Story of Gizmo
The Puppy Mill Survivor
G and the Mill
The story starts with
Taz, a tiny 8lb shih tzu / poodle cross who came to live with her humans
about two years ago. Already in residence was a very old and very wise
golden retriever named Misiu and despite the size difference they bonded
immediately. Taz brought laughter to an old dog’s final days and Misiu
brought comfort and warmth during the transition from canine mom to human
It was as the snow
melted that Misiu passed quietly and peacefully with his humans and his
beloved Princess Taz by his side. As he slid into his forever sleep Taz's
normally perky tail and inquisitive ears dropped while her enormous eyes
filled with grief as the light was gone. Taz moved away from her humans to
sit alone and shiver in the cold quiet morning with only the sound of
crying in a world still brown and dead from winter's harsh winds.
Summer was quickly
coming to a close and Taz was spending a warm day at the beach when she
saw another pup and came alive. Her people knew Taz needed a companion and
the search began.
Gizmo was found on the
petfinder website and the process of adoption began as the nights turned
chilly and the rains came. Taz became apathetic as the days shortened and
she spent all her time lying listlessly in her dog bed staring out the
window at the leafless trees. She showed no interest in food and her
family worried that getting Gizmo couldn't come soon enough, but there
were complications with the adoption process, so the family started
looking at other rescues and found Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue (PSBR).
Many dog rescues were
researched, but PSBR in the Niagara-Hamilton area stood out for their well
educated volunteers and organization. After a life changing phone
conversation it was decided that the family would also foster a voiceless
fur-baby without giving up on Gizmo.
Getting Gizmo became a
mission and after many weeks of insistent phone calls and tenacious emails
the date was finally set to make the three hour drive. The adventure
started on an uncharacteristically beautiful day with bright sunshine and
air warm enough to roll down the window. Taz and her mom were charged with
excitement having no idea what awaited them at the other end.
This was supposed to be
a rescue. This was supposed to be a sanctuary for those fur-babies lost
and homeless. It was a nightmare. Gizmo sat in a plastic kennel on the
very top of three other kennels waiting quietly. He didn't bark. He didn't
whine. He didn't move. The kennel was filthy and flea infested. The strong
aroma of ammonia and feces filled the air. As Gizmo stared back at his
soon-to-be mama his tail wagged slightly.
The foster mother
grabbed Gizmo by the neck and pulled him forcibly from the crate and
dropped him on the ground. Gizmo immediately scurried into another open
kennel and pushed himself deep into the back corner. Taz, who had been
walking around, was quickly picked up by her mom who noticed that Taz had
fleas crawling all over her... it was time to go.
As the foster mother
bent to retrieve Gizmo, Taz’s mama said “stop” and while standing six feet
away she called, in her soft sad voice, "come on Bebe... it's time to go
home." Gizmo peered around and scampered awkwardly past her foster mom to
sit at his new mama's feet and look up with crusty eyes filled with love.
Taz gave her mom a lick and was confused by the salty tears, because the
last time mama cried was when Misiu crossed the rainbow bridge.
After exchanging money
and piling everyone into the car for the three hour ride home the tears
fell softly as the rain ran in rivers across the windshield. Gizmo's eyes
were crusted and his nose was runny. He sneezed and coughed and shook his
head in irritation. His skin was red and sore with hair loss all over.
Mange? Scabies? Fleas? Who knew, but he wasn't going back.
The crate door will
never close again and Gizmo was startled when his new mama with her soft
voice and gentle hands furiously flung the door into the garbage. Gizmo
found his own way out of the crate and into a warm, bright, clean new
world. Princess Taz wasn't sure about the new comer, but she was curious.
After the first whiff Taz backed away and stayed away. Perhaps this was
not a match made in heaven? Gizmo did have a terrible odour and Taz is a
princess, but with a heart of gold.
Gizmo had a long list
of medical problems including an upper respiratory infection from close
confinement, ear infections that cause dizziness, skin problems and hair
loss from urine, feces, fleas and stress. He has a lack of muscle and
coordination as he was never allowed to run and play. The left side of
Gizmo's ribcage is deformed from poorly healed fractured ribs and he still
has trouble breathing. Teeth are broken and many must be extracted due to
poor diet. His beautiful chocolate brown coat may never grow back, but the
amazing thing about Gizmo is his spirit.
After weeks of
antibiotics, Gizmo plays. He runs gets short of breath, sneezes and
usually falls, but he's full of life. He has long term problems with weak
teeth, bones and skin. He will always have trouble breathing due to lung
and chest wall damage. Sadly, Gizmo can't do all the things a year old
puppy should be able to do, but he is finally has the chance to try.
Gizmo is a 7.5 pound
pure bred shih tzu who came from a puppy mill. He is over a year old and
was being kept for breeding stock when the lady who ran the mill had
health problems and sold off her dogs. Gizmo was taken to a new prison
disguised as a rescue who charged enormous amounts of money to "save" a
dog without providing any medical care.
Gizmo is not used to
being handled, so he panics when you pick him up, but once in your lap
he's the happiest little guy. He and Taz finally became friends... even if
he does smell a little due to his skin problems. Taz helped Gizmo come out
of his shell and build confidence. Gizmo hasn't crawled into his crate in
weeks and when he does decide to have a nap the door doesn’t exist. He
still doesn't bark, but that’s due to damage to his throat. He never
growls and has never shown an ounce of aggression. He runs to his mama and
puts his front paw on her leg and begs to be picked up and put over her
shoulder for a cuddle. It's strange that his back legs jut out at odd
angels and his head seems too small for his body, but his tail never stops
Taz is reminded of a
larger version of a kind and gentle soul who passed through her life
during the last snow. She may still stare out the window, but she isn't
alone anymore. Taz is alive and tends to look after her special companion
and her family has gone from calling her Princess Taz to Nurse Taz. As the
wee ones curl up together on a heated dog bed in the dead of winter it
doesn't seem so cold and lonely.
Stop puppy mills. Read
Beautiful Joe. Help a heartbeat find a voice. Write your local MP to stop