Goodbye Gilboy – Team Scary’s First Dog

Artistic Director Becca shares some sad news

This is a blog to share the sad news that last year, on the 1st of May while we were on tour in Cardiff, my beloved dog and our Team Scary companion Gilbert died.

As much as he was my dog, he was the company mascot; Adrian and I loved him and he shared our bed, Shazz who used to run SLG with me was one of his favourite people and we spent many happy hours in the tour van with Gil sharing the front seat with me while Shazz drove. And Vanessa who runs SLG with me now took our new puppy Meg into her room in the middle of the night when we had to rush Gil to hospital for the last time.  Many of you will have seen him in our photos, videos and shows over the years, and so it seemed right to share the news with you here – and this video our wonderful editor friend Danny has made of Gil’s life.

Sorry it’s taken me so long to get this news out there, but honestly I’m still really struggling to come to terms with life without my dog. He was my familiar, he was my daemon – he was of me and I was of him.

He had matinee idol good looks – friends and I spent happy hours trying to decide which golden age of cinema star he would be – and he was named after Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables because of the adoration in his big brown eyes when he looked at me (especially if I was eating, he could stare very loudly at these times).

His nicknames were many, including but not confined to: Gilboy, Rocky Gilboa, Gilbotine, Pupstar, Mr Puppyfantastico, Mr Sweet Face, Gilbo Doggins King of the Ginger Ear, Poochos Poochos Ghali, El Poocho, Poochinella, and Ol’ Puppy ol’ puppy ol’ pal.

When I was a young actor and my first agent dumped me, Gil was a puppy playing on my knee when I took the call: what I had imagined would be the worst thing that could happen at that time in my life, suddenly just didn’t seem that important.

When a few years later my mum died, and I realised how bad worst things could actually be, Gil was intrinsic in getting me through and keeping me going.

I feel the lack of his support, attention and presence gnawing an evolving absence in my core, even while I benefit gratefully from these things in my partner, family, friends and colleagues who have stepped closer this year to hold me, my life and my work.

It’s been particularly sad to see his death mark the end of innocence for our young dog Meg, whose puppyhood was ended by the loss of her grumpy (with her) big brother (or Gruther for short).

I’ll never forget when Gil – who in general expressed his distaste for having a puppy in the house at every opportunity – jumped in front of a particularly menacing cat and protected a tiny, terrified Meg from attack, not once but regularly. And when Meg was big enough, she took body blows from a huge young dog in the park, throwing herself between it and Gil to help stop it knocking an elderly Gil off his feet in a mistaken – but dangerous for him – attempt at play.

Thank you to everyone who liked his pictures, hosted him on our tours (despite him screaming when we arrived or departed), applauded him in our shows, loved and welcomed him into rehearsals and venues, drove him around the country with me (despite him screaming when we travelled under 20 miles an hour), and in all ways helped me to give him the most loved and amazing life.

Thank you to all of people who Iindependently told me over the years they wish they could come back as a dog of mine after hanging out with me and Gil, I really hope this means I gave him the best of myself and the happiest life possible.

As I told the kind, Welsh vet over Gil’s still warm body – after sudden onset seizures had torn apart his delicate heart, and we had held him as he had the final rush of medication that took him beyond our care forever – I know everyone says that their dog was the best dog in the world, but he actually was (except yours, of course).

Everyone at Team Scary misses Gil – we hope you, dear reader, have happy memories of him

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