Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tribute To A Loyal Friend

© By Othmar Vohringer
(Originally published in the Merritt Herald - Othmar Vohringer Outdoors Column)

On Tuesday morning (October 2nd, 2012) my loyal friend and companion for over 16 years passed away. Gazu, a Rottweiler/Labrador mix, had not an easy start in life. When I adopted him, then about one year old, from a pet shelter in Montreal, Quebec, he already had two previous owners that abused him badly. I learned that Gazu was destined to be euthanized because of the many behavioural problems he sustained from his abusers. Because of that I was at first denied adoption, however, when the manager at the shelter found out that I am a professional animal trainer and behaviourist he agreed with the adoption. My immediate concern at the time was not about Gazu’s behavioural problems. Having dealt with a fair number of animals with such issues I was sure I could cure him. My concern was what my other “pets”, 16 tigers, would think of this new addition. Training, performing and caring for the tigers took up many hours of my day and Gazu would have to fit into that schedule.

Gazu quickly adapted to his new life and surroundings and within two weeks we had a very close relationship and he slowly started to develop the outgoing and friendly character that would become the hallmark of his entire life. The most difficult part was taking his fear of travel from him. In his past a trip in a car signified yet another drive to the dog shelter but once he realized that this was not the case with me he started to enjoy traveling to new places all around Canada and America with me and the tigers. Later Gazu traveled with us by airplane and ship to China and Brazil. Wherever we traveled in the world Gazu’s outgoing and enthusiastic nature made him friends everywhere, even in China where people are generally afraid of large dogs.

The only time Gazu showed any sign of slight displeasure was when I meet Heidi, my future wife, two years after I got Gazu. My guess is he suffered a brief case of jealousy. However, it only took him a short time to realize that he did not have to “loose out” and instead, he gained another friend and so he quickly adopted Heidi as part of “his family”. Gazu liked making friends; be that tigers, elephants or humans. Throughout his life, even in old age and in the last months where it was apparent he had cancer, Gazu’s loyalty, outgoing nature and unassuming friendship was exemplary and humbling for those that knew him.

Gazu will be dearly missed and there always will be a very special place in my heart for him. Heidi and I would like to thank Dr. Anne Flemming at the Merritt Veterinary Hospital for her respectful treatment, marked by dignity, for Gazu and letting us be with him until he took his last breath while resting in our arms. Thank you Gazu for your loyal friendship, unquestioned trust and also for the many things I learned from you, rest in peace until we play together again.

1 comment:

CDGardens said...

It saddens me to hear of the loss of your dear pet. He sounds like he was a wonderful companion for many years.

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