Friday, April 13, 2012

"He ain't just a playmate, he's my brother"

After much anticipation, I'm pleased to announce that Levi's long-awaited companion arrived from Texas this morning. Introducing (drumroll, please) GIMPY!

Gimpy (foreground) and Levi (rear)

As the title states, Gimpy is Levi's brother. As in full brother. As in littermate. They were together for the first five months of their lives. The picture below, taken by my niece days before I got Levi, shows the two of them back then:

I can't tell which dog is which.

My niece, who raised this litter, kept Gimpy for her own family. He was born with nerve damage in his right front leg, and they became especially attached to him as he bravely hobbled around doing everything all the other puppies did. They're still attached to him, but they gave him up for his benefit--and for mine and Levi's.

I knew back in December that I wanted to get another dog. Butch was very old, and I wanted to bring another dog into the pack so Levi wouldn't be left alone when Butch's days were done. Those plans fell through when Butch became very ill, and Levi, at the same time, developed a bad limp. I had all I could handle then, and I knew darned well that Butch did, too.

And so we waited. We waited until Levi's limp was healed and after that until nothing else could be done to prolong Butch's life. And then we waited some more. The niece who owned  Barkley, Levi's half-brother that I had planned to get, had second thoughts about giving him up, but my other niece, who owned Gimpy, said she might be willing to let me have him. They had five dogs, and she felt that Gimpy might be happier in a place where he could be an inside dog. I was thrilled at that idea.

Still we waited. I had a medical scare and didn't want to take on the care of another pet until cardiology tests proved nothing serious was going on. After that, we waited for my niece to break the news to her young son that Gimpy might be better off where he could live indoors, and then we waited for that brave little boy to reach the same conclusion.

Then it became a question of logistics. Between birthdays, Easter celebrations, and other obligations on each side of the Texas/Louisiana state line, we couldn't find a time to get together in the same place to put Gimpy into my hands. And then last week, suddenly, the niece who owns Barkley announced that she and her family were coming through here on their way to New Orleans, and they volunteered to bring Gimpy with them. I couldn't believe it was finally going to happen.

Gimpy was frightened when they dropped him off here this morning. He tried to climb back into the car as they were leaving, and, once we had him in the house, he looked around for a way to get back outside to the people he knew. He was extremely nervous for about three minutes. At about the four-minute mark, we took him out the backdoor where Levi waited in the yard. They busied themselves sniffing each other and getting reacquainted for about another minute.

Gimpy (left) and Levi, moving in for the sniff.

About five minutes into Gimpy's first day here, my daughter Kim threw a tennis ball, and in that instant a beautiful friendship was rekindled. Game on.

 Levi had the ball in this picture, but Gimpy reached it first
just as often as Levi did.

Gimpy is about three-fourths the size of Levi. Despite his gimpy leg, he can run like the wind. He and Levi have played a lot of ball today. They've also played chase through the house, taking turns being "it." And when I sat down at the computer to write this post, they both lay down, a few feet apart. They've been napping together ever since.

I think these two brothers will prove to be a match made in Heaven. I'm so happy--and so grateful to everyone who helped to get the two of them back together.


  1. I'm so thrilled for you and cannot wait to meet Gimpy. I'm hoping to come see you and Leah sometime in May. I know Levy is over the moon, too. What a happy day!

  2. one thing about this one you will think you are seeing double.

  3. Linda, I'm so happy for you. They look adorable together and aren't you lucky to get brothers!! The fact that they once knew each other is so great, they will be side by side from now on.

    You know that old song "Side by Side"? You are probably too young.

  4. I'm so happy Gimpy is finally with you! I bet Levi can't believe his luck, getting his brother for a new playmate.

    I always wondered if littermates could tell that they're related? I guess we'll never know.

  5. Oh so happy!!! I've been hoping for a new playmate for you both!!! Congratulations on your new addition!

  6. I am just plain ole' happy for all of you!

  7. Oh, I'm so, so happy for you and Levi! I can't wait to read the stories these two are sure to inspire. What lovely dogs...I can feel the happy energy from this post!

    I love the photo of the two of them sleeping together and can imagine how great it must be to have them once again relaxing together at your feet! Lovely post! xx

  8. Writing My Novel, I can't wait to see you. I think you'll find Gimpy a little less overwhelming than Levi. :)

    Patsy, it's easy to tell them apart close up, and not too difficult at a distance if they're together, but if I'm looking at just one dog from a distance, I can't be sure which one it is unless they're moving. Gimpy has a distinctive walk.

    Leah, you'll love him even more in person. Come and meet him soon.

    Nan16, "Side by Side" is what I'm hoping for, and yes, I do remember the song. In fact, I'm pretty sure I remember all the lyrics.

    Janet, you know how long I've been talking about this possibility, so you know how happy it makes me. I don't know if Gimpy and Levi understand that they're brothers, but it's obvious they know they're buddies.

    Holly, thanks. And you're right, we both needed him.

    Sandy, you have more than one dog, too, so I'm sure you understand why I wanted Levi to have a canine buddy. It's amazing to watch their interactions.

    Marion, it's double the fun and half the tennis-ball throwing. Can't beat that!

  9. Linda, I came to comment on your SS Flight blog but got sidetracked by this marvellous post. A heart warming story.
    My daughter's youngest golden retriever is claiming to be the Under 3s World Champion Tennis Ball Fetcher. So she'd make friends with Gimpy and Levi.


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