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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Gizmo

By: James W. Hunter

This is a story about Gizmo, my precious cocker spaniel, who passed away suddenly on September 20th, 2000. I hope my words will bring comfort to others who have suffered the loss of a beloved animal companion.

Gizmo came into my home as a five week old puppy, tiny and cute and radiating with life. Truth be told, he picked me...I'd originally wanted a female puppy, but Gizmo toddled over and licked my leg, thus cementing our bond. It was instant puppy-love! Though actually a shade too young to be separated from his mother, Gizmo didn't seem to mind. He was quiet, curious and gentle, not to mention incredibly clever. He could sit and shake a paw within two weeks, and he demonstrated an amazing {albeit frightening!} ability to capture bumble-bees in his little mouth, never once getting stung or injuring a bee in the process. Definitely no bad karma for Giz! He was always a happy dog... if ever an animal smiled, Gizmo certainly did, wandering around with a goofy grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He lived for kisses and cuddles and cookies, and loved nothing more than to be the center of attention. Granted, he was spoiled, but it was hard not to indulge his every whim. One look at his giant "Bambi-eyes" and the word "no" ceased to exist! Gizmo knew he was the center of my world, and what he gave in love and companionship could never be measured or replaced.

When he died, suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of ten, I felt as though my entire reason for living was gone. The pain of his loss was immense, and the tears just wouldn't stop flowing. I was bereft and inconsolable. A few days after his demise, I spotted my neighbor, Kelly, and her little boy, Tanner {who loved to play with Gizmo}, outside the window. Having not seen or spoken with them for over a week, I went outside and sadly informed them that Gizmo had passed away. My neighbor looked at me for a moment, a strange, almost startled expression crossing her face. Then she spoke: "I don't know if I should tell you this or not, but Tanner woke up crying at four in the morning a couple of nights ago. He doesn't usually do this, so I went and got him and brought him into bed with me. He kept saying 'puppy died, puppy died'. He had had a dream that a puppy had died. Even during the day he'll be playing and he'll look at me and say 'puppy died'. There's no way he could've possibly known about Gizmo. You don't suppose...?" Kelly stopped, leaving the question hanging in the air. She picked up Tanner, who looked at me sadly. "Puppy died", he said quietly, cuddling into his mother's arms. Kelly and I looked at each other, an unspoken sense of wonderment passing between us. It was the most comforting moment, beautiful, gentle and mystical all at once. My neighbor's three year old child, with infinite purity and innocence, had just conveyed the most profound and spiritual message imaginable. Peace and a sense of knowing washed over me, and though I was crying, they were tears of great joy. I knew in that moment that Gizmo was okay. I could feel his spirit very near, and I knew that he would never leave my side. All I had to do was listen...

Gizmo's ashes now rest on a small table next to his favorite chair in my living room. Just before he passed away, in the moments when we both knew that the end was near, I'd looked into his soulful, questioning eyes and sobbed: "look at me, Gizmo...look out for me from where you're going".

Today, though I miss his physical presence with heart-breaking intensity, I'm also comforted by the knowledge that his gentle spirit is never far away, looking out for me with loyalty and peace.

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