I found Gonker at the pound in the summer of 1992 one year before I graduated from the University of Virginia. I spent most of my time at UVA practicing and teaching Kundalini Yoga and studying Anthropology. Both of these pastimes while fun and illuminating left me unprepared for the world of work. So I found myself broke with my only job prospects being cutting lawns and landscaping. And there was Gonker always sitting in my truck and getting out to play stick whenever he could.
https://web.archive.org/web/20041108003658/http://www.gonker.net/gonker/ ( old archive of a website about Gonker)
You see Gonker was my dog and I had had him since he was a baby; since I could hold him in one hand.
And he was always with me until I became too ill with Ulcerative Colitis and I had to go live by myself while my parents took care of him.
Gonker loved living in the countryside near the Blue Ridge mountains and like me, Gonker had a hard time adjusting to life in Northern Virginia with all the rush and traffic. Unfortunately making $$ proved to be difficult in rural Virginia so I moved to the DC area to look for some kind of work and Gonker followed me.
Gonker looked quite healthy but he suffered from a serious illness, Addison’s Disease -- which is an adrenal gland disorder -- for which he received medication. He needed to see his vet again every 40 days or so, I was worried when he wandered off the Appalachian Trail near Love, Virginia on the 10th .
As I mentioned above Gonker tolerated living the Nothern Virginia area but like me he missed the Blue Ridge mountains. So one fall weekend in October , I drove down to Charlottesville Virginia to visit my friend Mark and do some hiking on the Applachian Trail. We piled our collective three dogs into my small (and constantly breaking down ) Hyundai and drove out to the trailhead near Love Virginia.
I remember it being a beautiful day and night but unfortunately Gonker wandered off the trail right before it got dark at night. And he never came back. So I started to get worried the next morning. That night and the next day we looked for him and the next day which turned into a whole week of putting up flyers and asking people.
Eventually I had to go back to work and there I started thinking about how to organize a search. My dad came out to help me look the next weekend along with group of friends -- they cared but they were also hard to organize and motivate.
Most importantly my mom got Gonker and his story and the race against time in the local paper.
Finally just as time was begining to run out -- we got some tips from the Wintergreen police - Officer Spanky Harris and Seargent Gary Wade that a dog similiar to Gonker's description has been seen running around .
In a stroke of good luck my friend Matt just handed a flyer to a couple living on white oak drive mr and mrs bowen who said they had a dog living behind their house who had arrived two weeks ago
Well sure enough .. It was Gonker ..
He was as surprised to see me as I was surprised to see him ; Wintergreen and the George Washington National forest is quite a big area to cover ..
It seems Gonker had taken a turn north from where we had lost him and from there, crossed some roads and headed 6 miles north to Wintergreen Resort where he had been wandering around eating people' s trash . He must have been living well because if anything, when we found him two weeks later. He seemed to not have lost one pound , if anything seemed fatter we were all very happy to find him ..
Thanks to my mom - who is a tireless worker and organizer. She got Gonker in 4 newspapers
* October 17th 1998 - Daily Progress Article
* October 21rst 1998 - Daily Progress Article
* October 28th 1998 - News Virginia Article
* October 28th 1998 - Daily Progress Article
Rest In Peace - Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Gonker, my dog of 11 years, left this earth this morning and was buried in my parents backyard.
Gonker is in heaven now chasing the fox. Here is his final resting place in the backyard garden with his favorite stick.
He was born around July 4th,1992 so here also are some pictures of his last birthday party.