Category Archives: Gizmo

Aug 2 – My Gizmo

I sit here on Aug 2, 2013 thinking back two year to the night I lost my Gizmo. He did something he never does. He ran and took with him a piece of my heart leaving my soul wanting.

Not since I lost my horse Sam to the same road in nearly the same spot in 1997 have I felt such grief rip me apart. Two years later I watch the video and the grief rips through me anew. There is no comfort. There is no time that will fill this emptiness. I work hard and try and save as many souls as I can, but it will never correct my mistake and it will never bring my Gizmo back.

I sit here at 2 am and the same song played on the radio as it did the night Gizmo died. I cry. I weep. There is no anger behind these tears nearly two years later. There is only sadness and missing. I miss him. I miss his caring nature and his kindness. I miss his love in work boots.

Gimzo opened my eyes to the plight of puppy mill dogs and rescue dogs which in turn opened the door to animal rescue. Poco, Jackson and Gus can all thank Gizmo for their lives here on the farm, and so can the twenty something other dogs that we’ve foster over the past six years.

Which brings us to Splash. Another lost, abused, neglected and abandoned animal that needed our help. This was one case we couldn’t afford to do alone, so we reached out into the community and asked for support. We asked for donations and kindness. We asked that people show they cared for animals and we made them think about those neglected through this one horse. Our community rose to the challenge and gave not only donations, but support to our family. Acceptance that its okay to love animals.

Thank you community and thank you Gizmo for being the inspiration behind Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary.


One Year Later

The memory of Gizmo’s death has become fragmented and is lodged in my brain like many pieces of jagged glass. At any given moment a blinding spotlight could hit one of those images taking me back in time.

Every day since Gizmo died I see his face. His alive face full of fun and I can feel my heart breaking all over again. How do I let him go?

There are many wonderful sayings such as: when a dog dies he takes a piece of your heart and with the arrival of another dog it gives you a new piece of heart. There must be something wrong with my heart because it no longer fits back together correctly. The pieces are all too small and shriveled. They are too open and bleeding. They don’t belong together anymore.

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Tar Lightening – Gizmo

Gizmo died Aug 2, 2011 and the grief still catches me and I miss him so much it hurts. It’s been four months that I’ve been without my Gizmo and life is not as rich or as full. Of course we go on, but the loss is incredible and affects every day of my life.

My good friend Chris has set up the website, so I can categorize the posts into groups making them easier to find. I read Goodbye Gizmo (category: Gizmo) which tells about the night he died and I cried so hard. The tears fresh like the night it happened. I miss him so much.

The pain is like a bolt of lightening covered in hot tar that rips through my chest and sends the grief directly into my heart. I wish for so many. 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 wish I could turn back the clock.

Even months later I am broken. Torn apart. Alone and lost.

This video was taken the day Gizmo died. He was playing in the living room and I picked up the video camera and shot the last images I’d ever have of Gizmo.

Little did I know that I would be having one of the worst days of my life that would haunt me a lifetime. I miss Gizmo.


Healing Time

There has been some discussion on how quickly people heal after the loss of a loved one. The books say anywhere from six weeks to six months depending on the connection. It’s only been five weeks since my Gizmo died, so I haven’t even hit the bare minimum in terms of grieving. I need time.

To all my loving friends and family: this is the normal grieving process. It’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to mourn. I feel sad. I feel sad in the way that I miss my Gizmo and not in the way that I’m spiraling downward into a great dark abyss. I’ve spent enough time in therapy to know that the only person who knows me best is me. I know I need time.

I understand that my grief may seem distressing and difficult to handle. I can’t tell you when it will end. I can’t tell you when I’ll feel better, I just will.

Gizmo was like a child to me and if you think how human parents mourn the loss of a child then perhaps that will put it into perspective for non-animal lovers. The loss of a child can destroy marriages and people. The loss of a child can make a parent leave their entire lives behind and seek a new beginning where nobody know them or knows of their deep grief.

Gizmo was a part of my every waking hour. I thought of him often and he brought a light and joy to my life that I wish I could find again. I might not ever “get over it”, but I will find a special place in my heart for Gizmo and my life will go on. It will never be the same life. It will forever be changed by the course of events that occurred on Aug 2, 2011.

If I could have changed just one small thing on that night then my life would be different. Then I’d still be happy and joyful, and still have that incredible light in my life. I can’t go back in time. I can’t change what happened. I wish everyday that I could have my Gizmo back.

I still have a huge swamp of guilt to wade through. You can tell me it wasn’t my fault, but the reality is I didn’t keep my boy safe. I didn’t protect him and for that I have guilt. Nothing can take that way, but I admit it and accept it.

Today is September 8, 2011 and eight years ago today my mother died. She was one of the few people who really understood me. She got me in ways that nobody else ever could. She got me in ways that only a mother can understand a child. There is a connection between a parent and child and when that connection is suddenly and violently severed it hurts for both individuals.

I miss my mom, but I know she and Gizmo are sitting on couch watching their favorite shows and eating a bag of regular potato chips. I know they are watching me like a mother watches their child, and a child watches their mother. With love and adoration.

I might still cry a little too much. I might think about my Gizmo a little too often, but yesterday I looked a picture of Gizmo and smiled. It only happened once, but that’s progress.

I love you little dude and mom. Keep safe.

Water Wings

It hit me when… 
I was putting on my socks.
I was cutting the grass and I looked out on the road.
I was walking out to turn off the water pump.
I was feeding the dogs. 
I was getting the mail. 
I was planning our next puppy friendly vacation. 

When I found the little brown sweater with the buttons on it that is the same colour as Gizmo. 

It’s my last thought at night before I fall into a shallow sleep and the first thought when I wake up. 

He’s gone. My Gizmo is gone and I can’t change it. I can’t bring him back and I miss him so much it hurts.

I got the package in the mail from International Therapy Dogs with Taz & Gizmo’s ID cards and information. Gizmo would have been an amazing therapy dog.

Sometimes when I’m outside and it’s really sunny, I think: Gizmo wouldn’t have been outside much today because he didn’t like it when it was too sunny; or when it rained, but he loved the snow. He’d push his way through and you could almost hear his puppy giggle. He’d come in covered in snowballs delighted with himself. He was always so delighted with himself. 

I miss him so much. Life goes on and thing go on and work goes on, but I still miss him every moment of everyday. I can’t think of much I wouldn’t trade to get my Gizmo back.

My heart aches and the tears fall as I think of his chubby little body and his happy smile. I’m sad or angry or empty. I still smile, but it’s only through the tears. 

I can barely hear the things going on around me. It sounds like the radio is on low and I can’t quite make out the words to the song, but I can hear the noise. It’s like Charlie Brown’s teacher talking. I know things are happening and the world is spinning, but I’m not really a part of it. 

I like riding my motorcycle and the wind knocks the thoughts out of my head. I like going a little too fast. I like a little danger. It makes me feel a little more alive, but this is when it hits me. Gizmo hated my motorcycle. 

I have been reading a little on grief and I know everything I’m feeling is normal. I found this great quote about the ocean: Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.

I could really use some water wings.  

Farm Life Goes On

Amid our sadness and grief there are still other animals that must be tended to and care for with summer quickly fading to fall. The tire needs to be fixed on the tractor. The hay building needs to be cleaned out and the roof repaired. The pig shelter needs to be moved, insulated, sided and fenced.

The water needs a float.  A trip to the feed store is in order for chicken feed, pig feed and some more white electric fence ribbon.

We have two roofs to fix and a shelter to build for the backhoe before October. This doesn’t include the daily activities of feeding and watering. This doesn’t include puppy care, foster care, vet visits and some sort of social life.

It’s amazing I have time to cry. We’ve had to stop recent projects because of the grief. Brent and I simply could not move forward. We had to sit and cry. We miss our little dude who was a huge part of our daily life. It’s not getting easier and in some ways it’s harder the farther away we get from the day Gizmo died.

We did get the pig shelter built, moved and sided. We’ve gotten to visit with a handful of friends. We’ve been lucky enough to share our grief. There’s a lot of people that miss Gizmo.

Life on the farm must go on, but every few hours the loss hits me in the gut like a Mike Tyson punch. It hits me in the core and rattles everything. I have to stop. I can’t breathe. It’s the same image that causes me to double over – picking his little body up off the road knowing.

It’s seeing his body in the dark, not moving, not breathing and Brent immobile over top. It’s scooping him up and his head lists to the side. It’s cuddling him until his warmth is gone.

A friend said I need to find the joy back in life. I have smiled as Vincent comes to life with our love. I have smiled when we brought Autumn a bale of this years hay and she nickered in delight.

I’ve laughed at Brent arguing with the j-trim as we sided the pig building, but deep down there is a sadness. A loss. Immense grief that catches me off guard and knocks me down for the day.

Time is a great healer and most of the time, I’m filling time, until time passes. That’s like therapy. Ironic that the beast that took my Gizmo is the same thing that gives me comfort. The farm. I hate it and I love it.

I’ve been thinking about the beach lately. I’ve been thinking about long walks on the beach with no cars. I’ve been thinking about winter isolation. I’ve been thinking about escaping for a little while. I guess I’ve been thinking a lot lately.

I miss Gizmo.

Going to Town

As I make my rounds through town people are noticing the lack of a gorgeous chocolate shih tzu that used to be part of our pack. The owner of the PetValue in Fort Erie remembered Taz’s name and then started to talk about the most beautiful chocolate shih tzu that comes into the shop. I showed her a picture of Gizmo and she said “yes!” Where is he?? Gone. Lost. Dead.

I cried in the middle of PetValue. She gave me a free sample.

I got home and got the mail and in an envelope was a letter from International Therapy Dog wanting to congratulate us on completing the multi-dog therapy dog training. Taz and Gizmo were a team and just got their therapy dog status this past June. Bitter sweet. Happy and heartbreaking. Sad and wonderful. More tears for my overflowing bucket.

No wonder I don’t want to leave the house when every time I turn there is a six degrees of separation person who misses Gizmo. It hurts and wells up inside me and then I’m proud that he touched so many people.

A friend said I needed to find the joy in life again and one of my favorite things to do is ride Autumn. I rode and then gave her a big bubble bath. It passed the time, but the grief is still strong.

I moved the horse and goats back into their three acre paddock and walked back into the house to notice that my necklace was hanging off my neck and my locket was gone.

The week Gizmo died I ordered a locket. It was a simple silver locket with a paw print in the front, Gizmo’s name engraved on the back and his picture inside. I loved it. I lost it too.

I contacted the company I ordered the locked from (Heartsmith) and they’re sending me a new one. ASAP. A ride on my horse and an act of kindness. There is still some goodness left. I think Heartsmith may have pulled a Gizmo. An act of kindness.

The Bed

I have a HUGE King size panel bed that easily stands over four feet at the mattress. It’s huge and lovely. The dogs have a tough time getting in and out of it. I’ve tried cushions, stairs, couches, ramps and nothing.

The nothing was bad because they’d wake me up in the middle of the night to get on and off the bed. It wasn’t like Gizmo where I had to get up and walk him down stairs for a drink. Poco and Taz can do it on their own. I was also afraid they might fall off.

I put a ramp up, but that lasted a day when Taz got her toe nail caught and cried like a baby. That’s it! The bed is going on the floor.

I can only say I bought the bed years ago from Lampman’s Furniture in Fenwick and it wasn’t cheap. Now, my not so cheap bed with lifetime warranty on the mattress is sitting on the floor because of my dogs.

I still have the headboard and footboard in place, but the box spring and mattress sit on the floor. I have an old couch cushion as a step, so they can jump up and down. It’s a big bed. At first it felt like sleeping in a coffin with the high front and back, but now it feels safe and comfortable.

Even little Vincent can manage the leap and the pups spent the first day delighting in jumping on and off the bed without any hint of danger.

Gizmo would have loved it, but he’d still wake me up in the middle of the night to turn on the hall light, so he could navigate the stairs. I think he was afraid of the dark.

Grief and Thoughts

What do you believe? Fate? Destiny? Karma? A higher being? God? Religion? Do you believe that things happen for a reason? Do you cling to your beliefs during times of crisis? I have a certain amount of ambiguity about my beliefs.

Life is rarely clear defined as good and evil or black and white. Life is full of grey areas and this is particularly true when discussing fault. Brent and I are responsible for keeping our heartbeats safe. We must keep them out of danger they don’t understand. We failed to keep Gizmo safe and accept our responsibility. 
Brent and I are level headed people and understand accidents happens. We’ve walked that off leash walk from car to house a hundred times and we knew the risks, but we never actually believed anything bad would happen.  
A parent can tell a child a million times to watch for cars, but if a child gets hit by a car a parent feels guilty. Why? Because, it’s a parents job to keep their children safe. It’s my job to keep my puppies safe and I failed. I take responsibility. I won’t blindly accept that it’s not my fault and I ask for forgiveness. 
I am responsible for Gizmo’s death and I have to live with that. Was it destine to happen? Am I somehow less responsible because of fate? I don’t know, but I am living with my broken family and fractured life. Gizmo was our glue, he was our love and our joy. I miss his so much. 

I had this vision of my family over the next ten years and my vision is shattered. I can’t seem to adjust to life without Gizmo. I had the most amazing family for three years and I should be grateful, but I’m lost without my little dude.

I marvel at how versatile Taz has been over the years. She lost her most loved companion: Misiu, who helped her transition from puppyhood into adulthood before he died. She grieved deeply at his absence. She stopped eating. Stopped playing and would sit in the window watching the world, but refusing to participate. Gizmo has left her, along with all the fosters that have come and gone over the years. She’s spent some time sitting alone in the back porch gathering all her dearest toys and staring outside. This is her grief.

I wish I was at the phase where I could see the good and feel positive, but I’m not there yet. Give me time.

Gizmo walking the Bridge

The sky looks like heaven tonight. Blue sky with pink and gold edging on the fluffy white clouds. I imagine Gizmo and I are both under that sky tonight. It’s a summer night in August and we’ve got a fire going in the backyard and I can’t help but think of my Gizmo. I have the wagon with a pillow out for Taz, but I think Gizmo would really love it too.

I’d like to say my heart breaks, but it’s already broken and I realize now I can’t fix it’s deep fracture, but I know it will heal with time. I feel sore and tired like I’ve run a marathon, but I’ve only gotten out of bed. I crawl from my dark room and drink tea and check my email. Another day goes by and another day I move farther away from the memory of my little chocolate love.

I wander my farm and look after the other critters who still need my care. I mow the grass and get the mail and see the spot where my Gizmo died and I don’t want to live here anymore. It feels like it was never real. It feels like the farm was an illusion. Life can never be that good.

It’s like losing myself. It’s like nothing can really be that good… and last. I wasn’t prepared for the shoe to drop. I wasn’t ready to lose a piece of my family. I am distraught.

With Gayle’s words swirling in my head I walk out and sit crying at Gizmo’s grave when I suddenly see him clearly in my mind. He’s walking across a long beautiful bridge and he stops and turns his head to look at me. He wags his tail and jumps a little and I think, I’ve got to let you go Gizmo.

I cried a little harder and I said good-bye to my little dude and watched him trot happily along the bridge. I couldn’t see where he was going, but he wasn’t afraid to go there and I finally found some comfort. Gayle is right, my Gizmo is still surrounded by love.

Knowing I need to let him go and letting him go are two different processes, but I’m glad that I finally know what I need to do. I’m glad I can work towards something.

I still cry everyday and probably will for a very long time, but I can picture him doing is cheeky backwards glance and almost hear him giggle his puppy giggle.

Nothing, but time will ease the grief. Nothing but love will heal this ache.

I still can’t believe it happened. I miss my Gizmo every moment of everyday. His dance, his wiggle, his giggle and his love. I was so blessed.

I remember making the video of Gizmo on his last day and the final shot is of Taz and Gizmo and on the tape I say “oh… my twins”. I miss having my twins. I miss having the pair that loved and played. I miss my Gizmo.