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Lessons From Gizmo

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
August 17, 2023 3:01 am

Lessons From Gizmo

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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August 17, 2023 3:01 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, our next story comes to us from our regular contributor Paul Bauer from Minneapolis, MN. Today, Paul brings us a story he’s titled: “Lessons from Gizmo.” 

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Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb

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Get yours before they sell out at And we continue with our American stories. And up next, a story from one of our listeners and now regular contributors, Paul Bauer from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Today, Paul brings us a story he's titled, Lessons from Gizmo. When I became an empty nester and my home became quiet and lonely, I decided it might be time to get a pet. I knew nothing about dogs, but there must be a reason why they're called man's best friend, so I went for it. Without a clue on how to go about picking the right precious canine and very few brains in my head, I went with my ear and I chose the sweetest sounding breed I could find. I purchased a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. With a royal name like that, how could I lose? This regal sounding dog was going to be my ticket out of middle class, and like the young Prince William of England, I would ascend straight into royalty.

I'm not so sure that was a good plan, looking back. I'm now five years into this canine experiment, and though I have a breed that starts with the word King Charles and ends with the word Cavalier, I have yet to meet Queen Elizabeth, or even sit next to Bob Eaker at a baseball game for that matter. Good seat, sir. You're in the wrong shape, buddy, come on.

I must be in the front row. But Gizmo, the princely dog, has managed to teach me a few things. I've compiled a list of the top ten things I've learned from this furry creature. Number one is humility. There's very little pride in owning a dog, especially when you have to do sanitation duty. Do you like holding those bags, swinging them by your knees while on a hike? Furthermore, while walking your dog, what's the proper way to introduce yourself to a passing stranger or a friendly neighbor when you have a baggie in one hand and a leash in the other? Try saying, pardon the poop, without being humble.

It's very sad. Number two, you have to learn who's boss. Are you short on long suffering? Then get a dog, like me, and that canine character builder will teach you who's boss in no time. Take, for example, the game of fetch. I thought all dogs played that throw and retrieve interactive practice, so when I first bought my dog, I looked forward to spending hours and hours of quality time with me throwing balls and my happy pooch bringing them back, over and over, back and forth.

All for naught. My dog has no interest in that kind of bonding nonsense. When I throw the ball, she pouts and breathes and looks me in the eye, glancing up on my arching eyebrows as if to say, too much work, sir, sorry, I can't help.

Maybe that's where the King Charles part comes in. My dog, Gizmo, she'd rather be waited on than returning fetches thrown by me, her master. My failure at teaching her these basic animal instincts is not for lack of trying. I've tried just about every kind of object possible. A stick, a rope, tennis ball, golf ball, racquetball, fuzzy balls and super balls. It doesn't matter.

All of them are losers. I throw them out as far or short as possible, and with hope, I say FETCH! But the reaction is the same. A stare down. Not even a twitch of a muscle or hint that maybe she should go chase that ball. I end up retrieving it myself, and I can plainly see a smirk on Gizmo's face as she observes this routine. I even tried what I thought was pure genius, cutting a hole in a tennis ball and filling it with treats.

That one actually brought mine to success. We got halfway there. She did chase it down, but there was no way she was bringing that ball back to me. It was a closed deal.

Negotiations were off. She ate the treat on the spot and, of course, left the ball there for me to fetch. My patience is really being tested, but after five years of trying, I have not given up.

Number three. I've learned my diet is not so bad after all. First, let me try saying something with a straight face. I do not have an eating disorder. There.

I said it. Only problem is, it's all a lie. Now in my late fifties, I've matured and gotten real about life.

And I've learned that carrying a few extra inches around my waist, this time I get used to the idea I'm never going to be ultra slim again. And I do have an eating problem. I admit it.

But at least I'm not as bad as Gizmo. That dog will eat anything that resembles food. Even some things that don't. Grass. Dirt. Roadkill.

It doesn't matter. It's all food to her. As for human food, no matter how sneaky I am, she knows when I have food.

And when pressed, I will hand it over. And she will gobble it down in seconds flat with no manners to boot. So I've come to realize I have problems with eating. But I'm a model of self-discipline compared to that dog. Number four, you're never really alone.

You don't need sunshine to cast a shadow, I have learned. This dog will not leave me out of her sight. Even the bathroom is not safe. If not for the door, she would be right there wondering why I'm in there, sitting on that thing with my pants down to my ankles. As it is, she's relegated to scratching at the door, telling me to go hurry up and finish my business.

Number five, I'm not that smart. If there's anything I have become convinced of since buying Gizmo, it's this. I'm being outsmarted by a dog. She is my superior.

The dog is the one in charge, not me, so I better get used to that fact. We walk when she wants to walk, we go where she wants to go. If I feel like stepping it up and making it into a jog, it's no guarantee she will jog with me. Gizmo will jog when she feels like it, which is almost never. So I might as well follow my leader and obey her instincts.

Kinda like the old Hannah Babera cartoon character, Quick Draw McGraw. Gizmo says, in essence, I'll do the thinning around here, bubba boy. She even orders food for us both. When I'm out cooking on the grill, I know why she wigs her tail and watches me intently. She's not happy to see me. She's only making sure I cook the steak just right. Medium rare, I have learned. She has me feeling too guilty to give her a piece with some fat and grizzle on it.

She'd make it sick, I think, to myself. So, of course, she gets the center cut, leaving me to eat the part that's not fit for a dog. Number six, I'm a lousy barber. My dog has also taught me something about personal care. I'm now her personal hairstylist. I'm too cheap to pay for a groomer. I don't even pay to have someone give me my own haircut. I'm not about to pay someone to do my dog, so Gizmo is at the mercy of my scissors. If she's not going to play fetch, I'm not going to go to beauty school. Her precious fur coat looks as though it had a run-in with a weed whacker and lost. Luckily for her, I was told you can't shave a King Charles cavalry spaniel. It just doesn't work. But if it did, the Regal Gizmo would have a look just like my personal favorite, the Michael Jordan Kirby Puckett Chrome Dome, a dog dude made to look just like me.

But as it is, she's the only dog in the neighborhood with a mullet. Number seven, if you snooze, you don't always lose. I'm not lazy, not when compared to Gizmo at least. I no longer have to feel guilty taking a 10-minute nap in the afternoon. When this dog is not eating, following me around, or refusing to play fetch, or complaining about her mullet, she's sleeping, period.

She believes in the power nap strategy for success, like Einstein, so I follow her example. Number eight, you don't have to fuss about housework. Our house used to be spotless before Gizmo. We were the model of good housekeeping. But all thoughts about our house being perfect, or even any guilt about leaving the living just a little bit messy, that has completely vanished.

Gizmo gave us perspective. From the beginning of this experiment, the shedding beast has turned our house into one continuous fuzzball, not a house of impeccable perfection. We have worn out three vacuum cleaners and still cannot keep the place fuzz-free.

I think Mr. Hoover invented the notion that every home needs a pet. Number nine, it's better to stick to a routine. I used to love change.

Variety, that's the spice of life, right? But now in my middle-aged years, living with my King Charles Cavalier spaniel, I've changed my mind. You mess with your routine, and you pay for it the following day.

Gizmo reinforces that notion. Don't even think about sitting down to unwind after a hard day at the office. The dog must be walked first.

Try putting your feet up for a few minutes, and she will stare you down with a look that could kill a squirrel. This is Gizmo's time, and you better get up off your booty and take her out for a walk, so that she can come home afterwards and sleep. Number ten, doctors are overrated. For anyone considering the medical profession, you might want to forget about brain surgery or heart transplants and go right to the more lucrative position of a veterinarian. I've never paid for one of those other surgeries, but I can't imagine they're more expensive than Gizmo's yearly checkup at the vet and her corresponding medications. Gizmo has me trained. Animal science and canine medicine, that's where it's at.

There's a goldmine there. With all this wisdom I've acquired from dog ownership and all these lessons learned from life with Gizmo in an empty nest, I have to wonder, how did I learn anything in life without a dog? That pooch has changed my life. Too much.

Way too much. She has taken over. I have become my dog's intern, stylist, psychiatrist, personal attendant, provider and student. Maybe I shouldn't be such a pushover and I should consider teaching this old dog a few new tricks, but I'm too prone to roll over at this stage in my life.

That's just the way it goes. She's the dog. I am the tail. It is, after all, dog's life, isn't it? And great work is always by Greg Hangler on this piece. And a special thanks to Paul Bower from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He's a devoted listener and also a great contributor. By the way, I have pugs. Anyone who has pugs understands and empathizes with my friend Paul. My goodness, King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and pugs have a lot in common.

They run the show, period. The story of Gizmo and lessons from Gizmo here on Our American Story. Hey, this is Paris. I downloaded all my favorite things into my new Roblox experience. It's called Sliving. It's got everything I love. Discovering, shopping, collecting, partying with my friends. Do you slay? Do you live? Do you sliv? You can join me. Join me. Come sliv it up with me on Friday, August 25th. Get on the dance floor as I spin at the hottest party on Roblox. I can't wait for you to see it. Now you're slipping.

Flipping land on Roblox. Loves it. For each person living with myasthenia gravis, or MG, their journey with this rare condition is unique. That's why Untold Stories Life with myasthenia gravis, a new podcast from iHeartRadio in partnership with Argenix, is exploring the extraordinary challenges and personal triumphs of underserved communities living with MG. Host Martine Hackett will share these powerful perspectives from real people with MG so their experiences can help inspire the MG community and educate others about this rare condition. Listen to find strength in community on the MG journey on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-25 20:30:01 / 2023-08-25 20:35:53 / 6

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