Gizmo and the CCRT

Years ago we noticed that Gizmo had a passion for chihuahuas. Every time we ran into one of the little chi’s he’d get so excited. They were smaller than him and highly energetic. I remember a time in Key West at an off leash dog park that Gizmo fell instantly in love with a long haired female who admired him as well. It got me thinking.

Three dogs was our limit, but I’d always wanted to see if a chi would fully bring Gizmo out of his shell, so Brent and I agreed to join the Canadian Chihuahua Rescue and Tranport (CCRT). We put our application to be a foster home back in early June 2011.

The process is long and time consuming, but we were finally successful on Saturday, August 6, 2011 a mere four days following Gizmo’s death. On Sunday, August 7, 2011 we got a call that the CCRT was in dire need of foster homes and could we foster a little guy.

I was in tears when I spoke to the coordinator on Sunday night and told her what happened to our Gizmo. I hinted that we might not be a trustworthy foster home. She didn’t hesitate. We were just fine.

She called back on Monday afternoon and asked if we could pick up our new foster on Tuesday afternoon. Exactly one week since we lost our Gizmo. I cried. I wondered. I couldn’t say no.

I pick up Vincent around 1 pm on August 8, 2011 from the Oakville Humane Society. Vincent was named after the artist Van Gogh because they are both missing an ear. Vincent came from a hoarding situation where his one ear was bitten completely off and the other ear was mangled.

When I first saw Vincent I thought, Gizmo would love him. He was so shy he made Gizmo look like a social butterfly. He was so timid Poco looked like a socialite. Taz hated him instantly, but will play with him if necessary.

Vincent is sleeping on my lap as I write this and he’s warm. Taz is curled beside my leg and Poco is at my feet. These moments make me miss my Gizmos so much it hurts. I’ve never had a dog that could cuddle like a Gizmo – across my chest, head on my shoulder and nose in my ear.  I miss him so much there is a hole inside me.

I miss my Gizmo, but he would have loved Vincent and Gizmo has started us on another rescue adventure with a new group. Vincent says thanks Gizmo. Thanks. One little dog can make a difference.

Vincent’s First Day at the Farm 
Vincent Convinces Taz to Play

Gizmo, love Erin

This was written by my thirteen year old niece Erin. Thank you Erin for letting me share this on my blog: 

I just read your blog…I had my first breakdown. I cried, for at least an hour. I tried to distract myself but I couldnt stop. I still cant stop. Its the worst thing Ive ever felt. I thought about the last time I was with him. We were in the Volkswagon Thing. He was laying on my lap, tired from the long walk on the beach. He had crawled up to my ear and made his cute little snorts while licking it like crazy. When we pulled up to my house, I didnt want to leave him. I had the best day with him, and you. 

I miss him. I miss his old man noises. His quiet little snores when he sleeps. The way he walks. His funny little barks. His crazy four in a row sneezes. Everything. I miss everything…

I love him as much as I love my own dogs. I dont know why, but from the moment I met him I loved him instantly. How could you not?

When I was little, and even now, I went through a million best friends. Who doesnt?
He was, and still is a best friend. I couldnt get enough of him. I wanted to spend every possible moment with him. I wish I would have.

Thank you. Thank you for bringing him into my life…he is the best thing in the world.

He is still with us, and always will be…because of this:

Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality
-Emily Dickinson


Special Little Dude

When I was struggling through my early thirties I gave a lot of thought to what I wanted out of life, how to spend my time and what was important.

This is where my devotion to my dogs was born. I’d always loved animals, but I made a conscious decision to make them a big part of my life. I became involved in dog rescue and met other wonderful like-minded people. It was nice to learn that I was not the only crazy dog lady.

Brent and I found our Gizmo. It took a few weeks to organize the adoption and it was an exciting day when Taz and I made the pilgrimage to Ohio to rescue our Little Dude.

I knew the instant I saw him that he was my baby boy. Gizmo was sick and fearful when he first came to the farm, but his spirit was strong. 
I spent months nursing him back to health and then years loving him and helping him come out of his shell to become a glowing, amazing star who learned to shine brightly.

Gizmo loved everyone. He embraced life whole heartedly and would delight in even the smallest bit of cookie. Gizmo and I kitchen danced everyday to whatever song was on the radio that constantly plays in our house.

Each morning I would wake him with belly tickles and he would give me a nose lick in return. When I’d try to stand him up he would slump back over collapsing into bed, but his wagging tail would always give him away. He refused to stand on his big boy legs. Giggling I’d pick him up and cuddle him while his tail wagged like mad and he made his old man noises. We’d walk downstairs smiling together and I’d make a special trip outside, so he could do his business. Gizmo never did figure out the dog door.

Once back in the house he’d dance and spin until he got a cookie which he’d take into the living room and eat on the white carpet. He’d run back into the kitchen and wiggle around my legs until I gave him breakfast.

Whether I was working or not this is how I started everyday. Every moment brightened by Gizmo. Ever step a little lighter, every chore a little easier and a smile to go with it all.

Gizmo loved to play with me. He liked to chase my hands and I’d try and grab his paw. He’d get so excited that he couldn’t contain himself and would run like mad around the house. I’d run too and we’d do laps around the island and into the living room until we’d collapse on the floor where he’d wiggle over to lick my ear.

Gizmo gave the best ear licks.

Gizmo loved laundry. Clean or dirty. He would help me make the bed by grabbing the sheet and pulling. He’d delight in getting stuck under the fitted sheet and wiggle until I’d find him and set him free. He’d dance with joy and try to steal my pillows as I put on the pillow cases.

Taking off clothing was an even bigger event. He loved to steal my uniform shirts, socks and bra. I’d find clothing stashed under the coffee table in the living room. There’s still an old sports bra under my coffee table because I don’t have the heart to pick it up.

Gizmo was a part of my daily life. He brought light, joy and love to me everyday and this is why his loss  overflows my heart with grief. I wish for so many things right now. I wish for Gizmo to be back. I wish I’d left him in the stroller. I’d wished we’d built the fence like we’d talked about so many times.

I am broken. Torn apart. Alone and lost. I don’t know how to get through this horrible event. This thing. This death.
I miss my Gizmos.

Two in the Morning

I was laying in bed at 2 am with quiet tears falling down my cheeks wetting my pillow. I rolled over, got out of bed and crept out of the bedroom so I didn’t disturb my family. I had the air conditioning on and wanted to see if it was still humid outside, but I didn’t want to wake Taz by using the back door. 
I walked through the living room and pushed down the bit of fear I always have of the dark. My hand grabbed the cool brass of the front door and I twisted it open and stepped outside. 
It was humid, but not hot. It felt like everything was dripping with moisture, with fresh tears. The concrete step was cool as I lower myself down and sat heavily. I stared straight ahead at the road. At the site where Gizmo lost his light and I wept. 
A black pick up truck drove by and I tried not to picture the wheel running over the small tender body of Gizmo, but it came into my mind before I could block the horrible image. I shook with the heaviness of knowing and squeezed my eyes tightly shut burying my eyes into my hands trying to breathe. 
I forced my eyes open and with a bit of gold magic I imagined my Gizmo getting up and trotting up the front walkway to meet me on the porch. 
I smiled at Gizmo afraid that if I touched him he would vanish, so I opened the front door and invited him into the house. He entered with excitement and danced across the living room with his toe nails making that undeniable sound on the floor. 
I said “hey little dude, let’s go up to bed” and he ran in a circle and then up the stair ahead of me. He waited at the top of the steps and then we both turned into the bedroom. I lifted him onto the bed and watched as he curled into his spot. I crawled into bed and stroked his head “good night Giz” I whispered and finally fell asleep. 
I woke this morning remembering my night time stroll with Gizmo and smiled, but the grief struck me in the chest and my smile turned to tears. I miss my little dude.

Goodbye to Gizmo

He liked to kitchen dance. He loved his race car bed the most. He would never turn down anything to eat, except lettuce. He loved his crunchy cookies bought special for him.

Gizmo was killed August 2, 2011  around 1030 pm.

I can’t believe he’s gone. I can’t believe I’ll never cuddle his body the way he likes, I’ll never get another ear lick and I’ll never watch him get so excited that he can’t sit still and does this whole body dance.

I can’t stop crying. I can barely breathe. I don’t know how to get through today. I don’t know how to live without a Gizmo.

He just turned four years old in June.

My heart is broken. It feels sore in my chest and sometimes I can’t catch my breath. It feels like my baby died. I feel responsible. I feel guilt and a grief so violent that it threatens to tear me into pieces.

Gizmo’s favorite toy is a rattle that he stole from James when my nephew James was a baby.

It doesn’t feel like someone took a limb, it feels like someone stole my soul. Gizmo was the most loving, kindness, sweetest baby boy, with not a single bad bone in his body. I feel like he was all the good things in the world. He was all the good things in me. All my good things are gone.

He has to sneeze at least four times before he can bark and he has to be very excited.

I have lost my child. There is a hole in my body and deeper into my spirit that will never quite heal. Losing him this way is devastating. I don’t feel broken apart, where I could put myself back together. I am unsalvageable.  I will never be the same.

After two years Gizmo still can’t work the dog door.

Time is a great healer. I know this, but I don’t know how to get through this time. It hurts. It hurts so much and I don’t know what to do. I am completely lost and with no Gizmo to guide my way I don’t know how I’ll ever find the comfort of home again.

Gizmo loves to kitchen dance.

I look my age today. Maybe older. They say that happens when you survive a traumatic moment. I feel very old and broken down. I feel defeated. I am lost.

We were on our way home for a dog rescue meeting. All three pups in the Smart car heading towards home. Brent called and met me in the driveway. I parked in the barn like usual and he took Taz and Poco and started walking towards the house. We’ve done this off leash walk hundreds of times.

Gizmo hates to be outside. He loves the comfort of his soft bed and the safety of the house.

Gizmo was still in the car and I pulled out the stroller and put him in and started pushing it to the house, but he was very excited and wanted out to follow his big brother and big sister to the back door of the house.

Gizmo and Taz are a bonded pair and have been for at least two years.

At the last second a rabbit darted out from under the car and Poco, Taz and Gizmo gave chase. The rabbit darted right for the road. I called out to Taz who immediately stopped chasing and came back. I called to Poco, but he kept going. I called to Gizmo and couldn’t see him in the dark, but I could hear his bell.

We put a cat collar with a bell on Gizmo because sometimes you can’t find him right away even in the house.

I grabbed Taz and threw her in the house while Brent was chasing the boys. I heard it. Like a muffled popping sound, and I knew. I knew immediately without seeing and I ran across the lawn screaming “no. no. not Gizmo”. He never cried out once.

Gizmo hates to run. He hates grass, especially wet grass.

Gizmo was chasing his brother. Gizmo thought it was a game. Gizmo ran over grass and towards the road. These are all things Gizmo never does, except this one time.

Poco was still lose on the wrong side of the road and I saw him running over to us as we crouched over Gizmo’s lifeless body. I picked up Poco and handed him to Brent.

There was one car on the road. She stopped. She apologized. She cried too.

I gently pick up Gizmo and carried him cushioned against my chest into the house. I thanked the girl for stopping. I was part way across the lawn when I started talking. I was crying and saying things like “oh god no. no. no. not my baby Gizmo”. I think I repeated these words over and over again for an hour as we sat on the kitchen floor with our Gizmo for the last time.

Gizmo will never eat another one of his favorite heart shaped grain-free cookies.

Brent and I sat on the kitchen floor taking turns holding our dead puppy. At first we just held him and cried. Wailed. Uncontrollable, near fainting, hyperventilating, deep in the core of your soul grief. I stroked his head and his ears trying to make a memory of the texture. I looked at his face and watched his eyes for any sign of life. There was no pulse. There was limited signs of trauma.

Gizmo favorite place to sleep is next to the kibble.

Time got very weird as we sat on the kitchen floor. Sometimes I’d look at the clock and it hadn’t moved and other times I’d lose an hour. I don’t know how long we sat there petting Gizmo’s body willing it to come back to life. The reality has not set in.

Gizmo just got his therapy dog status.

Poco curled up right next to us on the floor and watched. He looked sad, but he almost always looks sad. Taz came over and sniffed Gizmo paw and then slunk away and didn’t come near us for the rest of the night. I think they were confused.

Gizmo’s bark sounds like he’s a heavy smoker. Gruff.

I begged Brent to bring him back to life. I struck the floor and yelled. I begged god to bring back my little dude. He was so good. So sweet. So wonderful. Please, please, please. I begged.

Gizmo just learned to lay down.

We got Gizmo’s favorite soft blue baby blanket and wrapped him up. We tucked his tail inside and I marveled at how soft and long his tail had gotten. He’d always had a lovely coat. We continued sitting on the floor taking turns holding our baby boy wrapped in a blanket until we could breathe.

Gizmo just got his teeth cleaned last week.

I ask Brent a question that we’re still asking. “What do we do?” Brent said through a sob: we put him to rest. The eruption of tears threatened to choke me. I was struck with a wave of denial, anger, rage, grief and sadness all at once. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t do anything but hold him tighter against my chest willing my heart beat to be his heart beat.

Gizmo had eye surgery over a year ago.

After a while neither of us decided to get up, but we did because it was time. Gizmo was no longer looking like our Gizmo. We were holding on to his body and his soul was gone. With heavy steps we walked to the backyard and prepared Gizmo’s grave.

Gizmo had allergies.

With the hole dug, we stood together shaking and holding our boy. I whispered “this can’t be happening” and Brent broke down for a few minutes. I was standing alone holding Gizmo for the last time.

Gizmo makes old man noises.

I whispered to Gizmo: “mommy loves you very much my baby boy and I hope you can forgive us for letting you down and not keeping you safe. We send all our love to get you to safely to heaven.”

Gizmo hates the rain.

Brent held Gizmo while I positioned his favorite bed in the grave. Brent stood crying and holding Gizmo for a long time. Saying his own good-byes. I took Gizmo from Brent and securely wrapped him in his baby blue soft blanket covering his face as I laid him in his bed.

Brent threw the first handful of dirt and we cried and hugged. “Let’s irish up this funeral” he said and we stumbled back to the house for a bottle or two.

Gizmo never goes near the road because he’s afraid of cars.

We came back out and finished burying our baby. I knew he was going to die before me, but I thought it would be on my terms. I thought it would be my choice. I thought it would be different.

Life is not fair. Life is often cruel. Life is often ended without anyone making a choice.

We miss our Gizmo and this will change our lives forever. How will we get through today?

The post I wrote prior to this one is called  A Gizmo Moment and I had no idea he was going to die that night. I think the video is the same day.

Taz in mourning;

Michelle Branch Gives Gizmo his song: 

A Gizmo Moment

Gizmo is my baby boy. He’s loves the stroller, cuddling and eating. Gizmo hates going outside, rain and damp grass. He’s more of a baby than a princess and it’s okay to baby this little guy. Gizmo spends most of his time sleeping. We think of him as part cat and part shih tzu.

In the winter he’ll spend all day stretched out in his heated bed and only break out of his nest to do the necessities like eat, drink and then potty.

Gizmo has become increasingly outgoing with our attention and love. He started playing last year and it’s the funniest thing to watch him running like mad around the living room with his mouth open and tongue hanging out. He doesn’t last long at these mad dashes, partly because he’s out of shape and partly because he probably had permanent lung damage from being a puppy mill survivor.

It could be his horrific past that allows extra cuddles or maybe just because he’s the cutest puppy that ever lived. Either way this dog is little chocolate bag of love.

Taz and Gizmo couldn’t be more different or more devoted. They are like brother and sister in the way they play and love. Gizmo tends to ignore Tazs snarling and Taz tends not to snarl too much at Gizmo. Taz lets Gizmo do things she would never allow another dog to do, like sleeping in her bed or stealing her food and toys. Gizmo takes full advantage of Taz cuddles, but respects her enough to never steal her favorite pink pig.

We like to call them the Twins even if they are different breeds and different ages. People often ask if they’re from the same litter and some of that is appearance, but most of it is their undeniable connection.

Today I managed to catch a glimpse of Gizmo enjoying some play time. I wanted to posted it to prove that Gizmo does not sleep all the time. There are two videos below: one of Gizmo playing in the living room taken on the 2011 Civic Holiday weekend and the second is of Taz and Gizmo “big bear fighting” during a rainy day on our honeymoon.

He is the cutest puppy ever, especially considering he just turned four years old in June. I hope they brighten your day.

Gizmo Doesn’t Sleep All the Time:

Taz and Gizmo in “Big Bear Fighting” on our Honeymoon
You can hear the rain falling and we’re in our travel trailer.