Gilligan's Return

I've been procrastinating...and moping. I should have written this days ago, but honestly, I just haven't felt like it. All I want to do is eat and sleep my problems away (and drink upteen cups of coffee) and pretend they don't exist. In so many ways I don't really know where to go from here.

Some of you may not be familiar with Gilligan's story up until this point. To catch up to speed, read the two online articles I wrote about the pilot program and the two dogs that were selected to participate: Gilligan and Luca.

Article 1: http://kingsriverlife.com/09/03/from-shelter-to-service-a-new-purpose-for-rescue-dogs/

Article 2: http://kingsriverlife.com/10/29/from-shelter-to-service-a-new-purpose-for-rescue-dogs-part-2/

Fast forward two months past Gilligan's adoption date in early October. I had been in contact with Gilly's new dad and everything had been going well. Better than I had ever expected. As far as I knew, it was a match made in heaven. A huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders because I knew Gilligan was going to be well cared for and was going to get the surgery that he needed to have a great quality of life. Or so I thought.

My world came crashing down around me one afternoon as I was hiking with a friend with my dogs. An email from Gilly's new dad came in stating that as difficult as it was for him, he had made the decision to return Gilligan to have him re-homed as unforeseen life changes had happened and he no longer was a good match for Gilly. My poor friend got an earful because I was livid. Looking back I now realize that my anger was really just misplaced heartbreak. It was a huge hit to me that came out of nowhere.

So, I got in my car and with a friend of mine who volunteered to come along; we made the 15 hour round trip drive to and from Crescent City from the Bay Area to collect Gilligan. Watching him walk to the car, I could tell he had lost even more strength in both back legs and his condition had definitely deteriorated. I plastered a smile on my face swallowed down all the emotion that was fighting it's way to the surface.

I can't quite explain exactly how I felt on the drive home. All the identifiable emotions like anger and despair had all morphed together into this mutant emotion that I still don't really know how to handle. All I wanted to do was go to bed and cry, or, break something like a laptop or tv that would be hugely satisfying to pulverize. Again, my friend got an earful those first few miles; I just couldn't believe it.

After spending a week or so back in my home; I've had a chance to re-evaluate Gilly to see where he's at. He's still an awesome alerter and takes care of me like no other diabetes alert dog I've trained before. He's still the same sweet, goofy, lovable boy that he was before. His knees are weaker now; there are times where I see him struggle to get off his bed to follow me around the house when my blood sugar isn't to his liking. He has good days and bad. On the days where he's feeling more spry, I treat him to a quick and easygoing walk around the block so he's not cooped up in the house all day. On the days where he's hurting a bit more, I give him a pain pill and crank up the heater so that he's warm and comfortable in his bed. No matter how he's feeling though, he never fails to somehow get my attention when my blood sugar needs attention.

There are times where I cry; most of the time I don't know whether it's because I'm frustrated or I just feel like I let Gilly down somehow. It hurts my heart that he gives his all to save lives everyday and not many are willing to step up to make his life more enjoyable. He inspires me though. I didn't ask for diabetes, and he didn't ask for bad knees but yet he still wakes up everyday with a big grin on his face and ready to make the best of it. I figure if he can, than so can I!

#DiabetesAlertDog #GilligantheDiabetesAlertDog #ServiceDog #AdoptDontShop #RescueDog #ShelterDog

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