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A tribute to my best friend, Augie

Honoring a four-legged extension of the MTN family
Augie and b-day cake
Posted at 8:35 AM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 11:33:48-04

In the video above, Ryan Gamboa offers a tearful and loving tribute to Augie, his Goldendoodle puppy that was was on born November 14, 2022. Augie unexpectedly passed away early Saturday morning.

From the day I brought him home, he filled a void in my life. The first picture I saw of him and his crusty eyes stole my heart. Like any puppy, when we met, he was quiet in nature. When I brought him home that quiet in nature fluff ball turned into a ball of energy, immediately.

Augie the 49er fan
Augie may have been born and raised a Montanan... He will forever wear the red and gold.

Reflecting on his short life, I remember the first week he came home — I had to take an overnight trip to Glasgow for work. I couldn't back out as we had it planned for weeks. It just so happened he came into my life at that time. The little guy may have been sad and caused his dad some heartache, he never complained or showed me less love because I had to work later than usual.

As he grew up trips to the dog park, play dates at Fetch Pet Boutique, and snuggling up on the couch became the norm. We went everywhere together — taking our first road trip to California to visit my parents shortly after he received his full dose of shots. We had one accident as we gassed up in Missoula. His dad must have been a crazy driver because Augie threw up in the passenger seat.

Augie riding in the car
Car rides made Augie's day.

It was hard to be mad at him. Especially with him always being a step ahead of me. He was the smartest dog I had ever met. Augie picked up any trick or training I threw his way. He needed the challenge to slow his brain down. He was so high-energy, I've been through numerous sets of window shades, plush toys, and filled countless holes in the yard. It's funny how dogs destroy the gifts we give them and find ways to get into mischief. Augie, was no stranger to mischief.

Testing my patience numerous times and making me wonder if I was fit to be a dog dad, we persevered together. We met each other at one of the toughest times in my life and we relied on one another. At what cost do we deserve a dog's endless love? That cost for me is saying goodbye far too soon.

Augie patiently/impatiently waiting for his dad
Augie patiently/impatiently waiting for his dad.

His mischief landed him an emergency stay in the hospital on New Years Day 2024. Stomach problems from eating a something he shouldn't have. Watching how much pain he was in and his mood taking a 180 — hurt me. I wondered what I did wrong. I questioned if there was something more. I was concerned about all the what ifs. Again, we leaned on each other — navigating a cone and those sad puppy dog eyes.

He was my best friend and if you've read this far and have dogs of your own, you understand what I'm saying.

Augie wasn't just my best friend at home. He instantly became a part of the MTN family. When you got me, you had him. If you looked closely during a broadcast or in a story you may have noticed him laying at my feet or making an appearance. Whatever I threw his way, he was up for the task. He never asked questions or said no. He just wanted to be with his person.

Augie and Burg
Augie loved Uncle Ryan Burg — MTN Reporter from Helena.

He made countless appearances on Montana This Morning and on the weekend broadcast. I look back and realize he was made for television. I shared him with you because when I entered this business, I didn't want to be only be a face on the screen. I wanted to find common ground with viewers who trust me to deliver the news. Augie helped me form relationships in the community. If you saw me at the grocery store or working on a story, many said, "Hey, it's Augie's dad!" He was a part of my identity in Montana. It's safe to say, he's more Montanan than me being born and raised in the Treasure State.

We celebrated his first birthday on Montana This Morning, he played a role as Simba from Lion King, when dressed as Rafiki for a Halloween costume.

Augie on Halloween MTM
Halloween with Augie on Montana This Morning.

I think back to why I named him Augie. My baseball hero is Augie Garrido, a baseball coach with the most wins in NCAA history. Garrido was successful because he brought the best out of his players. Augie brought the best out of me.

As I mourn the passing of my best friend, I say its a good-bye but it's only a see you later.

For those who have lost a pet — you understand the empty feeling left in your heart when the sounds of your home change. It's and adjustment and in my experience I didn't go home, I slept at my desk because home didn't feel like home. The wound is still fresh. I'm working on a day-by-day approach when it comes to grievance. It isn't easy. I'm hanging onto the good times we had together by paying respect to the puppy who changed my life forever.

A letter:

Dear Augie,

Words can't describe what I'm feeling right now. You impacted my life from the moment we met. The puppy smell still lingers when I think of you. Going to bed without you has led to sleepless nights and lost thoughts.

If I could find the words to say to you, I'd say, thank you. Thank you for loving me unconditionally without judgment. Thank you for pushing me to think of others more than myself. Thank you for helping me practice patience, curiosity, and humor.

You made me smile each day. You made me proud each time we practiced "mano" and speak. You brought joy to others when they stopped by the house. You even dirtied some outfits before a night on the town. Whosoever it was, they loved you anyway.

If anyone were to tell me I'd have to say goodbye to you. I wouldn't believe them and because it's true, I'd drive to the end of the earth to give you one last hug, one last trip to the dog park, or one last ride in the car.

Arlo also misses you. Yesterday when I left for work, he was laying in your favorite spot by the front door. We all miss you.

You'll forever be my best friend and I'll forever be your dad.

I have place picked out for you on the bookshelf. I have your favorite lamb chop ready to sit at your side.

While you're away, I hope you are frolicking in God's dog park. I hope you meet my family dog's Belle and Buffy. I'd bet Belle could beat you in a race. I hope there are treats, hugs, kisses, and everything else your heart desires. You deserve it.

I love you to the end of time, August. We'll play again someday.



Augie on the Weekend Broadcast
Augie's first appearance on a broadcast — He had to wear a bow tie to be allowed on the show!