Early February 2005, with about five weeks of being married under our belts, KC decided she wanted a new dog.  Back then it was like Wesley and Buttercup, "As you wish!"  She had been disappointed I made an incorrect call about the size the dog we got the previous year was going to be.

I said he would be tiny, but Smitty got to be pretty dang big.  And wild!

She wanted a dog that would just sit in her lap or next to her and not tear things up like Smitty was privy to doing.  So we went to the Humane Society and found a dog she liked.

The dog was a mix of a chihuahua and a rat terrier and around five years.  At least that's what the paper said. He also has some weird name attached to him.  The names the animals have at the shelter are pretty random and I'm sure are named the way the are depending what was in eye sight of the animal intake administrator at the time.  So his name was probably something like Zyrtec. 

So we liked Zyrtec and took him home but changed his name to Gideon because he was really timid.  He liked to hide and roll himself up in blankets and the sleeve of my pullover.  He was very low maintenance compared to Smitty the hyper dog on speed.  But one thing we found out about him was he was a dribbler.  He'd walk and pee at the same time.  He'd pee and not even know it.  My carpet would know it, but he wouldn't.  The fact it was impossible to teach this old dog a new trick along with the fact KC was pregnant with Ladybug now (which is why she had the sudden urge to want something to nurture) made Gideon an outside dog.

About five weeks after moving into our house that same year, we came home and Gideon was sitting in the front yard.  We go to the back yard to see how he got out to find Smitty gone and a board was off the fence.  I concluded it was a CPS guy (the guy who reads the meters), he hopped the fence and pulled the board loose and eventually it fell.  We never found Smitty, but Gideon stayed.

A couple years later we took in a stray and named it Einstein (he looked like Doc Brown's dog from Back to the Future).  He too somehow got out, but Gideon stayed.

This year Happy ran into our home one evening during a freeze.  We took her in and put her in the backyard with Gideon.  Happy was a puppy and Gideon was now the old man from Up.  He'd tell people to get off his porch and then sit in the same spot all day.  He didn't take too kindly to the young whipper snapper, but eventually gave the pup a break.

They too would take adventures and find ways to get out of the backyard.  But they'd always come back. 

This past Wednesday, MaddSkillz went to the backyard for a minute with his friend.  He came to the back door holding Gideon nestled in his arms.  Gideon became MaddSkillz' dog.  Both by responsibility and the fact whenever we tried to make Gideon an inside dog, he always would choose MaddSkillz room to sleep and pee in.

"Gideon doesn't look good." He said as he cradled him.

"He'll be fine." I waved it off.  But what could I do, the dog is closing in on 12 years and I can't afford to take him to the animal hospital.

Thanksgiving morning.  I'm at the sink in the kitchen and I look outside at the holiday morning.  Happy is chewing something up as usual and Gideon is laying in the yard.  It's not unusual for him to be laying in the yard especially if he's found a nice patch of sun, but there was no sun.  I tapped on the window to get his attention.  Nothing.

I open the back door, which usually means food is on the way.  Nothing.

I knew he was gone.

KC is in the living room with the kids, and our huge living room window looks right out to where Gideon was laying.  I get her attention and try to get her to read my mind and look outside without drawing too much attention from the children.

Her response to my telepathic training was more annoyance than anything.  I finally get her to notice Gideon.  I close the blinds, and then we tell the kids what happened.  They seem a bit confused, but also seem to understand some.  KC tells me to go tell MaddSkillz.

I go and wake him up and break the news to him.  He hangs his head, but gets out of bed without another word.  We go outside and kneel next to Gideon.  His body is hard and cold.  My eyes are tearing and MaddSkillz is being really strong.  He is visibly upset at the loss of his friend.  He starts talking to Gideon and telling him how great and loyal a dog he was.  How Smitty and Einstein both ran away and Gideon always came back.

He asked what we were going to do with him, and I told him we were going to wrap him in bags and bury him.  I told him to pick a spot while we went to borrow a shovel from KC's brother.

 MaddSkillz had found a spade and was digging in front of Gideon's dog house when we returned.  We finished digging the hole and MaddSkillz placed Gideon's wrapped body inside.  Everyone threw dirt in the hole and we said goodbye to Gideon as we covered his body and filled the hole.

MaddSkillz was very mature and accepting.   I am so proud of him for the way he handled the situation.   Seriously, waking up on Thanksgiving morning and being told your dog died.  What's there to give thanks for?  We gave thanks for the loyalty that was Gideon.  We gave thanks for the memories we had of Gideon.  We gave thanks Gideon chose us as his family and to stay in our backyard.  We still gave thanks even though our backyard will never be the same.