudge her out of my lap. Gus didn’t like to share me … even when I would bring home a date – he would try to get between us when we tried to kiss. Gus loved to go visiting the neighbors in the summer. He would walk up each driveway and go to the front door just to see if anyone would see him, then he’d say HI and move on to the next house. Even as he got older, he would still have his puppy moments. He would run and play for a bit … then collapse in the house exhausted. After Gus had his toe amputated, he would “show” everyone his sore foot. I sometimes felt like no one knew me … I was always “Gus’s Mom” or “the house with the little dog”. Everyone loved him … the Schwan’s guy, the Chinese Restaurant delivery guy, the mailman, everyone! Gus would sometimes get gas … he scared himself every time he’d pass gas. He loved taking Mylanta … he knew that the “special medicine” would make him feel better. Weekend mornings, Gus would wake me up by crawling on top of me and staring at me to see if I was awake. Then he put one paw on each side of my face and give me “morning kisses”. Gus loved laying in the sun … he’d sit on the top edge of the couch by the window, or in the sun on the carpet … but then he’d get hot, and lay by the fan or with his head on the air conditioner vent. If I was in the bathroom … Gus would “stand guard” outside the door, not watching me, but rather “protecting me”. Gus hated getting wet … he would even walk around puddles outside. If it was raining out, I’d have to go outside with him with an umbrella so that he could go to the bathroom! Gus loved to go for walks … we use to walk a 2 mile path thru the neighborhood. As he got older, we would just walk around the block, then it was just up and down about 4 houses … and lastly, we would just “do laps” around the house outside. His favorite toys were his “buddy-bear”, his laytex Odie and Pacifier, and pretty much anything else he could carry around with him. When he was younger (and had all his teeth) he loved the peanut butter flavored bones to chew on. Gus loved to be at “eye level” when I was talking to people … he always wanted me to pick him up so he could “talk” to us too.

Light a candle in Gus's memory, for a sick, abused, or special needs furbaby, or perhaps just someone who needs a prayer and a candle lit.

Gus's Page Two

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