From Two to a Crew!

When my MaMa brought me home from the tobacco shop, it was just the two of us. MaMa and GiGi taking walks. MaMa and GiGi visiting the park. MaMa and GiGi making dinner (MaMa makes, I supervise). You get the picture! It was just the two of us, with occasional party guests, a couple girls just bee-bopping along, enjoying summer and having fun!

Two single girls, hanging out!
Two single girls, hanging out!

Even when Levi started courting me, and MaMa and Levi’s Pop were getting to know each other, it was mostly just us girls. The only time we saw Levi and his Pop were out in the courtyard between their condos or at the park across the street. We had yet to enter each other’s doghouse, and all relationships were still very casual!

And then within two days, everything changed!

My MaMa was talking to her friend about a puppy that she needed to find a temporary home for. Even though my MaMa was still learning how to take care of one dog, she told her friend to bring him over and if we got along, she would take care of him!

Long story short…we got along great! And Macho moved in that night. Isn’t he cute? MaMa and I were both smitten with his pouty mug and Eddie Munster hairline.

Meet Macho and His Surly Mug!
Meet Macho and His Surly Mug!

And you’ll never believe what happened the VERY next day? MaMa and Levi’s Pop decided to have an official date! Needless to say, it worked out. And soon, the five of us were doing things together on a regular basis. Trips to local parks, the woods, prairie trails, Lake Michigan and nature preserves became group activities. Three dogs, two humans…a regular crew!

GiGi On The Scene: With my Crew!
GiGi On The Scene: With my Crew!

I was so thankful for all of the new people and pups in my life. I went from being a single girl, living all alone in a Tobacco shop, with nothing but hope to keep my happy; to a girl with a posse living the small town dream, going places and taking names! I was evolving into the furry girl you all know and love. I was becoming GiGi On The Scene (with my crew in tow!)

Macho thought it was funny to make silly faces!
Macho thought it was funny to make silly faces!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Levi, My Lovey

First of all, I have to apologize for going so long without posting a new blog! What can I say, other than the usual…

The holidays! Am I right? Busy!!

Now that things have just about returned to normal, I can get back to telling my amazing story of rescue and redemption.

And there is no way to tell that story without first introducing you to my best friend, my true love, the yin to my yang, the coffee to my cream, the black to my white. Without him, I would just be a whirling ball of crazy fluff floating along on my own. He calms me down when I go cuckoo…well, nobody can do that! But, he puts up with every single one of my shenanigans without complaint. He really is the very best friend that a little dog could have. And he’s handsome too! Check him out! A more handsome Pitboxer there never has been. He’s the Elvis of dogs!

Levi Pitboxer, himself!
                                                              And, he has a sense of humor!

I don’t remember the day we met, because I was still coming down from the anesthesia from my spay surgery, and I was pretty out of it. Also, I was wearing the most embarrassing head gear ever! My MaMa says it’s called the “CONE OF SHAME”. I’ll say! To think that’s what I was wearing the very first time we met. Uggh!

It turned out that Levi’s Dad lived in a condo across the parking lot from me and my MaMa. We would see them out at the park, and walking around the neighborhood, but the courtyard was the most popular place for MaMa to stop and talk to his Dad. I couldn’t have been happier about it, either. I mean, here was this tall, dark and handsome Pitbull/Boxer dog. He was older, wiser, and a worldly traveler!

Getting to know him...
                                                                Getting to know him…

While they talked, Levi and I got to know each other too. It was a real summer romance. Frolicking and romping in the grass, showing him my sassy, fun side. He played it cool, letting me bounce off his chest with my little, curly white paws, and he even let me bite at his awesome, droopy jowls!

My flirting must have worked! Before you knew it, MaMa and I were seeing Levi and his Dad on a more regular basis. We seemed to run into them every time we went to the park. Levi and I quickly became the new power-pooch couple on the scene. All of the other neighborhood dogs would look at us walk by together, whining their jealousy. Not every pooch can have such a cool best friend, who is also their complete opposite! Big and Little. Black and White. Cool and Crazy.

I guess opposites really do attract!

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                                                               Best Friends Forever!

 

                                 

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Some Fun, Some Shame

After our first weekend together, I knew my MaMa and I were a perfect fit! She liked going on long walks, sitting in the sun, feeding me treats like kale and carrots and snuggling on the couch for hours. Pretty good qualities for a best friend to have! Our first fun weekend turned into the Spring and Summer of Fun!

There was one boring weekend on house arrest in early-May, when MaMa forced  me to rest after having my dreaded spay surgery (wearing that cone was the worst part). But after making a full recovery, the rest of our Spring and Summer was filled with fun! It turned out that my MaMa was only working part time at the Catering company, which meant lots of time for ME!

The dreaded Cone-O-SHAME!
"Get this off of me!!"
“Get this off of me!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

During those warm Spring and Summer months, we would sleep in, then MaMa would make smoothies in the morning, giving me bits of apple and kale to snack on. Before work we would sit on the deck, MaMa reading while I snoozed at her feet or on her lap. The sun on my fur felt amazing after months of very little sunshine, I felt I could sit out there forever.  After work, our afternoons were filled with walks to the park and throughout the neighborhood. I even met some new doggie friends. I met a yorkie, a shih tzu, and lots of big dogs too! I loved playing with every dog I met even if sometimes I acted like a jerk at first. Sometimes little dogs can’t help it…or at least that’s the story I’m sticking with!

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I stayed an entire weekend with Celtic the Yorkie when MaMa went on a business trip!
My cute, new friend Jack. He is a rescue like me!
My cute, new friend Jack. He is a rescue like me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MaMa threw parties for her birthday, the Summer Solstice, and just because. She loved having people over and preparing food for them. I enjoyed meeting the people but really LOVED the handouts I’d get at those parties. I would bark and act crazy at first, but would settle down once the fun got started. I’m a pretty good party dog, it turns out! My favorite party was when MaMa and her friends played Twister on an outdoor Twister board we found on one of our walks. They played outside in the rain, and they laughed and laughed, and I jumped up and barked and played right along with them.

A Twister Board in the Grass!
A Twister Board in the Grass!

Come back soon, I promise the fun never ends with GiGi On The Scene!

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Easter Weekend Fun

The first weekend at my new home was filled with fun. It was Easter weekend and I hope it’s not sacrilegious to say that Jesus wasn’t the only one who was risen. I was being given a second chance at love with my forever mommy and I definitely felt as if I’d been resurrected! I had a brand new life, and I was ready for it!

Don't I look like the Easter Bunny?
Don’t I look like the Easter Bunny?

My new grandmutt and grandpup, I mean grandma and grandpa came by to visit me and they brought me presents! They bought me a fox toy and a bag of peanut butter bones. They were so excited to meet me, but were quite surprised at how loud and goofy I was. Apparently this family hadn’t been around too many small dogs before. Aren’t all little dogs a bit cuckoo?! They asked my Mommy if I was always like that, and she shook her head and said, “No, she’s been pretty calm since I brought her home, for the most part.  She has had her moments though! I’m not sure why she won’t stop barking at Dad?”

Didn’t they know that I was just trying to tell him to play with me! I wasn’t even a year old yet, and my energy levels were through the roof. I was used to snuggling with and getting love from the ladies and rough housing with the men. All of the men I’d known at the tobacco shop had played with me roughly, throwing me in the air and knocking me around. I guess I just expected every man I met to be that way with me. Apparently my barking wasn’t getting that point across though.

Frustrated, I stopped barking and laid down next to my Mommy while they talked about me and how cute I was! Now that’s a conversation I could listen to all day.

Sleeping with my new presents!
Sleeping with my new presents!

The next day was even more exciting because I went on a trip in the car to visit my Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Easter Sunday. I met my Mommy’s sister, her husband and their son, which means I have a cousin! I also met some of my Mommy’s other relatives and they ooh’ed and ahh’ed over me and were kind of surprised at how well behaved I was. I didn’t even try to kill my Grandma’s crazy cat, Callie. I did stalk her and sniff under the couch until she swiped at me. After that I decided it was best to go back to where the humans were, to beg for food and get lots of head pats and belly rubs.

After a long day filled with ham (HINT: Grandpa’s like to give hand outs to their little grandpuppy!) and fun, it was time to head back home with my Mommy. We went out for a nice long walk that night, but when we got back Mommy realized that she forgot her keys! She called Grandpa who came by with an extra set to let us in. While waiting for him to get there, we sat out on the front stoop, and while I don’t know what she was thinking, I know that I was thinking one very small but important thing.

‘It feels good to be home.’

Counting my blessings!
Counting my blessings!
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First Full Day of My New Forever

I woke up the morning after my rescue curled up in a ball on the back of a soft couch in front of a big window.  It was still early and my new Mommy was sleeping on the cushions below me. It was so nice waking up next to someone again. Loads better than waking up alone in my crate, not knowing when I was going to be let out, and sometimes not being able to wait to go outside to do my business. That was definitely the worst part about being caged up by myself for 12 hours every night. There were times I just couldn’t hold. Speaking of holding it…

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‘Wake up, wake up, wake up new Mommy! I need to go outside!!’ I whined. But she didn’t stir. I guess maybe I had kept her up late the night before with my excitement at being in a new home. We’d played for hours, and when we stopped playing, and I finally started dozing off, I’m pretty sure she stayed awake watching me sleep. I’d felt her stroking my head as I nodded off. Something else I hadn’t experienced in far too long!

Not sure how else to wake her, I jumped off the back of the couch onto her tummy and started licking her face!

“What the? Ohhhh GiGi!” she laughed as she tried to hold me back from getting at her mouth. Who wouldn’t want wet puppy kisses all over their mouth, I wondered, and kept at it til she gave in!

“Okay, goofy girl…hahahaha that could be what GiGi stands for! Let’s go out and explore!” she said

There were so many things I couldn’t wait to see! The day before I’d seen a duck! I didn’t even know what a duck was, but it was way cooler than anything I’d seen inside the tobacco shop!

We walked all around the block and she even took me over to the park across the street. There was also a church with pretty daylilies and other Spring flowers in bloom. I stopped to smell as many as she would let me, of course. You always need to stop and smell pretty flowers, and EVERYTHING ELSE for that matter. There were so many trees to sniff and leave my mark on! I could barely contain my excitement. In fact, I didn’t even try. After a while, we sat down under a tree and I watched as the birds flew overhead and the cars drove by. I even saw some people walking into the church. I couldn’t get enough. I could have sat there and watched the world go by all day!

flower G

Eventually we had to go home and after our walk, Mommy decided to make a smoothie. Of course I sat and watched everything she was doing. If there is food involved, I’m all over it like a dog on a bone. Woof! Woof!

As I was sitting there watching, she tossed me a spine from some kale she had just added to the blender. I’m sure neither of us were expecting what happened next, but I ate the whole thing.

“You like kale? Is that normal for dogs to eat kale?” she asked me.  I just looked up at her, wagged my tail and waited for more.

She gave me another piece and I gobbled that down too. Yummy!

kale G

“Wow, that is really weird, but also kind of awesome,” she laughed “I have a healthy dog!”

It was shaping up to be a good day. I couldn’t wait to see what other new things I would see, sniff and taste. This forever home was pretty awesome. I made sure to say thank you to the Big Guy in the sky for giving me a second chance, and then I was off and running down the hall, while my new Mommy just watched me, laughing and smiling. I think she was as happy as me!

 

 

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My Forever Home

Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone, Christmas gift shopping and tree trimming have begun, yet the treat du jour is still leftover turkey. It’s a good time to reflect on how thankful I am for my forever home.

It was an entirely different holiday weekend when I went to live with my new Mommy. She took me home on Good Friday! And what a good, no GREAT, Friday it was.


A room with a view!
A room with a view!

I was stretched out on the backroom couch, gnawing on TT (towel/toy) when she walked into the tobacco shop with a wad of cash to pay my ransom. It certainly felt like I’d been dog-napped, and kept in a place where only the bare necessities were provided, rather than the love and comforts I’d remembered from when I was a new puppy, before they shipped me off to live in a tobacco shop alone.

Now I was getting my second chance!

I jumped off the couch and ran over to her, barking and jumping in delight. She exchanged the cash and in return the tobacco shop owner gave her my carrier, TT, half of a bag of dry food, a 20 foot long red lead, and ME, of course.

I listened as they talked about me.

“I was only able to get $200 in cash right now, but will have the rest for you next week.” she said.

“Yeah, that’s cool. I DO know where you work,” he replied in an abrasive tone. The tobacco store owner had always been kind to me, playing with me whenever he came into the store, but I knew he could be difficult to tolerate on a good day and downright miserable on a bad one! My new Mommy didn’t seem bothered by him though.

“Yes, you do,” she laughed. Not really thinking much about him, I’m sure. Her mind had to be consumed with ME! “Oh, and by the way, I’m going to change her name to GiGi.”

A new name! I was starting my life over with a new identity. No more Chloe: tobacco shop pup. I was just GiGi. I might have had a rough start, but things were about to change, I could feel it.

“Oh yeah, so no more Chloe? Okay, she’s your dog now. You can call her what you want. Bye Chloe, or GiGi or whatever your name is.” He patted me on the head, and I jumped up to lick him. Dogs don’t hold grudges and he had kept me out of the cold at least. I figured I could give him a proper, sloppy goodbye!

After the goodbyes, they put me in my crate, he held the Door To Freedom open for us and into her car we went. Talk about a GOOD Friday!

As she drove me to my new home, I wasn’t able to see a lot through the door of the crate, but it didn’t matter. I was headed towards something that I couldn’t see, with no idea how I was getting there, but I had faith, and sometimes when that’s all you have, you discover that’s really all you need.

She talked to me as she drove.

“Okay GiGi, I’ve had two cats for the past 14 years. I’ve never owned a dog. I’ve lived with dogs and had dogs as a kid, but you are my first dog!”

‘Sweet!’ I barked. I didn’t care how much experience she had with dogs, or whether she’d ever owned another dog. All I cared about was a new home and a new life with my new Mommy.

Before I knew it, we were pulling into a driveway and she asked me, “Are you ready to see your new home, GiGi?”

She turned around, reached back and put her fingers through the crate doors, and I licked my ascent. Let’s do this!

‘Now get me out of this crate!!’ I barked.


She attached me to my lead, let me in the door and there I was, in my new home. Five rooms all for ME! There were chairs, and couches and a bed and blankets everywhere. And there was a room outside without a roof, and a big window behind the couch. There was so much to look at and smell and investigate.

A room without a roof!
A room without a roof!

I ran all over the place, from room to room, nose in every corner, jumping on the furniture, running non-stop. It was mine, all mine. My forever home.

 

 

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Crossed Paws and Puppy Kisses

‘Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored’ is all I could think as I chewed on my pillow, half-asleep on the couch in the back of the tobacco shop, but also on alert for the dinging bell of my Door to Freedom!

That particular day I was on even higher alert for the bell than on most, because I was going to get a visitor from my new friend today! She promised to come visit me and I’d been waiting all morning and into the afternoon. Where was she? I could only hope she hadn’t changed her mind and I’d see her walking through the tobacco store door any minute.

Outside that door I’d seen cars, bikes and squirrels to chase, innumerable things to sniff, countless people to pet me and most of all, other dogs to bark at and play with! A few times a day, my co-worker Nicole would take me through the door and out on a walk in front of the strip center where I was living. In addition to the Catering shop where my new friend (and hopefully new Mommy) worked, I lived near a Liquor store and a Pizza place too. You can only imagine the smells…good, bad and unrecognizable! Unfortunately I only got a few minutes outside every day, which is way better than no time outside, so I didn’t whine about it too much. Every single day I thought about what it would be like to walk further than the front sidewalk, because I knew there was more to see and smell than pizza, booze, cigarette smoke and catered cuisine. The world out there seemed to go on forever and I wanted to explore every bit of it! I tried to pull Nicole as far down the sidewalk as I could, but I usually got turned back around as soon as we walked past the 7-11 in the strip center next door. Nicole had to work, after all, and so did I! Who else was going to bark a greeting at every customer who walked in?!

Speaking of work, I was about to doze off during a particularly slow time at the shop when the bell alerted me that there was someone in the shop. I abandoned my spot on the couch, ran around to the front of the store, and there she was, smelling as yummy as the day before! My new best friend had come back and she was smiling right at me! I ran up to her, jumping at her knees encouraging her to pet me, love me, and hold me.

“Hi, I’m Andrea” she said to Nicole, “I’m here to see Chloe. I talked to the owner yesterday about buying her.”

“Sure, he told me. You can sit with her around back, and stay as long as you like.”

‘You should stay FOREVER!’ I barked at her.

I followed her to my couch, and as soon as she sat down, I jumped on her lap and made a leap for her face. She was completely surprised by my forward nature, but I wanted her to know how happy I was that she was there, and that she hadn’t forgotten about me.

Puppy Kisses
Puppy Kisses!

“Wow, she sure licks a lot, doesn’t she?” laughed Andrea, as she tried to hold me back, but once again my jumpiness and downright doggedness paid off. I launched at her face in excitement a few more times. Being a novice with little dogs, she seemed reluctant to hold me down, and let me continue to bounce off her lap and lick her face for at least two full minutes!

“Yeah, she is a really good dog, but kind of crazy. She’s really sweet though. I wanted to take her home, but my husband said 3 dogs and 2 cats was enough!”

“Well, I’m really considering it. I don’t have any pets right now and I’m only working part-time. It would be a great time for me to get a dog, and I’ve always wanted one. I’m pretty sure I’m going do it!”

‘Yes, yes, yes, she likes me, she really likes me!’ I thought happily, and jumped up at her face again to show my appreciation.

“That’s great, I hope you do. She needs a good home. This store is no place for a puppy to live,” said Nicole.

“How old is she? I didn’t realize she was still a puppy.”

“She will be a year old next month.”

I was turning one and hopefully I’d be celebrating that milestone in a new home. Paws crossed!

After almost an hour of snuggling, petting and face licking, Andrea had to leave, but whispered to me as she stood up, “I’ll be back, little one.”

JOY!

 

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The Day We Met

I heard the dinging bell of the door being opened and looked up just as she walked in to the tobacco store. I immediately stopped chewing on my TT (towel/toy) and ran up to her, barking my greeting. I sensed something different about her, and it wasn’t just because she smelled SO strongly of food (I later found out why). She bent down immediately and didn’t ignore me like so many of the other customers did. She must have had very little experience with jumpy, little dogs like me, and seemed quite taken aback when I jumped up at her face and licked her repeatedly. She laughed and tried to hold me down, but I’m squirmy and persistent. This didn’t seem to bother her one bit, since she looked up at the owner of the store, and asked, “Are you selling her?’

Did I just hear right? After months of being a tobacco shop girl, was I going to get another chance at living in a real home with this lady who smelled good enough to eat?

“Yeah, I was going to sell her to an employee, but she hasn’t come up with the money. She said if anyone else wanted to buy her that would be cool.” he responded.

“How much are you asking?” she replied. I was feeling so hopeful. Was my dream coming true?

“I paid $1,000 for her, but I’m only asking for $250.” What an awesome deal, right!? Wait a minute…only $250? That can’t be right, I’m priceless!! But that is totally beside the point. Was she going to have enough money to take me home?

“Wow, great deal. She is so cute, and I’ve been thinking a lot about getting a little, white dog actually. I can’t believe there is one here for sale right next door to where I work! What kind of dog is she?”

“She’s a pure-bred Maltese. I got her in the city for my daughter, but my wife didn’t want her anymore, so she has been living here. Where do you work?”

‘Yes, yes, where do you work? Is that why you smell so good?’ I wondered to myself. I jumped up at her legs, as she was now standing, demanding an answer from her.

“I work for the catering company next door.” she answered, as she leaned over to pet me, “My ex-fiancée is the owner, but we’re still friends. I only started there last month. I haven’t been in here sooner, because I don’t smoke anymore,” she laughed, “I’m actually just in here for a water.”

Catering? That means food, right? Lots of food!

‘Please take me home with you!’ I barked.

“Well, if you don’t mind, I need some time to think about it. I have never owned a dog before, just cats. But she is definitely sweet. I’m going to come back tomorrow and visit her!”

‘Cat, cats, did she just say cats?’ I growled.

Never mind, she just said she was coming back to visit me tomorrow. I jumped up in the air and waved my paws around like I just didn’t care! But truth was, that was the best news I’d had in a long time. This lady I’d just met, who let me kiss and lick her, and who smelled SOOO good was coming back to visit me!

That night when I fell asleep, I had dreams of snuggling up next to a big roasted chicken, but it had that sweet lady’s face. Confusing, but also quite comforting. She had to come back, she just had to…

Please come back!
Please come back!
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My Origin Story – Tobacco Store Beginnings

No known pictures of my puppy months exist, but I probably looked something like this.
No known pictures of my puppy months exist. I probably looked something like this! Cute, huh?

I was born in the great and windy city of Chicago in May of 2013, adopted by a family with a little girl, little boy AND a German Shepherd puppy. Life was great! They called me Chloe. My German Shepherd brother let me play with him and didn’t mind that I’m a little bit cuckoo (I really can’t help it, I have an exuberance for life!). I guess my owners didn’t exactly feel the same way, because after just a few months, the Mom of the family told the Dad that she didn’t want me anymore and kicked me out of the house. Luckily, the Dad owned a Tobacco Shop, so I had a place to go to keep me off the streets.

“…I have an exuberance for life!”

I spent my days tied up to a 20 Foot, red plastic lead, chewing on pillows or my towel/toy (TT). I didn’t have any other toys or bones to keep me busy, so I decided to make a job for myself. I was able to get just close enough to the front door to make a good greeter. People were constantly coming in, and I’d bark, bark, bark my hellos and goodbyes. When I was real lucky, a customer would bend over to pet me and I’d give them sneak-attack licks on their face (to this day, I’m a pro at the sneak-attack face-lick!)

I must have been pretty good at my job, because a lot of people seemed to like me. I enjoyed being so social, even if the hours sucked (I never got to leave) and it got pretty lonely after hours. When the store closed at 10PM, everyone left. Except I didn’t get to leave, or go home, because I no longer had one. Whoever was closing up the smoke shop that day, would put me in my crate with my TT, shut off most of the lights and leave me by myself for 12 hours. From 10PM-10AM, I was locked up in my crate with only TT to keep me company. There were loud noises and things that went bump in the night. I whined and barked at first, but realized acceptance was best. I would fall asleep curled up next to TT, dreaming of a life I didn’t know yet, running through fields and exploring the outdoors, adventures and travels and beautiful places. I dreamt of it all!

“…acceptance was best.”

Every day was a new day and the possible joys of the next day were what kept me from giving up hope during those long, dark hours alone. I had hopes for a new home and a happy family. I didn’t know what was coming, but I knew it wouldn’t always be like that. It couldn’t be! I was too cute, friendly and full of potential to spend my life as a tobacco shop pup!

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