Remembering Gunner

Pets come into our lives to show us how to live.   They teach us to live fully in the present moment and to cherish this one short precious life that we’ve been given.  They teach us what its like to experience unconditional love.  And when we connect with them deeply, they mirror back to us the best parts of ourselves.

Gunner and Natalie

Bold yet gentle,  beautiful, elegant, noble, bigger than life, brimming with love, happy, playful,  compassionate and accepting: these words fall short in trying to describe Gunner in life.  A Bernese Mountain Dog, Gunner weighed in at around ninety pounds.  But it was his life force, his  joyful energy that filled whatever room he occupied, not just his size.

Looking into Gunner’s large happy face, his expressive, almost human eyes, you felt as though you were connecting, not to a pet but to a spirit filled with ancient wisdom.

Gunner came into my sister Natalie’s life,  a bouncing, joy filled puppy.    It wasn’t training that made him a beloved companion, but something more, a deeper understanding, an intuition he brought with him perhaps from a former life.

Gunner’s devotion to  Natalie helped her through some of the most difficult years of her life.  She’d say, “no matter what was going on, no matter how bad I felt, how long I had left him alone, he was always there, waiting for me, happy to see me, ready to give me his love.”

Gunner with Katherine Heigl

Gunner had a brief moment in the spotlight.  He was in the movie Twenty-Seven Dresses, a cameo appearance.  But Gunner’s ongoing award winning role in life was his ability to impact everyone he met.  No matter where Gunner went, people were drawn to him.  He had a way of bringing happiness into people’s lives.  He helped us all forget at least for a moment, our worries and woes.  He helped us live as he always did, in the present moment.

Gunner, The Celebrity

Gunner made all of us who knew and loved him better people.  He has gone on now to continue his journey through the universe.  He left an enormous paw print on the hearts of all whom he encountered. We grieve his loss deeply but are so grateful for having had him in our lives.   He’ll be remembered and loved – he’ll be a part of us forever.



About Paula Todd King

My passions are my husband Ron, dogs who've blessed me with their love, writing, spending time in nature, meditating, reading, and finding gratitude in every waking moment. Earlier this year I was asked to join The Cloud Foundation as Communications Director,which has allowed me to contribute in a small way to help educate the public about the ongoing threat to our nations' Wild Horse Herds.
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16 Responses to Remembering Gunner

  1. Leigh Ann says:

    Paula – beautiful words for a great dog. I am so sorry for Nat,
    I know how much she loved him. My eyes well up, my throat closes, my bottom lip cweivers , and if my heart didn’t feel so full I would think it was a bad thing. I am grateful that our buddies mean so much to us. Hugs to you, Natalie, Ron and Jordan.

  2. Rick, Maggie, & Megan says:

    Paula – What a wonderful remembrance! I think the thing we will remember most about Gunner is his exuberance. We have a great picture of him pinning Megan to the floor in Nat’s house in Connecticut and just licking her all over, and Megan giggling in delight. She will always carry her “mark” from Gunner – her bonded front tooth – a result of puppy and child wrestling together on a trip to Florida. When we went to see 27 Dresses, Rick stopped total strangers as they were going out of the theater and proudly said, “That’s my sister’s dog!” We are glad Nat had Gunner to support her in those difficult times, and our hearts ache for her loss.

  3. Myrtle Hutcherson says:

    Paula, that is a beautiful tribute to Gunner. My heart is sad for Natalie as I too, know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet. They are indeed, like family members, except they are never angry with us, never too tired to spend time with us, always happy to see us and love whatever mealtime brings. You can tell them anything and know it is safe—will never be shared with anyone else. They are wonderful listeners. I know Natalie’s heart is broken right now and Gunner can never be replaced, but again I know a little puppy surely helps to bring happiness and that loving feeling back into your life. Let her know we are thinking of her.

  4. Brenda says:

    Paula, I wish I had your gift with words. I’m so sorry to hear about Gunner; our four-legged companions fill our lives with so much joy and love, and Gunner was especially wise and devoted. Please know that you are all in my heart. Brenda

  5. Debbie Miles says:

    I teared up as I read this- so beautifully written. Dogs come into our lives for so many reason. But their unconditional love is the most precious gift. I am so sorry for Nat’s loss. My thoughts and prayers are with her. I know the Fat Pug is with him at the Rainbow Bridge- their souls are free now. Sending lots of love and hugs!

  6. Cheryl Stanley says:

    I was previledged to be Gunner’s veterinarian in the last years of his life. He was indeed a very special boy. I was also lucky enough to have know Emma, his older sister. Dogs, like children, are also a reflection of the love and compassion with which they are raised. Both of Natalie’s “children” were wonderful companions and beautiful souls. They could not have been more loved by their dedicated “mommy”. The hardest part about loving dogs is having to say good-bye and letting them go when they are called away from us. It never seems to make sense and it hurts so much but the joy we gain from the short time they are with us is priceless. They teach us so much about ourselves and how to give unconditionally. We are all hurting for Natalie and we miss Gunner too.

  7. Leslie Little says:

    Thank you Paula for this beautiful tribute to Gunner. You have captured the essence of who he was to Natalie and to all that knew him. We are all grieving his loss. I miss him greeting me at the door and sitting on my feet. I just miss him. Natalie is getting better and better every day but I know she will always hold him close to her heart. He was her special “boy”.

  8. Rebecca Ponce says:

    My name is Rebecca… I became friends with Natalie and Gunner in Houston when I worked at the pet food store they frequented. I had no idea of his passing, as I had moved back to SC. I had googled him to show a friend his pic with Catherine Heigl… I am heartbroken. Please tell Natalie that she is in my thoughts and prayers, and I will be contacting her soon! I am so sorry!

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