The New Dog

My old dog, Willow, the inspiration and muse for this website has passed away. Her page with all her info has been moved.

This Is Gia, my new Adventure Girl

Her First Day With Me

Her entrance into my life was timely and fortuitous. I was returning from my first camping trip without a dog since Willow died. I went and did a large portion of The Mojave Road which Willow and I had done twice, once in each direction and other spots in The Mojave National Preserve. Experiencing those spots we had enjoyed together, without her dog presence and energy, was jarring and uncomfortable. Plus, at 5700′ during one of those Atmospheric Rivers that passed through California it was well below freezing and alternated between snow, sleet, hail and rain and all without my black, furry ~250 Btu/Hr personal heater. It was not, at all, as fun.

Around the time I was getting into the San Francisco Bay Area for a family function I texted my sister that that day (April 6th) was seven months to the day since Willow passed away. Within minutes she had texted me back pictures of this dog she had seen at a local dog park with an “Adopt Me” leash on.

The new dog, Gia, on the right
The First Picture I Ever Saw Of Her

I said I was interested and she got the contact information from the guy who had brought her and made an appointment for us to meet the next day. She also gave him this website’s URL so he could see what sort of a life Willow had enjoyed.

We met the next day and Gia got along well with my sister’s dog. Her rescuer had been fostering her for about three months. He also happens to be a dog trainer and in that time with him and his other dogs she had obviously learned some good doggie manners and was familiar with the basic commands which I consider a quality foundation from which to build upon. We made another appointment to meet the next day at an off-leash area so he could show me her recall and some of the insights he had learned about her. That meeting also went well and I drove away with her in my truck.

As I understand it I am her 5th caretaker. The origin story her last rescuer told me is not unlike many “street” dogs in an urban environment. The 1st humans to care for her lived under an overpass and Gia started her life living in a cardboard box cared for by those unhoused animal lovers. Her 1st rescuer (2nd caretaker) had apparently offered $25 to the houseless person(s) and promised to find the puppy a good home. That 3rd home named her GiGi. Unfortunately it also happened to have a severely autistic child in it who did not do well with the dog (or vice versa) and so “GiGi” was banished to the garage where she lived on the bare concrete floor among her urine and feces. From the paperwork that came with her that third home also had another dog named King, a german Shepherd. I know this from the Vet bill for stiches on Gia’s right ear (she has the scar as evidence) and I’m guessing she came out on the losing side during a spat over some resource she was guarding that King took exception to. The guy I got her from (her 4th caretaker – Thanks Elijah) had done some training with King and gave that family the option and promise to find GiGi a better life. And now, around 9-10 months into her doggie life, she finds her way to me (her 5th caretaker).

From the looks of her I guessed that she had Spaniel and Pit Bull in her and I called that Mutt Mix “Spittie” (a portmanteau of Spaniel & pittie…”Spitbull” was not an option). I was not far off. Among her vaccination records I found the results from a Wisdom Panel DNA test. Essentially she is 50% Pitbull/Staffordshire Terrier, 30% Bulldog and close to 20% Cocker Spaniel. I couldn’t come up with a good and easy-to-say portmanteau that incorporated Bulldog or “bully” too. If I did it in order of breed percentage it would be something ugly (like Bullpittial or Spanpittibull) so I am sticking with the cute and easy to say “Spittie.”

DNA test results
A Good Mutt Mix

Mere days later we met a Springer Spaniel at a local dog park and the fur type, colors and patterns were almost identical.

Spaniel Far Left, Gia Far Right

At an approximate age of 10 months she has not yet been “fixed.” I was told she has gone through one “heat” so the time has come. I have an appointment at my California Veterinarian for her Spay procedure on April 18th. Once she recovers from that I will take her out into the wilds for her first taste of adventure. I expect we will initially head to some of the places that Willow and I enjoyed which will be bittersweet for me but I expect she will have a blast. I also plan to search for new, beautiful and interesting places to make a fresh set of memories and I am really looking forward to that. As her 5th caretaker my job now is to give her a stable, secure and fulfilling life, a task I am greatly looking forward to.

UPDATE: She made it through her spay surgery well. She is now laying at my hip, on the bed, drugged up and wearing her protective onesie and e-collar as I write this update.