About Gapy...

One minute she was here, running in the fields with her tennis ball in her mouth like she always did...and the next minute she was seizing uncontrollably in my arms, for no reason at all. After running back to the house and getting her into my vehicle she had seized for at least 10 minutes. About five minutes away from the emergency vet hospital she stopped. But she wasn’t there anymore. She was breathing but that was about it. Once at the hospital she was unresponsive to any of the treatments that the vet tried. Without the chance to take her for one more road trip where she was ALWAYS my co pilot, without being able to tell her what she meant to me and to my 7 year old son, Braeden, HER boy, who was at home wondering what was happening to his “best girl”, I let her go. I came home and cried while I told my kid that his nearly 4 year old, perfectly healthy dog was gone.


I have lost my fair share of dogs over the years. They are never around long enough...that is the price we pay for having the opportunity to love them in the first place. I have loved them all and missed them all terribly when the time came to say our good-byes. All of them have been special and all of them taught me many lessons and gave me many gifts in their own unique ways. Sometimes, although it seems odd say out loud, certain dogs just end up being more special in ways which we cannot always explain. It is a connection with them that we feel in our core, in our bones and in our hearts. Vanish was one of those dogs for me. I have only had one other dog that was such a massive part of my soul, Tripp, my heart dog. He’s been gone for a few years now and even when he was alive, I strived to find a dog that came close to that level of a connection because I couldn't imagine living without it.


In the past, with other dogs I’ve lost, I have been given the opportunity to spend some time with them, treat them to their favorite things, tell them about how grateful I was for all they gave me over the years because there was at least some sort of warning that the end was coming. By having had the chance to do this, to be able to come to terms with the fact that our final moments were drawing near, I was able to accept the good-byes much easier once we parted ways. In fact, I generally feel good about being able to control how and when we do this. Making the choice to euthanize a dog is both a blessing and a curse. I choose to look at it as a final gift that we can give to the beings who offered us so much loyalty and devotion in life. The chance to give a good friend a dignified, peaceful and pain free farewell is the kindest gift we can give our dogs. When this opportunity was snatched away from me and Vanish it added to the grief I felt ten fold. Still today, every day since, I’ve hoped that she could hear me telling her how much I loved her. I’ve hoped that through the traumatic episode she was experiencing she could FEEL me there. I have spent hours, days really, crying since that horrible day in December. I TRY not to dwell on the unfair part of it all, I try to be grateful for the very few amazing years that we did have together but I have been struggling, a lot.


I waited quite a long time for Vanish to come into my life and I didn’t realize how much I NEEDED her till she was no longer here.


I first watched her breeder, Davide Codebue run Gapy, Vanish’s dam, at the IFCS Worlds in Italy. She was so very impressive on course. Yet, it was what I saw off the course that made me fall for her. She was rarely seen with a leash on but was always calmly walking or sitting next to Davide. Not over stimulated, very sound in her surroundings and oh so beautiful. I spoke briefly with Davide that weekend but then got in touch after I got home and made it very clear that I was interested in a puppy out of Gapy if ever she was bred. A year went by, and I never let Davide forget that. Finally she was bred, confirmed pregnant and then whelped a litter of the most perfect Malinois puppies. Vanish and her siblings were raised with Davide’s young son, Andrea, in the whelping box.


Once the day finally arrived for me to pick her up at the airport I was nearly inside out with excitement...I remember saying to a friend that puppies are always exciting and fun to bring home but I was more excited about her than I had been about any pup in a very long time. She popped out of her kennel after over 14hrs of travel not skipping a beat. We went to a nearby field for some off leash stretches and a walk before making the final drive home. She was my ride along buddy ever since that very day. Vanish spent her life being the most incredible ambassador for the breed. Just like her Mama Gapy.


The day I lost Vanish, I reached out to Davide to tell him the horrible news, he cried along with me. A few days later when Andrea, his son, found out about Vanish’s passing he told Davide to send Gapy to Braeden. You see, Andrea was living with his mother somewhere else now. He told his dad that since Gapy was retired from Agility she would really love to have a boy of her own full time again...and maybe that would help Braeden get over the loss of his Best Girl. When Davide told me what his son had offered I just couldn’t help but well up with pride for a child that isn’t even mine. But I said no.


About a week or two ago, I was having “one of those days” when I just couldn’t shake the awful feelings I had on the day I helped my girl cross the bridge. I could feel her in my arms as we ran in from the fields. I could smell her. I could literally recall every single last second we had together. I was feeling crushed at the memory and the feeling of being the gutted as I walked out of that hospital and drove home without her on my front seat. I could remember wondering how I would ever be able to vacuum all of those little brown hairs off of the seat because that would mean she was really gone. I got in touch with Davide and asked if it would still be ok for Gapy to come and live with us. I NEED her. I need to be able to hug and touch a piece of my dog again. So, next week, I will be going to the same airport to pick up Mama Gapy...I’m scared. I’m excited beyond belief. I’m eager to wrap my arms around her neck and feel that tiny piece of Vanish again. I am struck with an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude for Davide Codebue and the incredibly empathetic, caring and amazing man he is and the son he is raising to be exactly the same way.


Davide Codebue, I don’t know how to thank you. I don’t know how “thank you” could ever be enough.