Yesterday I said goodbye to my best friend Gus. He was a wonderful dog, a big beautiful, proud fella, the Chesty Bonds of boxers! He came to work with me every day from the time he was 6 weeks old. A working dog but not of the ute variety. He was worked in customer service and was a personal shopping assistant to many in my old business haul loitering in the shop window at the store in North Fitzroy. We became known as that shop with the dog in the window. People would ring the store before visiting and ask if Gus was going to be in.
Gusbo with his friends Val and Gina.
He knew his boundaries and wandered at his leisure on the pavement outside the store. Locals from the lady who’d buy him ham (yum!) and his mate that dropped cat biscuits at the door to the homeless blokes all talked to him … sometimes it appeared he was counsellor Gus. The council dog nazi once fined him for being a ‘dog at large’ outside the shop. He refused to pay the fine on principal of course. If I was stressed at work or hit a road block on a problem he’d walk me around Edinburgh Gardens. He had a happy waggle made everyone feel special. Gusbo road shotgun in the van everywhere I went, even had a seat belt. He sat up at human height. Punters did the double take regularly when we pulled up at the lights.
Hounded by paps!
He was obsessed with balls and swimming at the beach. Kong redesigned their rubber balls so they would no longer float (genius…not) One Sunday morning at Port Melbourne beach Gusbo swam around for nigh on an hour hunting a ball which had long ago sunk to the bottom, the Spaniard and I onshore laughing at how determined he was.
He appeared in eps of the Fitzroy based tv show Offspring. Some say he had matinee idol looks – and was very popular with the ladies… and the fellas!
Getting some love from the Spaniard.
Protecting Rambo on the cover.
My ex wife Jo said Gus makes the world smile and she was right. The spot over his eye made him look like a cartoon dog. He was a big fella but kids were never afraid of him. He even received fan mail. He was an early adopter to social media had a twitter and Facebook page before it was a thing – Bondi Vet even took the piss out of him for it. Marketing experts came from afar to interview him Dr Katrina filmed an ep with him and Shane Crawford bought in his tv crew to film a spot. You could say Gusbo was very politically active conversing with politicians…
and running for office (pipped on a count back).
He got me through a divorce, when for a dark time it was him and I sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag of an unused office at my old factory in Reservoir. Got me out of bed each day to face the world regardless of whether I was feeling like it. Gusbo was a regular traveller on the Spirit of Tasmania and retired from public life in his latter years to Hobart. My elderly father who’d been afraid of dogs most of his life bonded with Gus. Even as dad became a bit wobbly as his Parkinson’s kicked in Gusbo read the play and eased up on the lead on their thrice daily walks. He even did sneaky fire escape hospital visits. He was wonderful companion for my mum when my dad passed. Getting her out of the house and into the neighbourhood each day. Dogs are good like that. As an elder statesman discipline went out the window, he slept on the bed, got fed snacks in the kitchen and ignored my calls to get off the couch! Age, cancers and likely a stroke beat him in the end. He was 11 – a good innings for a boxer. Mum and I cried all the way home from the vet. Goodbye my friend, we miss you already.