A Shaker Full of Love
Posted August 29, 2018
Pete and Michelle Gerukos
Michelle and Pete Gerukos’ dog Shaker was one in a million.
Always the happy-go-lucky, funny guy, the Golden Retriever lived
like the entire world was his playground and, in the meantime,
completely changed the way the Gerukoses lived their lives and
beheld each day...with light hearts and TONS of laughter.
Shaker embraced life full-on and was completely convinced that
he could do anything a human could do—only better!
“Every day was a game,” Pete said.
“Shaker lived his life with passion, joy, and love for
everyone,” Michelle said. “He was a genuine gift to our family. He
made us laugh, learn, and love—every single day.”
Shaker came to the Gerukos home on Christmas Day 2006. They had
waited literally years, fearing no dog could possibly “fill the
paws” of Michelle’s three beloved Akitas that came before.
The 8-week-old puppy immediately impressed the couple with his
sparkling personality and his innate abilities to heel and to let
them know when he needed to go outside to use the restroom.
“Literally, from day one when he arrived, he was super smart.
Although we had already seen his brilliance in heeling and
training, he quickly decided he could garner more attention when he
was misbehaving,” Michelle said. “Thus, he was into everything. The
more trouble he could find, the happier he was.”
But the Gerukos family took it all in stride.
“The thing that we noticed the most was just how funny he was,”
Michelle said. “He just brought sunshine and laughter into the
house. The fact that he was so mischevious just cracked me up.”
The Gerukoses’ ability to take Shaker in stride not only had
them laughing but also taking the ups and downs in life in stride,
as well. Shaker literally made them “stop and smell the roses” and
simply not take life so seriously.
In 2015, just before Shaker turned 9 years old, he was diagnosed
with cancer. As he began treatments, he developed a fluid build-up
in his chest and abdomen. Near the end of 2016, not knowing what
the fluid was, Shaker was referred to Texas A&M’s Veterinary
Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).
In College Station, the couple met with Dr. Audrey Cook, an
associate professor of internal medicine at the College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ Small Animal
Hospital, who told the couple that Shaker’s condition wasn’t caused
by cancer but by an idiopathic disease that resulted in a fluid
build-up around his heart.
Pete Gerukos, Chastity Carrigan and Michelle Gerukos
“He went through some pretty drastic surgery for that and was
here eight days,” Pete said. “We came up every day because we only
had 20 minutes (to visit each day).”
Shaker returned home, but the fluid persisted and, ultimately,
the Gerukoses lost the love of their lives to complications with
In looking back at the care Shaker received, the couple wanted
to memorialize both the pet they loved so much and also commemorate
the care he received at the hands of Aggie veterinarians, both at
Texas A&M and elsewhere throughout his life.
They chose to do so by naming an examination room in the Small
Animal Hospital in his honor. “Shaker’s Exam Room” was dedicated on
Nov. 4, 2017.
It brings his family much comfort knowing Shaker’s story will be
shared with many other clients visiting the Small Animal Hospital;
the couple also hopes it will bring comfort and confidence to those
clients that they are receiving care from one of the best
animal-care facilities in the nation, by compassionate
veterinarians and staff who are also helping to train tomorrow’s
future in veterinary medicine.
With their gift, the Gerukoses will provide funds to remodel a
place in the hospital for the C-Arm imaging machine that Cook and
her team use on a daily basis, the very machine that helped Cook
confirm her diagnosis of Shaker’s condition.
“One of the reasons we wanted to do this was because of the
confidence we have in A&M, but, also, spending time here, we
wanted other people to have something beautiful. We wanted to give
back, to hopefully add some humor and love like Shaker added to our
lives. It’s something special for him, for our little boy,”
Throughout Shaker’s treatment, when the Gerukos family would get
the dog ready to come to Texas A&M, he never hid or quavered,
as if he knew he was getting the best care.
“He had so many Aggie vets taking care of him, from the time he
was just a puppy,” Michelle said. “When we would come to the
hospital, he never lost that smile, that happiness. I know that’s
because of the care he received. A deciding factor to live in
Houston was to stay close to A&M because you know you have the
best care, and that’s huge. We’re so fortunate to have that; we
really, really are.”
For more information about the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our
website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of CVM Today magazine.
Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive
Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; firstname.lastname@example.org;
979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)
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