Gina Lollobrigida Viebrock, June ?, 2001-June 9, 2017

Gina Lollobrigida Viebrock, June ?, 2001-June 9, 2017

Yesterday our dog died. Yes, she was old. And no, it isn’t surprising. But the hole her passing has left in Susan’s heart and in mine doesn’t take into consideration that she was probably past her expiration date.

Regular readers of TIO may remember how often in my stories I’ve referred to “Gina the Dog” as a partner in our adventures. When we moved into our “new” house in 2005, Gina moved with us and has been here ever since. Until yesterday.

Gina could be considered a metaphor for life in Telluride? She arrived a scrawny young pup, we speculate abandoned by someone who stopped here for a few days and found her too much of a burden. She was a scrapper, unwilling to allow someone else (including me) to completely dominate her life. She was loyal, as loyal a friend as any I have made in Telluride. And she came to us as a result of the friendships, networks, and often strange logic of this  very special place we call home: two friends saw her scavenging around town, one was able to corral her and get her to Second Chance, then later suggested that someone (we?) needed to foster her while she was recovering from being neutered. I resisted, as I was still in mourning, having just lost our beloved German Shepherd, Willie. I resisted, but Susan insisted, and Gina wormed her way into our hearts.

And ran our house for 15 years. She made it almost to the top of Wilson Peak in the early years, and at age 12 climbed Ballard Peak with Vanessa Hoff and me. Though our walks grew shorter in the past couple of years, and though it’s been a few seasons since she was comfortable going biking with me, Gina still enjoyed a walk out to Society Turn on the bike path, and even a walk up Mill Creek Road from time to time.

On Ballard Peak with Vanessa Hoff

Susan and I just returned from a family visit in Seattle, during which Gina was vacationing at Ted and Vanessa Hoff’s Cottonwood Ranch and Kennel for a week, her second home. Vanessa brought her to Montrose for us to pick up Thursday afternoon, and reported Gina had been energetic and playful the whole time. And when we got her home, she wanted to go for a walk. She trotted along, even loped for a few strides on our quick jaunt, came in, devoured her dinner and wanted to go back out. I took her on a shorter walk this time, and she was reluctant to climb the stairs up to the main level. She faded during the evening and Susan and I took turns sleeping with Gina in the living room- it was clear that some milestone had been crossed.

By mid-morning on Friday it was time to call the vet. Michelle Dally suggested meeting at the Park in Ridgway. An ultrasound check revealed bad news. We caravanned to Michelle’s property for the privacy, and with a beautiful view of the Cimarrons, on a sunny afternoon, Gina’s head in my lap, and with Susan hugging her, Gina was sent on her next journey.

I had a dream the night before, the details of which are hazy except for the part when someone asked me how to talk to someone who has just lost a loved one. The me observing the dream said to the me in the dream, “We don’t want platitudes, and each death is personal to the one experiencing it. All you can say is: ‘I’m sorry.'”

Gina, we had a good run, girl. You left a huge hole that will be awhile filling. I’ll keep an eye out for you at that special place along the river. There are sticks to throw…

  • Bettie Hastings
    Posted at 18:59h, 11 June

    Quite a tribute, Clint, to a very special dog and special relationship. I send a hug of love and support to you and Sue.

  • Nancy Burke
    Posted at 02:25h, 12 June

    Susan and Clint – We are both so sorry. With Love, Nancy and Duncan

  • Jo Shernoff
    Posted at 04:34h, 12 June

    I’m sorry.

  • Diana conovitz
    Posted at 10:14h, 12 June

    With tears in my eyes I read your good bye to Gina…and what is iit about dreams? My dear Sasha was in mine last night.They tell us that forever in the fiber of our beings our dogs live with us forever. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Bob Benda
    Posted at 15:58h, 12 June

    Sorry for your loss, Clint! Just when I think I’m at the end of my rope with the crazy humanity that is Telluride I find your words and am reminded that at the deepest levels we all cherish the same simple things, the unwavering and unconditional love of another being. Thanks for sharing so eloquently your special bond with Gina. Perhaps one day we will learn to focus on the important parts of our relationships with other folks and leave human ego behind. May you find another soul mate soon! bb

  • Clint Viebrock
    Posted at 21:26h, 12 June

    To all of you who have responded to the story of the loss of Gina, I can only reply that I am humbled by your thoughts and feelings.
    And Bob Benda, your wish that we could all treat each other with the love and respect that we show to our pets is very much a part of my thoughts at this time of sorrow.

  • Susan Dalton
    Posted at 22:45h, 12 June

    I am so sorry for the loss of Gina, and I, too, will miss her visits to 465 and her welcomes to your home….she has a special place in my heart. I have lost some of my dear pets too, and I am convinced that part of their place in the world is to teach us about loss and grief, kindness and love. And to also show us that are our hearts are big and able to love again.

  • Susannah Smith
    Posted at 09:25h, 13 June

    Arms wrapped all around you. Much love to you two; I loved Gina and will miss her special greetings and kisses.