Wednesday, August 14, 2019

From feral to family: "Gabby, the Investigative Tabby" comes in from the wild to join our journalism family, enrich our lives, and sustain us in the fight for justice

Gabby, the Investigative Tabby
(Photo by Carol Tovich Shuler)

We would like you to meet the newest member of our Legal Schnauzer journalism team. (See photo of the handsome feller above.)

His full name is Gabriel Alexander Shuler -- "Gabby," for short. For journalistic purposes, he is known as "Gabby the Investigative Tabby," and he has been a monumentally positive and refreshing presence in our lives -- especially when you consider that Mrs Schnauzer and I have been the targets of legal and political corruption (in both Alabama and Missouri) for 20-plus years now.

Our pets have always been at the heart of our journalistic efforts. This blog started in June 2007, in large part, as a way to honor Murphy Abigail Shuler -- "The Original Legal Schnauzer," who was a source of endless joy during her 11-year journey with us, ending with her death in 2004.

Next came Chloe and Baxter, the biological brother-sister Tonkinese combo, who fell into our laps thanks to one of Carol's friends in Birmingham. The friend had her hair done in Hueytown and knew the hair dresser had two cats who needed a new home because of allergy issues in the family. The hair dresser preferred the cats go to a home with no children, so that seemed to put us near the top of the list for new Tonk parents. Chloe and Baxter joined our household in July 2004 -- and over the 11 and 12 years, respectively, that we had them -- showed cats (like dogs) can provide companionship, comfort, adventure, and hilarity in copious amounts.

What about Gabby? Well, his story proves that sometimes the best things in life appear out of nowhere, on your doorstep, unannounced -- and if you can overcome all of the problems and fears swirling in your life to extend a welcoming hand . . . well, it can be among the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Is Gabby really a journalist? Well, we tend to humanize our pets, so we like to think that -- when he isn't taking a nap, engaging in "grappling" sessions with yours truly, taking a nap, running like "a bat out of Joplin" (as folks tend to say here in the Missouri Ozarks) around our not-too-roomy living quarters, or taking a nap -- he is on the alert for any stories that might materialize in his little world.

In fact, Gabby has a "beat," as we call it in journalism. He is assigned to report on the activities of the birds, squirrels, and bunny rabbits that tend to frolic outside our window. Gabby keeps a diligent eye on their festivities, and while he hasn't written any posts about them yet, he considers himself more of a "long-form journalist," a documentarian, if you will. We hope to publish his first documentary in early 2020, just in time for Sundance.

It's appropriate that Gabby is on the wildlife beat because he came to us out of the wild. We were aware of a feral-cat community that nested near us here in Missouri. Most of the cats appeared to be full grown and were skittish around people. A handful would approach us, and we figured that meant they had been dumped after once having been family pets. Carol and I, and at least one of our neighbors, tried to keep the cats regularly fed.

After being in the area for a while, we started noticing a few kittens in the group. One ginger kitty was so bold that she marched right into our neighbor's apartment, and we hope they eventually adopted her.

While feeding the cats one day, I noticed a little gal (or guy) huddled on the periphery of the group, obviously needing food but unable to get any as the larger cats pounced on every morsel as soon as it hit the sidewalk.

This kitten, it turned out, was no dummy. He took several steps to make sure he could get some "noms," and before I knew it, my heart was taken in. (See photo at the bottom of this post.) One might say that moment changed his life forever. But it probably changed our lives even more.

(To be continued)

(Note: The Legal Schnauzer journalism family -- including "Gabby, the Investigative Tabby," needs your help. Loyal readers have sustained this blog for years, and support is urgently needed now, as we fight for justice and transparency on multiple fronts, for ourselves and for the many other victims who have been the subjects of our reporting. Perhaps most importantly, we want to make sure Gabby has no shortage of "noms" in his bowl.

If you believe America's broken court system needs to be restored; if you believe our courts should dispense justice for all Americans, not just an elite few; or maybe if you are a fellow animal lover who happens to enjoy a good legal tale now and then . . . we hope you will consider making a donation. 

If you are able to help along our journalism journey, please click on the yellow donate button in the upper right corner of the blog, under the "Support the Schnauzer" headline. We are deeply grateful for your support through the years -- and we are especially grateful now to have Gabby, so he can join in a big round of thanks.)

Gabby, the Investigative Tabby . . . in repose between
reporting assignments.
(Photo by Carol Tovich Shuler)



Anonymous said...

So glad you and Carol crossed paths with Gabby. I'm sure he has been a wonderful blessing in your lives.

Anonymous said...

Gabby is a cutie pie. Who could turn down an interview request from that precious boy.

Anonymous said...

I love stories like this, where humans and pets find each other. So glad Gabby has a good home.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:18 --

Thank you. We are so glad to have Gabby in our home. It wouldn't be complete without him.

Anonymous said...

Gabby sure looks comfortable in his surroundings. In that photo on the couch, it looks like he just needs a remote control.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:36 --

Oh, yes, we like to watch the St. Louis Cardinals games together. Gabby and his mommy are big Kolten Wong fans.

Anonymous said...


legalschnauzer said...

@9:37 --

Thank you. We think he's precious, too. And he's got a great little personality. Funny that he doesn't meow. Sort of does a cross between a squeak and a grunt. But he's a purring machine, and we love that.

Anonymous said...

I bet Gabby does a great job on the birds, bunnies, and squirrels beat.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:52 --

Oh, he does. And that's a busy beat in our neck of the woods. Gabby recently gave us a proposal to start a podcast about his beat. He suggested we call it a GabbyCast. Probably will feature highlights from his documentary.

Steve said...

Companions like Gabby help refresh the soul better than any religious tomb.

legalschnauzer said...


So agree. We are incredibly fortunate that we found him. Or maybe he found us. We needed each other, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

I've got a squirrel in my attic. Can Gabby come and cover it?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you were able to make a connection with Gabby before he became fearful of humans. Not sure when the cut-off time is, but I don't think it's too long.

legalschnauzer said...

The cut-off time probably varies, but yes, I think it's pretty tight. We took Gabby to the vet shortly after we got him, and the vet said he was 12-16 weeks old. We thought he was even younger than that, but that's probably because he was malnourished and underweight.

The vet also informed us that we had a little boy on our hands, and not a girl, as I had assumed. Not sure why I thought Gabby was a girl, but I guess folks just tend to think cats are girls and dogs are boys.

Anonymous said...

What kind of shape was Gabby in when you found him?

legalschnauzer said...

He definitely had some medical issues. Living full-time outside, in the elements, is hard on cats -- we learned that for sure. On his vet visit, Gabby was underweight, had a serious flea infestation, and two types of internal parasites -- one of which was a worm (roundworm, I think), and the other was a protozoan infection called giardia. We were so grateful to be able to get all of that cleaned up.

Gabby seems healthy as a horse now. In fact, we tell him regularly, "Boy, you feel so good we can't hardly keep up with you." Carol keeps him brushed, and he smells like fresh laundry. We love seeing the shine in his eyes.