One artist's journey: Trying to live a creative life with grace, grit, gratitude...and a border collie.
(or perhaps I should say: greys, grit and gratitude)

01 April 2011

Giggster Remembered (Part 1); Puppy Power

Twenty-five years ago today, a litter of Italian Greyhounds was born in Utah...six weeks later one of them found his way into my heart. He would be my companion for the next eighteen years.

Many of you knew this extraordinary little dog and so I hope you'll enjoy the next few posts as I take a little stroll down memory lane in his honor.

The first name I gave him was Montana, he was so small that he seemed to need a BIG name. It wouldn't last. This little dog always had a way of taking his life into his own paws and his name would be one of the first things he would change. He quickly became "The Giggler"...because he made everyone he met laugh out loud.

The Giggler, Giggy, Snarly Sneerhound, Poodle (because he was the UN-poodle) and Light-bulb-head were among the names he answered to.

From the beginning, he was captivatingly tenacious, gregarious and intelligent. He had a way of winning the heart of nearly everyone he met....except, maybe, Monster Cat.

When I was working a dog show in Denver, strangers kept coming to the booth and asking to hold the 7 week old Gig while they watched judging. He was passed through the crowd, cuddled by one person after another. I finally had to go and steal him back for fear that someone would take him home.

He spent his first two years running with the big dogs in the fields around our little cabin in Tennessee. A stray we called "96" was his first bad influence. 96 liked to roam...and he took the rest of the dogs with him when he could.

96's wandering ways only brought trouble for himself....but Giggy managed to worm his way into the hearts of the neighbors. One couple, in particular, owned "Meridee's" bakery in nearby Franklin and lived about a mile down the road. Their own dogs were not allowed on the furniture at all, but when Gig came to visit, he claimed their bed AND got cookies. In Giggy's world, everyone was a friend...

At home, the young Gig insinuated himself into the Alpha Dog position almost instantly. He did so with such grace, diplomacy and wry humor that the 65 pound Saluki (Max) never knew what hit him.

The only heat source in the cabin we lived in was one small electric heater. The quadruped crew loved to pile up in front of it...but if Max managed to secure the space in front of it first, no one else could fit.

The kitchen had doors on each end of a counter, so Gig would trot into the kitchen and rattle a food dish or play with a toy until Max came to investigate. As soon as Max came in one doorway, Gig would run out the other end and sprawl in front of the heater (soon to be joined by the cats). Poor Max would come back out, look at Gig and the cats in "his" spot, then heave a long, loud sigh and take his place at the back.

Giggy never knew he was a little dog. This only LOOKS vicious...but was just one of the games he played with Max. For all the bared teeth, they were remarkably gentle with one another.

One of Gig's best pals was "Dog George" a three legged rescue and incredibly good-natured old soul. Connoisseur that he was, Gig liked his rawhide bones "tenderized"...

He would bring George a new rawhide to work on...and when George had softened it up sufficiently, Gig would bring another new one and "trade" up.

Gig always had a sense of humor...he embraced his innate silliness, turned it to his advantage and brought smiles to everyone around him.

To be continued...