The last of the "old guard" passed last night. Gromit, universally acknowledged to be one of the worst, most stubborn dogs on the planet, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He was around 14 or so.
We got him from a rescue when my old dog, Hawk, passed away from a heart attack, and Josey, the Shepherd pictured above (who passed a year ago in October), was pining. She and Gromit were an immediate perfect match. Gromit got lucky with us, because he'd been taken back to the rescue three separate times, undoubtedly for being a pain in the ass.
In our initial six months together, he was generally happy-go-lucky, meaning he wouldn't obey commands. He even showed teeth and threatened to bite me twice within that first six months. I reeducated him on the spot. While he never did it again after that moment, I realized why people had brought him back to the rescue and knew it was going to be a long haul with this dog.
As time went by and he got settled in, it became clear that in spite of his stubbornness, he was a dog who was all about love. He was gentle with our nephew when our nephew was only an infant, as well as being gentle with my grandmother. He was a cuddler, too.
Funny thing about him was, he was always a little afraid of the puppies, avoiding them until they got to be some magical age or size, making them "safe," in his mind. That didn't stop them from loving on him, though.He was not a smart dog, but he knew what love was.
Goodbye, buddy. Run free.