Pet Story - Gidget, a Maltese Dog - Celebrating Our Pets

As told by Gidget
A Maltese Dog

When I was first born, about 19 years ago, we lived right on the beach in Del Mar, a beach town in San Diego. I didn't like the beach very much, there’s nothing much to smell, except sand and seaweed.

For a while when I was a puppy, I thought my name was NoNo, cause that’s just about all I ever heard – “no no and out side”. One day my Dad came home and my Lady (my Mom) was sitting on the floor crying. She said that when I peed on the floor, she would say “no no” and take me outside. Well, I thought I had caught on to what she wanted, so I’d pee on the floor and run outside. It took a long while and a lot more of her patience, but I finally got it. After that I’d go pee anytime and anywhere on command.

I had a cat once too when I was young, she bought him for me; his name was Sidney. She said I had so much energy that I needed a playmate – I was wearing her out. Sidney was great! , We had lots of fun running through the house; we’d wrestle and roll, chase and bite each other until we were exhausted. Then we would get on the bed, take a nap, both sucking on the same blanket. Sometimes Sidney would yowl a lot if I got the best of him in a fight, then she’d break us up, but then Sidney would come right back for more – he definitely had the advantage, he had claws.

Then we moved away from the beach to the suburbs called Tierrasanta. My Dad was still with us then too. He liked me a lot and I liked him too, but my Lady didn't like him much I guess, cause he went away – it didn't really matter much cause he hardly ever came home anymore anyway. I have to say in his favor, he was a really understanding Dad when it came to my peeing. When they first brought me home I was very tiny, and I cried and cried to get in bed with them. Finally they gave in, so I happily crawled up on top of his curly head and went to sleep. Then later in the night, I peed – on his head. He flew out of bed speaking loudly in some foreign language that scared me. My Lady started laughing until she had tears, finally he started laughing too, and I was real happy. They changed the bed, but I still got to stay and they forgave me – they always did. They also made sure that I went out to pee before bedtime.

I loved our new home in the suburbs; great smells – grass, trees, coyotes, skunks, possum, cats and dogs too. My Lady took me for walks everyday, bright and early, when the neighborhood was quiet and the dew was still on the grass. I was always a mess when we got home. I would romp through the beautiful winding maze of green belts and walk- ways that led to the park in the center – stopping and peeing on everything, smelling all the wonderful smells, pulling and tugging until she would let me loose to run free.

Sidney liked our new home too. We had both been trained to use a sand box (actually Sidney taught me); anyway, in our new house we discovered this indoor toilet right in the living room. This was real convenient; we could go pee anytime we felt like it. First she noticed that we had black soot on us all the time, then the house started to smell, then she busted us in the fireplace; well someone had put sand in it. That was the end of our indoor toilet.

When Sidney got about a year old, he started to prowl at night (guess all males are alike), anyway, sometimes he’d be gone for a couple of days, and then he’d come home all beat up. My Lady would tend him, mend him, and feed him, then he’d sleep a lot for several days, and then he’d disappear again. Finally, Sidney never came home again. She said that the Coyotes got him, and if I didn't stay home, they would get me too. I never ever left home – I had a great thing going here.

I think we went for walks just about every day of my life, until I got old and had cataracts, then the light hurt my eyes, and then I went blind and almost totally deaf. But this didn't happen until much later in my life.

I knew where all the neighborhood dogs live, and as we went on our walks, I would charge ahead and run up to their fence, jump on it barking (all 8 pounds of aggression), till I got a rise out of someone, then we’d leave a trail of barking dogs, as I bounced on down the green belt, satisfied with my mischief, tail wagging in search of another adventure.

I never really walked until I got old – I bounced, trotted or ran, but never just walked. Sometimes on our morning outings, I would find a frog in the grass – he’d jump, and then I’d jump, this would go on until she made me stop and leave him alone, then we’d continue on our journey.

My Lady was the best trained Lady there ever was, I could get her to do just about anything or give me anything I wanted. I was a scrapper too, and vicious – on the end of a leash. I’d start fights with any size dog, didn't matter, cause I new if things got rough, she was on my side, and I also knew she’d kill for me. I owned her, heart and soul.

I had boxes of toys. I would throw them around, roll on them, bark at them and then chew the squeaker out – then I wouldn't like them anymore – so we had a box of dead toys too. It didn't matter, she always bought me more.

I played with everything, even my cereal and jerky treats. Before eating them, I had to toss it around, roll on it, bark at it, and then eat it. Sometimes I would just cover it up – with air, and save it for later. Everything was fun – life was fun and I was always happy just to be here.

I was at her heels all the time, nipping at her feet, dragging on her clothes – I chewed up and tore up a lot of stuff too, but she never laid a hand on me. I got scolded a lot for sure….then I’d look sad and shamed, but when she was through, I’d bounce away and play – she’d just laugh – cute sure gets ya a lot!

I also can’t remember a day of my life that she didn't hug and kiss me and love me. Sometimes she’d hug and kiss me sooo much, that I’d wish she loved me a little less. I loved her too, a lot, and I kissed away her tears whenever she was sad and cried, and I was sad too. I also liked just about everybody in the world I ever met, and if they didn't like me, they didn't last long around here.

I trailed her through the house no matter where she went – that’s just where I wanted to be too. The only time it ever seemed to annoy her was when I’d scratch on the bathroom door. Other than that, she couldn't get enough of me.

Once I had a tumor and had to have an operation. She actually interviewed vets before she would let them touch me – some people thought she was a nut – but she didn't care. I was real sick after the operation and for 10 days she never left me alone, not even to go to work. Thank God I got better, cause she was a basket case. Except for an occasional upset stomach, I was always healthy and happy.

Sometimes we would go on long trips in the car to see friends and relatives, and sometimes she even took me on airplanes. I got to ride right up front with all the people (even though she was suppose to put me in a box under the seat). Well, I absolutely refused to be stuck in a box, and the whole plane heard about it. Finally after much negotiation, the ladies in charge let me sit on her lap just to shut me up. We stayed in hotels too – lots of interesting smells there.

Camping – this was a real drag – with my long white hair dragging on the ground, I picked up every burr, twig and leaf that I came in contact with – not to mention the fleas – then she would spend long tedious hours of picking, pulling a brushing, with me fussing, whining and trying to get away. I’d bite that brush too.

Once when we were camping, she went down a trail with some friends to a creek – so I followed, and when I got close to her, I just jumped the last few feet onto what I thought was grass – which turned out to be a swamp covered with moss. They said the look on my face was priceless as I went under that green slime. What a stinking mess I was – nobody wanted to be near me the rest of the trip. I hate camping!

Sometimes my Lady left me behind with her best friends while she went somewhere without me – that wasn't too bad and it wasn't too often – but I would get even with her when she got back home – I’d pout and ignore her for a few seconds, just to make sure she knew I wasn't happy about being left – then I’d jump all over her and kiss her – I always forgave her too.

No matter where we went or how long the trip, I would always know within a few miles of our house that we were almost home; when we got there and in the house I would roll on the floor and bark with happiness.

As I got older, friends didn't want to keep me much anymore, cause they were afraid if something happened to me while she was gone, she might not forgive them. So she seldom left and when she did she had a friend come and stay over at our house with me.

Christmases were the best, I got to go to all the parties, and all of her friends treated me like I was real special. I always had presents under the tree, and I would sniff them out and rip them open. I loved opening presents, and I wanted to help everybody open their presents too – which they thought was real cute – like I said cute gets you a lot! Also, on the holidays the friends would sneak me turkey and ham under the table – she always knew the next day, cause I’d have diarrhea, and she’d get the dirty duty of cleaning my behind. Yuk…

I liked going to Grandma’ house too – she lived in the Monterey Bay area, near the coast, a long way from our house – took us forever to get there. It was nice there; crisp and cool, makes a dog feel good. Grandma had a dog too, her name was Cricket. Cricket was a Yorkshire Terrier. I liked her ok, but she wasn't real crazy about me, she was a lot smaller, and I was pretty rough, but she tolerated me, cause she loved my Lady too. Grandma and my Lady would argue about whose dog was the smartest. Actually, Cricket was the smartest, cause they use to hand feed her steak, and I got dog food. Cricket was a better people trainer than me. She liked Grandpa really good, he use to give her cut up carrots – she loved carrots – weird dog.

Cricket was 15 years old when she died; she had a great life too. Grandpa buried her in the back yard and built a shrine for her. Then Grandpa died, then Grandma died and we never went there anymore.

As I got older, we didn't go much of anywhere anymore. The friends and relatives put up with us, but they would have preferred it if she left me home.

Well, I finally learned to walk, instead of bounce, trot and run. I've lost my sight and most of my hearing, and I get disoriented in strange places and sometimes I pee where I'm not suppose to – back to that again. So, we stay home more and more, but my Lady doesn't seem to mind, and her love for me has never wavered, in fact, I think she even loves me more.

Pet Story - Rita Reed and Gidget, a Maltese Dog - Celebrating Our Pets

The inspiration and the writing of Gidget's story took place on the morning of April 27, 1991, two weeks before she died. April 27th also happened to be the birth date of my deceased Mother.

This little ball of white fluff gave me 19 years of love, laughter and enjoyment, I wouldn't have traded her for the world.

Gidget, a Maltese Dog - Her story "A Dog's Life"
November 14, 1972 - May 11, 1991

Rita Reed
San Diego, California

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