The Strong One: A Song for Gunner | Adam Robertson | Composer


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I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Gunner. Through a series of events, my wife came to learn that Gunners original family had left him at a shelter about an hour North of us. In June of 2016 they decided to get a new dog and leave Gunner at a kill shelter at age 11. My wife picked him up soon after.

In all honesty, I had a hard time getting close to a Gunner at first. I’m not exactly sure if it was because he showed up at a weird time in my life, or because we had a house full of other shelter animals, or if it was because he just reminded me of someone from my past a little too much. Either way, it took a while. But it happened. Eventually. He was a quirky guy, different from any other dog I’ve known. He barked. A lot. Particularly when it was eating time. He had a great attitude and got along with everyone, human or non-human. The only of our dogs who could do such a thing. But after a couple of years here, Gunners health started to decline. Cushing’s disease, pancreatitis, dementia and arthritis are a hell of a combo. But Gunner managed them all somehow. And until the ripe old age of 16 he held strong. He never complained. He just held himself up and kept wanting to fight. Deciding to let him go was honestly one of the hardest decisions of my life, but he was just dealing with too much. He had held for so long and we didn’t want to let him hurt anymore.

One night, some years back, I was in my studio as usual and I was working on something. I am not sure what though. But at some point, Gunner walked in, looked at me, and curled up on the ground next to me. He didn’t do this much as he kept to himself most times. So I noticed when he did. I stopped whatever I was working on and opened a new project. I wrote this melody while watching him sleep that night. I told him that one day I would finish it after he was gone. In hopes that he might recognize that moment we had some years back.

I learned a lot from a Gunner. About myself and about living. I spent countless endless nights with him, watching him fight a disease that sometimes never let up. But he always kept going. No matter what.

We let Gunner go on June 6, 2020. It’s been a week now.

I will never forget you, Gunner. I know you weren’t mine for very long, but you were. You were meant to find us and I’m just sorry that it took so long.
I will miss you and I will think of you always. I hope you can hear me. I will look for you on the other side.

I love you, buddy.