Archived Story

Part 1: How Gizmo got his groove back

Published 1:15pm Saturday, October 15, 2011

Column: Pass the Hot Dish

I didn’t want that dog.

Gizmo was a year old Pomeranian with no place to go. His companion passed away leaving him to her son. The problem was the son had two Boston terriers who had no intention of sharing their turf with 8 pounds of white fur and sad eyes.

“I can’t take on another dog. I’m moving,” I told my parents.

“When?” they asked hopefully.

“Someday,” I said, “and I’m not leaving this one horse town saddled with two dogs.”

The son was bringing Gizmo over for a visit. Sure. I knew he wanted to break down our defenses with cuteness so we’d have no choice but to take that dog and love him forever.

“We are under attack,” I warned my parents. “You have to be strong.”

“Don’t worry. I don’t want another dog in this house,” my dad said. We had all we could handle with our yorkie, Sidney. He was a purebred calamity. Even if we’d wanted to take Gizmo, Sidney would never allow it.

I opened the front door to find the son holding the sweetest looking dog I’d ever seen. He was even wearing a red bow around his neck.

Preemptive strike my brain told me. Do it now!

“We can’t…” I started, but it was too late.

“He can stay,” I heard my dad say behind me.

My father was usually pragmatic and rational, but cute dogs were his kryptonite. The son didn’t have to say a word. He only had to flash all that adorability in front of my dad and it was over.

“That is your dog! Your dog!” I mouthed silently to my mother as the son handed Gizmo over to my dad.

He tentatively placed Gizmo on the floor with Sidney. There was no use putting off the inevitable. In the year we’d had Sidney, he had tried to fight every person, plant, and pair of shoes that had come into our house. He had even taken on a cat three times his size and landed in the animal hospital with six stitches. What on earth would he do with this walking powder puff?

Sid got down on his haunches in front of Gizmo, ready to pounce. Gizmo just stood there pleasantly looking like a refugee from the Candy Land board game. Wily killer terrier meets clueless passive Pomeranian; this is going to be so ugly, I thought. Then Sidney did the unthinkable. He flipped over on his back and surrendered. It got even weirder when Gizmo slowly lowered himself to the floor and rolled over on his back too. They threw out the laws of pack behavior and lay there with their paws in the air, neither one taking the dominant position. Then they began to wrestle and play like old friends.

“Fantastic,” I said to my parents. “Ten minutes together and they’re ‘Laverne and Shirley.’ I’m not taking him with me when I move. He is not my dog!” But no one believed I was ever going to move.

Weeks went by and Gizmo settled in, but I began to notice disturbing behavior. Everywhere I went, there he was. He even tried to follow me into the bathroom. I’d walk in, shut the door and hear a thump as he ran into the other side of it. “Do not fall in love with me. You are not my dog,” I told him over and over.

Then one day I was reading in the tub. I finished my book, threw it over the side and heard, “Yeoow!”

Unbeknownst to me, Gizmo was laying next to the bathtub, and I’d just beaned him with a paperback. Two paws appeared followed by a little white head. Gizmo rested his chin on the side of the tub and stared at me.

I slid further down into the water and looked up at him. It was time for me to surrender too. “Ahh, crud,” I said. “You’re my dog.” I swear he smiled and maybe I did too.

Nothing ever works out like you think it will, does it? We did finally move, to Woodbury, Minnesota. And it was there that I found myself leaning over Gizmo one morning, screaming and crying for my husband to help me because the best friend I never wanted was laying on the floor and he wasn’t moving.

Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at