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Garbodog - Freebo's Blog
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Freebo's Blog

Thoughts from Freebo and Others


Here's a piece i wrote in 2005 about my late golden retriever Garbo, i hope it touches any of you dog people out there.

After almost 15 years in this realm, Garbo, my beautiful Golden Retriever, has crossed The Rainbow Bridge into another dimension. It's been about 10 weeks since my wife Laurie and I took Garbo to her vet, my good friend Neil Bodie, for her final visit. It was a difficult decision, but one with which I remain at peace. Garbo had lost almost all ability to navigate with her hind quarters, was in more pain than she allowed us to see, and could no longer enjoy any of the activities she once did with the greatest enthusiasm....running, fetching, swimming, or simply walking. We tried everything, improvised slings to carry her back end, pills, vitamins, etc., but it became obvious she was hanging on for us, not for herself. Animals seem to know when it's time, but we want them to hold on. I believed she felt this and did her best. When she couldn't even get in position to do her business that last morning of May 4th, I knew it was time.

I talked with Laurie, who was in complete agreement, called Neil, made an appointment with him for that afternoon, took her to the "U Wash Doggie" place, carried her in, gave her her final bath, picked up Laurie, and the three of us took our final ride together. There was still a part of me that was in denial, a part that hoped Neil would see the light I saw in Garbo's eyes and come up with a miracle fix for her aging body. But when we arrived, Neil reminded me of Garbo's failing kidneys and residual damage from all the cortisone we had been giving her to help with her pain and her several strokes. We all agreed it was truly the humane and dignified thing to do....put her to sleep.

As we held her, she was completely accepting of the process...shaving, needles, etc.... Garbo had always been very high on the Acceptance Scale. It was not so easy for me. Yet as she took her last breath, eyes rolling back in her head, an amazing thing happened; there was a beautiful sense of peace as she passed…not so much in me…but in her essence and in the room. Everyone felt it, but I was so overcome by grief that I am just recently beginning to go back to that moment and experience it with a different perspective. Time is an amazing healer. After Neil and his wonderful wife Renee left the room so Laurie and I could be with Garbo's still very warm body, I put my head on hers and cried like I haven't cried since I was 5 years old...not just tears, but sobbing like I thought I would never do as an adult....another one of the many gifts Garbo gave to me. It was difficult to leave her, but her soul had passed on, it was only her body that was left, and it was time for me to begin my healing process. I do believe that was the saddest day of my life.

Ten days later, when I returned from a short tour to The East Coast, Laurie and I took Garbo's ashes to Leo Carrillo Beach, perhaps her favorite place, about 45 minutes north of LA along Pacific Coast Highway. We scattered her ashes into the ocean and along the beach where the three of us had spent some of our most treasured times together. Garbo was at peace, and I was finally at peace as well. The journey was complete.

The almost 15 years Garbo gave to me were as sincere as any relationship I have ever had. The love was unconditional. The acceptance was 100%. Her friendship was unwavering. She held my deepest fears, my anxieties, shared my joy, shared my friendships, shared her love with everyone she met. Garbo was not the smartest dog, but she was the sweetest. Fighting was not in her nature. If another dog wanted to fight, she'd simply wouldn't. She was not exclusive with her love...she shared it equally. Every day was a new day, and it was contagious. This is the gift animals give, and Garbo was magnanimous in this regard.

I'm OK now, 10 weeks later. I felt my feelings around her passing, felt them deeply, and moved through them. The sadness has been replaced with acceptance and with a loving smile whenever I think about her. While driving from Sante Fe to Kerrville Texas about 6 weeks ago, I was listening to a Tom Kimmel song called "Angels", and I started thinking about angels, the concept, and wondering which ones I was connecting with. At that moment, a huge hologram of Garbo appeared on the horizon, right at the end of the ever narrowing highway in the late afternoon. She was smiling, tongue hanging slightly out of her beautiful mouth, and looking at me with that loving big as the sky! Would anyone else have seen her there...I doubt it. But perception is reality, and that was my reality. Garbo is my angel, my Angel of Love, my reminder to practice love whenever I fall out of it, my reminder to stay in the moment, to accept things as they are.

It was a beautiful moment, a beautiful sign, a beautiful gift. Garbo has given me many, and continues to. As she touched me, I have been able to touch others through songs she inspired. I'd like to leave you with perhaps my favorite, a song from my "Dog People" CD which I wrote with my good friend Robert Tepper. It is entitled "More Like You"

Soft and tender, tough as steel,
Here and now, you know what's real.
No one tells you how to feel.
You lie there so peacefully,
Loving unconditionally.
I wish I were less like me.

What can I do
To be more like you?
When I get in my way,
What would you say
To get me through?
Days like these,
I know I need
To be
More Like You.

As I try to beat the clock,
That voice inside my head won't stop.
You just sit, no need to talk.
As the sun is going down,
You just smile and I just frown.
I'm so lost, and you're so found.

What can I do
To be more like you?
When I get in my way,
What would you say
To get me through?
Days like these,
I know I need
To be
More Like You.

All the commotion,
All the Human misery,
In a world that's so confused.
But your love and devotion,
Such a perfect mystery,
Guiding me to someday be...
To be more like you

Life is short, here and gone.
Through the tears, I'll carry on.
Give me hope and keep me strong...
To face my trouble, to know what's true,
To treat each day like it's brand new.
I know that's what you would do.

That's what I'll do
To be more like you!
When I get in my way,
That's what I'll say
To get me through!
Days like these,
It's hard to be...
Yes days like these
I know I need
To be
More like you.


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