As regular readers know, I lost Gabi, my little canine companion of the past 16 years, at the end of March. While I have by no means fully recovered from the grief of her loss. I do feel well enough to have adopted a new dog.
Meet Boots, a three-year-old mix breed with a lovely brindle coat. Boots comes from the PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) no-kill pet rescue in Chicago. He weighs 18 pounds, about double Gabi’s final weight.
Driving Boots home from the shelter was the first step in our adventure together. He was nervous in my car. Or course, I have no idea how much experience he has had in cars and he had clearly never ridden in mine, so I understood his nervousness. For the record, I drive a MINI Cooper hardtop, stick shift. That is relevant as Boots in his agitation, was walking back and forth across my lap as I drove us the four miles home. I love driving stick and it was even more exciting with the dog getting between me and the shift lever on our first ride together. Needless to say, we made it.
Gabi, my miniature poodle and canine companion, turns 16 years old today on December 12. She has lived with me for the past 15-1/2 years. In that period I can’t remember a day in which she didn’t bring a smile to my face or make me laugh out loud.
Gabi weighs 11 pounds. The vet said that a dog this size ages as follows: First year = 17 years, every year after that = 4 years, So Gabi, in people years, is 77 years old.
Also, in the course of our three daily walks, I have met hundreds of people that I never would have encountered otherwise. Some came in and out of my life like raindrops, but many have remained and become a part of my life.
Celebrating her birthday is personal for me and isn’t going to help anyone to lose any pounds or inches. However, a pet can play an important part in one’s happiness. Check out the post – Owning a pet can benefit your mental and physical health.
Although she is a part of my life now, I didn’t have a dog for over 50 years. My brother and I had a dog when I was around 10 years old, but it wasn’t long before he became my father’s dog. You can read about how Gabi came into my life in the post – Anatomy of an act of kindness.
Earlier this year I wrote a post on The ravages of old age which you can read by clicking the link. Gabi is clearly no longer a pup, but while she has some of her abilities waning, she still, hopefully has a long way to go.
Spring in Chicago is a wicked time of year. While we don’t get crippling blizzards like the worst of winter, we suffer from a Chinese water torture of erratic weather that is below freezing one day, low 50’s the next, then back down to the 30’s, and, oh yes, there is the wind. As a result many Chicago bike riders don’t consider riding till late April or May when the weather fluctuates more moderately. For that reason I am celebrating my dog Gabi’s first bike ride of the season. Regular readers know that Gabi rides with me on the Lakefront most days of the year – over 45F – with no wind or rain. She averages around 3000 miles a year in her 13 years of living with me.
I got her the hat initially to protect her from the sun, but I thought it looked so cute, that I just put it on her every time we ride.
I have many shots of her on the bike, but, clearly, it is not easy to get ones of us together. The only ones I have are from the annual Bike the Drive ride that takes place on Memorial Day each year, when Chicago closes the famed Lake Shore Drive for several hours and lets bike riders take it over. About 20,000 of us take advantage of that each year. The ride is sponsored by the American Transportation Alliance (ATA). This year’s listing follows:
With Chicago consistently being ranked by Bicycling magazine as one of the best cities in the nation for biking, there is no better way to celebrate the start of summer than with a ride on the city’s crown jewel roadway – Lake Shore Drive. So grab your bike and enjoy almost 5 hours of car-free riding on Sunday, May 26. Proceeds benefit Active Transportation Alliance’s work to improve biking, walking, and transit throughout Chicagoland.
In past years ATA had photographers along the way capturing riders who wanted a photographic memento of the ride. I stumbled upon some pics from the 2008 ride.
My daughter, Kate, then 14, rode with Gabi and me. Gabi is wearing my windbreaker as it was a chilly morning.
This is a current shot, not on the bike, but wearing her track suit that I got from Amazon. A dog wearing a track suit blows my mind.