Gambler is gone, but will never be forgotten.

By Linda Harper / Yucca Valley,
Hi-Desert Star, California.
Saturday, May 06, 2006.

Dr. J. Woodring at Northridge Veterinary Clinic and all of his staff - Kelly, Mary Grace, Lisa Miller, Shelly, Brian, Sam, Joe, Millesa, Brandi, Lee Ella, Peggy, Jody, Amanda and Evelyn - have all been there when they were needed and will always be in my heart.

Some of you are probably wondering what this is all about, and some of you already know. Yes, it's about my wonderful friend and companion, "The Gambler." Gambler loved everyone in this community and I know everyone that knew him loved him too!

On Jan. 1, 2006, I lost my Gambler after many years of happiness and companionship and being my guide after a car accident in 1992.

I feel like half of me is gone. You have to remember Gambler was with me 24-7. I sit here with tears running down my face, but some of them are happy ones. "Oh what would life be if we didn't have memories?"

I have a lot of them and I would like to share some of them with you if it's OK. Gambler and I went to Disneyland and I couldn't get him off the boat on "Pirates of the Caribbean," and he thought Minnie Mouse was the cutest thing he had ever seen.

We flew to Idaho and they gave Gambler his flight wings. Oh, he thought he flew the plane and of course I let him think he really did.

Gambler was so funny, we would catch the bus (MBTA) and he would tell Margret where he would like to go. One of favorite places was Wal-Mart. I'd say, "Find the door, Gambler" and inside we would go. He would anxiously wait for me to tell him to find Joe. Up and down the aisles we'd go, straight to hardware to find his longtime friend Joe, and Joe would always say, "There's my buddy." And thank you Wal-Mart for the beautiful flowers you sent me. It meant a lot.

And of course Gambler had to go to McDonalds before we ever left the store; "Cheeseburger with the works," he say. (Dr. Woodring, I hope you didn't read this last paragraph.) And out the door we'd go to wait for Margret to pick us up.

Another place Gambler liked to go was Stater Bros., he never had a problem finding Roberta way over in produce so she could help him with his craving for bananas - yes bananas, he could hear you peel one a block away. (Dr. Woodring, I knew you wouldn't care, because bananas have potassium, don't they?)

Gambler and I were in one of the stores in town and before we left I heard a voice say, "Do you want that turtle?" "What turtle?" I replied. "The big stuffed one in your dog's mouth," she said. And I quickly took it from him and said "He was just carrying it for me." What a ham he was! You and I know I would have bought that turtle for him just so he wouldn't look bad even if I would have had to write a bad check. Oh Gambler, I loved all the laughs and giggles.

I start back to the Braille Institute on Tuesday and I feel so empty that he won't be there at my side like he always was, but he will always remain in my heart.

A very special thanks to Dr. Woodring for all the wonderful care he gave Gambler and all the strength he gave me. I love him and all of his staff.

Last but not least, thank you to Guide Dogs of the Desert International for presenting me with such a wonderful friend that has helped me get though life in so many, many ways. I will always be grateful.

End of article.

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