Explorations of mind, paths, and life

Nite Nite, Gizmo…

Posted on October 20, 2015 - Filed Under dog, fear, gizmo, gratitude, healing, life, self reflect

She sat with the dog tucked in by her feet, the plane lurching its way to her final destination. She didn’t know how she would feel, the anxiety a bit like bringing home her newborn 20 years ago. Well, not quite like that, but like that. How is this going to look? I am alone, just me and the dog…

A photo posted by Evelyn (@evtechie) on

I’d had what my sister and I are now referring to as a “Pito Visitation” on the eve of my return from over 6 weeks of traveling.  I admit feeling frayed at flying home with Gizmo (our family dog), as there has been an edge of distress about having him, much like the distress each time I walk into my father’s home. Gizmo has endured a kind of grief I can’t fathom, having spent several days with the body of my father before help arrived. Gizmo’s frantic energy around my father’s passing, and the days of long sighs while gazing at the front door added to my own grief. I felt the same way, deeply, unable to digest the idea that he was gone. Gizmo has been with my mother and step-father for nearly 10 months. Letting him go was a two-fold awareness for me. He reminded me of my own aching sadness, and I knew he would help relieve my parent’s grief; it felt best to send him with them to California. Something in me certainly sensed keeping him with me may have been very important for us both, and then the meandering abandon of my aching heart just couldn’t do it.

The night before my return home I remained restless, secretly wishing that my parents would change their mind. I’d had months of adventure and fluctuating avoidance. I was up at 4:30a, then after what felt like hours to get back to sleep I found myself awoken from a dream, the gut wrenching heaves of tears at the edge of my throat. I had been moving through a hotel, or some resort, in a viscous world at the edge of sleep. I moved through changing spaces, changing energy, when suddenly I heard my father’s voice, “Nite Nite, Gizmo!” Startled, I began looking around for him, and found myself looking down from an upper floor, to see him with Gizmo tucked under his arm, a huge dentured grin across his face. He had been walking with Falco, a Jag Club friend, and they both smiled up at me. I could not join them from up above, but my father looked exultant to have Gizmo in his arms. I woke, feeling the sadness of only having him in my dreams, and wondered what that all meant. My first thought; “Hey, you can’t take Gizmo!” thinking perhaps the little guy’s demise was upon me. Then, I thought about the relationship we all have had.

My father came with me and Justin to pick Gizmo out from the pile of puppies. The pup was soft natured, timid yet connected. I had asked the daughter of the breeder which pup was her favorite, and having named them all herself as they emerged into her care, she said, “Gizmo.” I figured that after weeks of observing the pup’s temperament, she would know best. Clearly, it was one of the best decisions, as we ended up with a highly intelligent miniature dachshund. Gizmo quickly learned that sneezing got our immediate attention, and that responding to our double fingered gun point with a “bang, bang!” got him a rigorous belly rub! Gizmo spent his first four years with us, and my father supported the effort with “grand-puppy” sitting days when all of us were gone for an extended part of the day.

After my divorce, Gizmo demonstrated a profound awareness of time, eager on Thursday mornings when he knew he was headed to Pito’s house. Thursdays were a frenzy of “are we leaving yet?” Gizmo would shake with anticipation at arriving to Pito’s house, filled with dog adventures, play time, ear scratching, and trips to check progress on the renovation of the Jag. Later, Justin and I moved to Tampa for a new work opportunity, so my father eagerly took care of Gizmo during the transition. When I realized that little Gizmo would have long unaccompanied days, I asked my father to keep him longer. I felt that the two of them would be remarkable company for each other, and they were. I was moving 2 hours away. Gizmo needed Pa as much as Pa needed him. That relationship turned into nearly 4 years of adventure for the both of them. We have videos of Justin racing to solve a cube as fast as Gizmo could swallow a Wendy’s patty. Gizmo took part in Gun Safety lessons, filled in as Pito’s side-kick, and when cute “chicks” approached with the familiar, “He’s sooooo cute!” my father would reply, “Yeah, and my dog too!” Gizmo raced at the slalom races, entertained the Jag club with the balancing of treats and an eager waggly tail, and almost every business in a 10 mile radius of Pa’s routine knew him by name. There was “spa day” and the super secret Gizmo sneeze-code for every need he had, and clockwork walks, checking of pee-mail (with occasional spell check), teeth brushing routines, and the ongoing reminder of when it was “siesta time,” and “bed time.” The whole family recognized the beautiful relationship between Pa and his, “little buddy.” When I asked about Gizmo moving back with us after the purchase of our house, it was clear that Gizmo wasn’t going to leave Pa.

So here we have been together for nearly a week. It is amazing to me the adaptability of animals, and we are establishing our own little routines. I’d forgotten just how safe I felt when I had Gizmo. We have discussions about routine almost daily… mostly because the thinks he knows what my schedule should look like, and I can’t miss a sunset, or dancing, or bike rides. He is adjusting well to sitting on the back of my bike in a basket, and our evening walk to meet the other pups for sunset. And it has been clear, when I consider my son’s request to keep him… Gizmo is home. Falco, my father, both were part of things Pito loved in Florida.

The grief I thought I would experience has turned into ease. We know each other so well. I am reminded, by random sneezes and nudges, it is time for bed. A few belly rubs and I feel like I am taking care of something precious to everyone in the family. Pa likely knew this was exactly what we both needed. “Nite Nite, Gizmo!”


One Response to “Nite Nite, Gizmo…”

  1. Ruby on October 20th, 2015 4:18 pm

    So beautiful description of what was coming to our little buddy. I miss him so much, we both do, buy I also know he needed a change of routine to a more active and involved life. Gizmo is a healer with his unconditional love he gives so gracefully. After I broke my wrist, his activity changed. We got fat from lack of walks and play at dog beach. I feel so relief knowing he is with its Mama full of energy, play time, bike rides, new friends and lots of attention. I hope to see him soon.