My Gibson

Those who know me, know I’m utterly and overly enamoured with my dog, Gibson. At his prime, a 97.6 pound labrador, or “laprador” as I called him, with a winning personality.

He was a gentle giant, the smartest dog I’ve ever known and an athlete extraordinaire. He could weave through brush at a full run, over and under fallen trees, play frisbee, and swim like a fish. I lost him yesterday after a week-long battle for his life.

gibson laprador

It started with a torqued intestine, the same condition that did in Marley of “Marley & Me.” Gibs was a big fan of eating what he shouldn’t; many of those misadventures are documented here and there on my blog. A few things that come to mind are Lemon Meringue Pie, the Wayside Inn Carrot Cake, the Irish Soda Bread

Gibson - This was winter of 2013

Gibson – This was winter of 2013

Gibs came home from the vets just fine, a full recovery expected, then on the second day I knew things weren’t right. He was off to the emergency vet where he stayed over, then to his vet on Monday.

gibson frisbee

The films showed him clear and everything in place, and after two days, it was time to open him back up and take a look. I soul-searched very hard about the second surgery; was it worth putting him through any additional pain? I spoke to family, I spoke to the vet.

Gibby always knew the difference between work and play...

Gibby always knew the difference between work and play…a service dog’s life isn’t all glamour!

The prognosis seemed good. Gibson has saved my life on more than one occasion – see he’s a service dog and went everywhere with me. That’s something I really haven’t talked about on my blog, before. On my blog, I’m “normal.” And with Gibson, I am, too.

Gibson the Laprador (I mean Lion) - oh the shame...

Gibson the Laprador (I mean Lion) – oh the shame…

If I could save his life, I owed him that chance – even if it was just a chance. After I ok’d the surgery, I jumped in the car so I could see him “just in case” never realizing that would be the last time.


They didn’t know I was coming and he’d already been given a shot. His eyes were closed and I told him he was the best dog in the world and gently petted what I could reach of his head through the cone.


Thinking he was too far out of it, I started to get up off the floor when he swung his head around; those liquid eyes seemed to freeze to mine and I spent the next 30 minutes or so half in his cage just talking to him, petting him, holding his head and yes, singing to him. He had his own song, you see. Just a silly song I made up and I sang it to him with tears flowing down my face.

gibson fetch

He’d nod off a bit and then rally, always finding my eyes, as if he were imploring me to stay, or perhaps to save him, or maybe he was memorizing my face. Maybe he knew. I think, somehow, I did. He was in surgery only a few minutes when his vet came back with the worst news possible. I knew I had to let him go.

Gibson, just hanging out

Gibson, just hanging out

I’ve always felt Gibson was one of the seven great dogs. “At any one time, you know, there are only seven.” Now, somewhere, another dog has stepped forward to fill his place. His will be some pretty big paws to fill.

gibson footprint


67 thoughts on “My Gibson

  1. I can’t even tell you how sorry I am…
    It’s difficult to write because I can’t see through my tears. I’m an animal lover and take care of many (I feed the street-cats)
    I’m sure you gave him the best life he could ever had, and keep that in your heart
    Sending you big hugs Mollie

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your pup – I know how hard it is to lose a furry family member. I hadn’t heard of torqued intestines in dogs, but I just did some reading about it and it sounds like something my dog could be at higher risk for. As heart-wrenching as I’m sure it was to write this post, I hope you can take some small amount of comfort in knowing that you’re helping spread awareness.

    • That’s such a kind thing to say, and it was something I never thought would be a problem with my dog. Dogs with big deep chests seem to get it more often and Gibson was originally bred as a hunting dog with his long legs and deep chest.

  3. krisbigrigsncookies

    Oh the tears…. I am so sorry for your loss. We lost our Rusty last year, and the pain is still so fresh.

  4. Hi Mollie, I’m so very sorry to hear the news about your beloved Gibson! I can cry just thinking about losing a pet! I’m sorry you’re hurting now but I’m glad that you have so many great memories of Gibson. Condolences my friend. Blessings, Janet

    • Thanks, Janet, and I do have so many great memories. I keep forgetting for a few seconds, here or there, that he’s gone: thinking he’s by my side, waiting at the door, or around the corner, then I remember…

  5. Oh Mollie, my heart is breaking. So, so sorry for your loss. What a handsome hound. Love how you describe him as a ham! These animals fill up so much of your life and heart. Sending love x

    • With my kids gone, he was really my companion, and a service animal, too so we had such a bond. I would talk to him all the time and it didn’t seem strange because he was there…he got me through so many rough times and we enjoyed so many great ones.

  6. Mollie your post is breaking my heart. I am so so sorry that you lost your wonderful Gibson, my sincere condolences to you and your family I understand the apin all to well and know that there is a hole in your heart right now. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Rest In Peace sweet Gibson, you are loved.

    • Thanks, Suzanne, and I know the loss of your babies was so heartbreaking, too, especially that it was so close together. But look at you now…that gives me hope that maybe someday another dog will pick me. (Coz somehow I never seem to pick them, somehow they find me!)

  7. Oh, what precious pictures! Such great memories. I am so sorry about your boy. Losing a family member is so hard. I am sorry. (I can’t see what I am typing, tears make it so blurry!)

  8. Mollie…such sad news…my heart is heavy for you right now…I have a little pup ten years old and can’t even imagine the loss of him. Hugs and kisses my friend…

  9. I started to cry reading about your loss. My last dog was a yellow lab, named Molly and her passing was very tough. She had a stroke and could not walk. I feel your pain and just know that he is in “dog heaven”. I did a creative memory album of my lab since she was a puppy -that helped a lot with my healing.Take care…

    • What a sweet girl she must have been. It’s kind of funny, but concentrating on writing a post, and the outpour of people here and on fb (and many, many phone calls) has really helped.


  10. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved dog. What a wonderful companion he must have been. Dogs are so special and their love is so pure.

    • I know you have a couple of beautiful pooches, and you’re so right. I am always just a at a bit of a loss when I hear someone say they don’t like dogs; they’re missing something wonderful and don’t even know it.


  11. Maureen

    Mollie, my heart aches for you. Gibson was so sweet. I lost my chocolate lab, Hunter the same day John died. Hunter and Gibson are running and playing in heaven.

    • Oh, Maureen, I didn’t know that about Hunter. I so hope that is true! 🙂 Funny that just a couple short weeks ago Gibson & I went to see Bobby F when he was here, and now he’s gone, too..

    • Thanks, Nancy – I debated whether it was a “right” post for my blog, but Gibs has appeared many times on these pages over the years and somehow it’s made me feel a little better…

  12. Oh Mollie, I am so sorry for your loss. I feel just so sad for your loss. My heart goes out to you. There just aren’t words…. Gibson was your life, he was your boy, I am so so sorry. His absence will be felt, and I pray for you to have strength to get through this. Gibson will always be in your heart, treasure that, as you will. Rest in Peace, dear Gibson. Hugs Mollie. xxx

  13. Oh honey, I am so sorry. I understand how you feel. when my cats passed away, I was heartbroken. It still hurts when I see photos of them or when I talk about them. That was over 5 years ago! gibson and my kitties are up in heaven having a lot of fun together right now. i am sure of it. Sending a huge hug from Madrid xxxxxx

    • I do hope there is a heaven for dogs & cats and other animals that we love, and especially for the ones that never really got loved! And I hope it’s gorgeous weather and full of stinky stuff to roll about in!

  14. Oh Mollie, I’m so very very sorry. It’s lovely to read about your wonderful Gibson, and heartbreaking to know that he is now gone. My heart absolutely goes out to you xxxx

    • It was so strange to sit there listening to the vet, making that decision. Like an altered reality, really, where everything just dropped away but the few thoughts swimming around in my mind…then that was it. It was done. Letting go. It sounds easy…

  15. Oh how sad!
    What a handsome boy.
    Absolutely adorable.
    He gave you a life no one else could and for that the bond will be eternal.
    Thank you for sharing him with us.
    Even in his passing he’s performing his duties as a service dog — guiding your heart to those who can appreciate you both and offer a bit of comfort.
    Good doggy, Gibson! RIP.

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