Back in 1998/99 we had a beautiful black lab named Reb. Bud’s Smokin’ Rebel was his official name. We got him as a pup when we got married from our dear friend Mr. T who had a fabulous hunting dog named Bud. When we moved to Poolville, it was the first time Reb could run big, after living in the city. We would go to the woods often, and over to the neighbors to pet their horses. One of their horses would bite at Reb, so one morning, I went outside and Reb was “asleep in his kennel”. Or so I thought. So I snuck off by myself, not wanting him to go pet the horses because I didn’t want him to get hurt. I never saw Reb again.

The resulting days, weeks and months of looking for him, driving the countryside, hollering his name, stalking people’s yards, searching endlessly nearly drove me insane. I was inconsolable. The anger, hurt, regret and guilt nearly killed me.

BJ decided that I should get a puppy. Something to love, and hold, and heal my broken heart with. We wanted a yellow female, and looked for a breeder. She had bred a yellow female to a chocolate dad, and we put a deposit down. As it turned out, she only had one yellow female in that litter and she wanted to keep her, the rest were chocolate. So we picked a roly poly chocolate boy. BJ’s Gaugin’ Cajun.

While he had BJ’s name, that chocolate puppy was clearly mine. He breathed life into me, gave me something to pour my heart into, and slowly healed the pain and hurt from Reb’s kidnapping.

Gauge was definitely his momma’s boy. BJ took him duck hunting a time or two, but my fear of losing him or something happening to him while they were gone, made those trips miserable for hunka and I both. I suffocated that poor pup with love and attention. Sheltered him from life’s harshness, and made sure that every single day of his life was the best that it could be.

In my eyes, he was the greatest dog that ever walked the planet. I love him still. On this day, in 1999, Gauge, my precious chocolate baby was born.

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