Eating crow doesn’t taste so bad, and new beginnings. Welcome Kiwi.

Our sweet Gidget.

It’s been just over a week since we lost our sweet Gidget. Hubby picked up her ashes and pawprint impression yesterday from the vet’s office. (A week to the day since we lost her. Some Valentine’s Day gift, huh?)

Thank you to everyone who’s messaged and wrote Hubby and myself to express your condolences. They’re greatly appreciated, and we felt the love. I can’t express how much it means to us that Gidget touched all of your lives.

When I last posted here, it was from a place of deep, dark pain. And, at the time, every word I spoke was truth. Hubby and I couldn’t imagine another dog. We hurt too deep and badly. Unlike our other dogs, we had no time to prepare to lose her. It came out of the blue and was an emotional gut-punch.

We were both deeply grieving our precious Gidget. No more “Gidget voice?” No more writing buddy telling me I was a “slacker” if I was out of my office? No more precious puppy face greeting me first thing in the morning in the bathroom with Grimmy?

No more.

When we said good-bye to Gidget and held her as she was given the final shot, I asked her to please be our spirit guide and watch over us. Apparently, she was, seeing how much pain we were in. She loved us so much, and we knew that. She was so clued into our every emotions.

To add insult to injury, Thursday afternoon Hubby comes into the house in tears because the dryer wasn’t working. I start ripping it apart to find the belt broke. Fortunately, my parents actually had a new belt that had been for their old dryer, and it fit. But then I couldn’t get the front panel back on and had to track down new clips for the front panel, and to hold the top panel to the front. (A new dryer, or even a repairman, was absolutely NOT in the budget. Fortunately, it was a DIY fix for me, even as much pain as I was in.)

The pic that started it all.

Then came Friday morning. Cue me having to get up godawful early (for me) and I’m in massive amounts of pain from the dryer wrestling match the day before, and had to go to both sides of Tampa Bay to pick up the two sets of clips I needed from two different places, approximately sixty miles’ worth of driving in morning traffic. Get home, get the dryer back together, yay, it’s working.

Then I collapse at my desk and fire up my computer. I’m numb and hurting both physically and emotionally.

(Here’s where the eating crow part comes in.)

Honestly? Right now, I can’t even tell you where/how I stumbled across the picture on Facebook, but I froze and did a double-take, because at first glance, the dog looked amazingly like Gidget did in her younger years. Not exactly a color/coat match, but the expression. The picture to the right is that picture.

It took my breath away. And as I started desperately trying to find out more about her, I found out she was at the Humane Society of the Nature Coast up in Brooksville. They’re a very small no-kill shelter. “Kiki,” as she was called, was a transfer into their facility from overflow from Hernando County Animal Services. They are totally funded by donations and fundraisers, and don’t receive money from the national HSUS organization.

Before I even said anything to Hubby, I walked outside with my phone and called them. They probably thought I was a crazy person, because here I was, sobbing as I talked to them, asking about her and telling them about our Gidget. She was still available, and they tested her with cats and she was fine.

So I walked back into the house and asked Hubby to come to my office and look at something. I showed him her picture and told him about her and asked if we could go look at her.

He stared at it for a long moment and said, “She looks a lot like Gidget did. Yes.”

We grabbed showers and headed out, me on the phone to them to tell them we were on the way there RIGHT THEN. (I worked at a shelter years ago, and I have intimate knowledge of how they work and how flakey people can be. I didn’t want to get there just to miss adopting her by minutes.)

Me holding Kiwi at the shelter.

When we pulled up outside the shelter, “Kiki” was actually being walked outside by a volunteer, and I burst into tears, sobbing, when I saw her through the fence. Soooo much like Gidget. We hurried inside and signed in and went out to meet her. (I had zero dignity at that point and gave zero fucks. I showed them many of the pics on my phone of Gidget.)

I didn’t put her down once from that point on. We had to wait for a while because they were working on another adoption, and we told them that was fine, we’d wait.

Let me back up a little here. When we first got Gidget, her name was “Gigi,” and we changed it immediately because it didn’t suit her. So here was a “Kiki” who, it turns out, was a surrendered stray to Hernando Co. AS, meaning someone there gave her the name. She wasn’t spayed, wasn’t microchipped, and was turned in with another dog who’d been with her. (That one had already been adopted.) They were transferred from HCAS to the HSotNC after being vetted, altered, vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped, etc. And Kiki had an umbilical hernia that was fixed when she was spayed. It looks like she’d had at least one litter of puppies in her life, and they guessed her age to be about four years, but I think she’s a little younger than that. Hard to say.

Going home!

She had typical small dog syndrome of being kind of fearful, but she took to us right away. (Gidget spent the first couple of days we had her curled up into a tight ball on the back of our couch and growling at everyone.) And in a couple of hours, we were on our way home with her.

Even better? They were running an adoption special ahead of Valentine’s Day: $14. (That is not a typo.) I plan on making another donation to them later once we’re back on better footing. We’d just spent over $1,200 with Gidget (and fortunately because my vet’s been treating my family’s pets literally since I was kid, they let us give them two checks and held onto one until my next advance is due to hit). So we are on a very tight budget right now.

What you can’t see clearly in this pic is that on her right side, she’s got white whiskers.

Just like Gidget had.

I don’t honestly care if people don’t want to believe us, but even Hubby thinks it’s a sign from Gidget that Kiwi was meant to come home with us.

New bling.

And you can see my red and puffy eyes from all my crying. That pic was right as we were leaving, and we had a kennel lead for her the shelter gave us.

We stopped at a Petco in Brooksville before heading back to get her a collar and leash just to get by until I could get her a harness after I got paid again. (I don’t reuse collars/harnesses/leashes that were specific to my dogs once they pass. I keep them as part of a memorial to them.) And for some reason, I decided to go with the peachy/orange color instead of pink. I don’t know why. I almost went with pink. But I didn’t. And we’d already decided to rename her “Kiwi” instead of Kiki. (She’s little and brownish and furry and sweet. LOL Plus, it was close enough to “Kiki,” which she really didn’t respond much to anyway, that we knew it wouldn’t be confusing for her.)

I also texted my son a pic of her, and Hubby and I were counting down, waiting for a call, and he didn’t disappoint. At first he’d thought it was a pic of Gidget, until he clicked on it and realized it wasn’t Gidget. So he FaceTimed us and got to “meet” the new baby, and he was happy. He didn’t say it at the time when we said good-bye to Gidget, but admitted to us then that he was even sadder when we’d said no more dogs because he’s never not had a dog. We’ve always had dogs, and he said he couldn’t imagine coming to visit and not being greeted by a dog.

From Grandma and Grandpa, and it MATCHES!

Of course we had to stop by my parents’ house on the way home so Grandma and Grandpa could meet their new furgrandbaby. And they fell in love immediately. Then my mom said, “Wait, I’ll give you Lovie’s things for her.” Lovie was their min pin who died a few months ago. So they dig out two HUGE bags of stuff, including harnesses and clothes and things.

Including THIS adorable harness…WHICH WAS PEACH AND WHITE. It matched her collar and leash PERFECTLY. (This isn’t the most flattering shot of her, she actually did enjoy having it on.) It was one Lovie never even really wore, because it was too small for her. So it was like it was meant to be. Another sign. And there were several other harnesses they gave us that also fit Kiwi.

I thoroughly believe Gidget was watching and guiding us from the Rainbow Bridge, worried about us and how badly we were doing emotionally in the wake of losing her. She pointed us to Kiwi, knowing she needed a home with experienced pet parents who were used to dealing with small dogs with small-dog syndrome, and she knew we needed a new furbaby to love.

Puppytraining 101.

Of course she will never “replace” Gidget. No pet can ever replace a lost pet. But she is a welcomed addition.

I started out with puppyraising 101 basics with her, because they didn’t know if she was even housebroken or not. That meant crated, or tethered to me with a leash. She doesn’t even know “sit” so I’m slowly working with her on that. (Harder to train little dogs because you can’t push on their rumps like you can bigger dogs.)

So far, the only “problem” we’ve had with her is at night sometimes she wants to chase the cats. Then we get her, put her back on the leash, and go back to tethering. Yet sometimes she’ll lay right there on the couch with us and ignore them.

It’s weird. But nothing insurmountable. Once the cats all get used to her, they’ll show her her pack order. LOL And she’s literally smaller than all the cats. Heck, Dewey is like three of her, at least. I’m trying a variety of methods, from distraction and redirection, to positive reinforcement. And it’s been less than a week, so I’m not exactly worried. (She will be crated if we’re not home, not allowed to run loose.) No, we haven’t even introduced her to Sheldon yet. I want to get through bomb-proofing her with the cats first. One thing at a time.

And Hubby can finally smile again.

She also loves to lay in our laps. Since she’s smaller than Gidget was, she can curl up in our laps while we’re on the computer.

She was originally turned in to HCAS on 1/11/17, and transferred to the HSotNC on 1/20. She’d been in shelters literally a whole month before we met her. She was understandably traumatized, as little dogs frequently are by such a setting. (Not because of anything the staff did at either shelter, it’s a behavioral thing common to small dogs.) The HSotNC gave me copies of all her paperwork, including the intake forms and kennel cards from HCAS, so that’s all of her history I have.

Once the budget is back in line, I’m going to enroll her in Petsmart’s basic obedience class. We’d put Gidget through it when we first got her and it made a HUGE difference. Meanwhile, I’m working with her with a clicker and treats (her kibble) and she’s already a different dog just since Friday.

And my mom’s already called to get her measurements so she can start knitting for her the way she did for Gidget. And we don’t even need to buy Kiwi a harness, because there were several that fit her in the two bags of stuff my parents gave us.

Pressies from Grandma and Grandpa!

My parents are definitely pet people. I grew up with four dogs, and we always had at least one cat, usually two or three. And my mom and dad immediately fell in love with her when they met her. They were as devastated over us losing Gidget as we were, because they loved her so much.

I’m thinking crow doesn’t taste so bad. But when I last posted, honestly, I couldn’t imagine another dog.

Apparently, Gidget could, and led us to Kiwi.

No, I haven’t come up with a “voice” for her yet. And Hubby and I are still grieving Gidget, but at least now we have another furbaby to comfort us, and we saved her life.

Or she saved our hearts.

Not that it matters either way, I suppose, because the end result is the same.

World domination? Why yes, please.

And yes, there will be adventures of Kiwi forthcoming, once she’s settled in and we find her “voice.” I suspect she will pick up the banner of Gidget’s attempts to achieve “wurld domynayshun” and make everyone her “minyuns.”

If you’d like to memorialize our Gidget and honor Kiwi (Kiki), please feel free to make a donation to any animal charity of your choosing. Or, if you don’t have one, might I suggest the Humane Society of the Nature Coast? They’re amazing people, their facility is small and clean and staffed by wonderful, caring people. They’re also no-kill shelter (unless it’s a serious medical issue) and they told us they’ve had animals who’ve been there a couple of years before the right pet-parent found them and adopted them. While we were there, they were intaking quite a few cats from a rescue situation. They have more cats than dogs there, but the dog runs are large, and they have beautiful outdoor fenced runs for exercise.

Except for the career-changed dogs from the puppyraising program we used to raise for, nearly all of our pets have been adoptions/rescues. (Except Sheldon, but I consider that a rescue situation even though he came from a pet store, and both of the birds, mine and Grandaddy’s, were purchased years ago from reputable private hobby breeders, not pet stores. Well, and fish we’ve had in the past, but again, that’s a different situation.)

Please adopt. If you can’t afford a pet but want to help animals, please feel free to donate even $5 to a local rescue or shelter, not the national organizations. Or many shelters (including HSotNC) have wish lists. You can order something on Amazon and have it shipped directly to their door (and if you have Prime it’s usually free shipping). You don’t even need to leave your house. If you donate to the national organizations, a lot of times that money never gets to a local level. Donating locally means you’re directly helping animals in need in your area.


Okay, so on to some business schtuff. (I also owe everyone a gardening update. The strawberries are doing great and we’ve got a lot of seedlings coming up from what I planted.)

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10 thoughts on “Eating crow doesn’t taste so bad, and new beginnings. Welcome Kiwi.

  1. Welcome to the family Kiwi!! I am a total believer in guiding spirits and have no doubts you were led to your little gift. I am thrilled for you. We adopted our cat in 2001 and kept the kittens she had a few months later. Of them all, we only have the first born left, Abby, who I delivered because she was breach. She is 15 1/2 and doesn’t act a day over one. I know eventually the time will come when we adopt again and stories like yours encourage me. Enjoy your Kiwi!

  2. Welcome Kiwi!!!!

    I think I agree that Gidget was looking out for you and putting Kiwi in your sights. She wanted another dog to know the love that she had for so many years. Rescues are the best dogs in my opinion.

  3. Congratulations on your new fur baby, Kiwi is adorable! Having had a similar experience after the unexpected loss of one of our cats, I truly believe Gidget had a paw or four in bringing you together.

  4. Tymber, so glad to hear Kiwi has joined team Dalton! We look forward to hearing of Kiwi Dreams and Adventures.

  5. Oh my God, she’s gorgeous! I am literally so late to this news, I just read about the beautiful Gidget and had to say something. It’s been an emotional few weeks since my Sister and I found a dog and reunited her with her mommy. Long story short, posting on the net w Lost and Found, I’ve been pulled in to the shelter stories, posting, trying to get fosters, adoptions, saves, pledging what little I can, and then I read about your lovely Gidget.
    After reading about Kiwi, I say Honey, enjoy all the crow, live it up and share all that love you have! I will enjoy seeing her be spoiled rotten as she takes over the world. You have ALL changed each other’s lives for the better.
    I wish more people were like you. Because the alternative is ‘owners’ (because I refuse to call them humans) who dump their pets without a backward glance.
    I am a firm believer, in signs, in that great beyond and in the incredible Miss Gidget pulling the strings to save Kiwi and her Mommy and Daddy.
    Many Blessings to You Always
    This just made my night, thank you so much!

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