When Gigi’s owner Tealeye was looking for a puppy to rescue almost three years ago she originally was interested in adopting a brindled male boxer. Fortunately for Gigi the only available male at her boxer rescue was adopted to someone else, and Tealeye happily allowed herself to be selected by Gigi, one of two female boxer puppies available for adoption.
Gigi was fortunate to be adopted by a human who would care for her throughout many health problems. Throughout her puppyhood she had UTIs and Conjunctivitis almost every month and spent most of her life on antibiotics. At ten months old Gigi passed out while at her human grandmother’s house and was diagnosed with a slightly enlarged left ventricle and a small heart murmur. Then right before her second birthday her veterinarians determined that she had torn her ACL.
Since October of 2013 Gigi went through three Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgeries and is the proud owner of six titanium screws, three in each leg. “While under for her first surgery, her vet was nice enough to x-ray her other knee to give us an estimate on if/when we might expect the other one to go. Turns out, it was already torn and she would need surgery as soon as possible. It’s a 10 week recovery process,” Tealeye recalls, “So, once the first recovery process was done, the second surgery was done. While she was recovering from the second surgery, she became sick, and it was determined that she had a staph infection, and a third surgery was needed to remove the infected plate. This set her off on another round of antibiotics. I just remember the vet showing me three pages of antibiotics that she was immune to. I don’t know how many that was, but it was three pages worth. There were 3 antibiotics she was not immune to. One of which would destroy her liver, and had serious ramifications for humans, it could also destroy a human liver. I prayed that she would take to the other two and not have to use the last one.”
Because Tealeye works full time and was not home during the day to administer all of the care that Gigi would need, Tealeye’s Mom nursed the sweet Boxer pup back to health. Fortunately Gigi came through all of the surgeries ok and did not need to take the “last resort” antibiotic. After her recovery from those operations Gigi then suffered a bout with colitis and diarrhea and Tealeye was advised to feed a prescription diet. “After a few months her coat started to deteriorate.
Fortunately Tealeye and Gigi were at a doggie meetup at Gigi’s camp, Camp Run-A-Mutt, Southbay, and Canine Caviar holistic pet food was also in attendance with samples and company representatives, including Director of Public Relations Dawn Barraco who spent a lot of time speaking to Tealeye and helping her find the right formula for Gigi.
Now that Gigi is on Canine Caviar many of her issues have been resolved. “Gigi’s coat has a beautiful shine to it and whenever people pet her they say how soft she is and how healthy loking her coat is,” Tealeye says, “She doesn’t have much if any gas anymore, which is great on a lot of different levels, but most important it means that she has enough ‘good stuff’ in her belly. I felt like there was too much air in her food, not enough of the good stuff and the combination meant that she was passing a lot of gas. I’m afraid of bloat and so many other things happening to her because of all that ‘air’.”
Gigi has tried the Chicken & Pearl Millet, the Lamb & Pearl Millet and is currently enjoying the New Zealand Venison flavored Wilderness Grain Free. She also loves all of the natural and organic
canned foods and has yet to find a Canine Caviar buffalo or sweet potato treat that she does not like.
Gigi will turn three on September 23 of this year and she and Tealeye will celebrate her third Adoptaversary on November 23, 2014. The Long Beach, California dog and human spend a lot of time together doing a variety of fun activities, made easier by the fact that Gigi is a very friendly, well behaved and silly dog. “Gigi is a boxer, they are the clowns of the dog world,” Tealeye said. Gigi is a licker and Tealeye compares her to a small child who puts everything in their mouth, “She just randomly licks things, doors, the ground, trees, grass, other animals and people. This makes it especially funny because when we are walking down the street if someone walks close enough to her she licks him or her. I call it drive-by-licking.”
“Gigi is very active; me, not so much,” laughs Tealeye, “We belong to a dog training group and meet every Sunday. We like to go hiking, sometimes she gets me jogging.” Lately Gigi and Tealeye have been doing Doga together. They also take occasional trips to the beach and visit the dog park nearly every day. Gigi also attends “camp”, otherwise known as doggie day care. “We have been trying to learn how to swim, “Tealeye said, “She’s had a couple of lessons. She doesn’t like it but we live near the ocean and I need her to recognize that she can swim and be ok.”
“Gigi is an urban dog; she loves prancing around town and meeting people,” Tealeye explained, “Almost every Tuesday night we go to the farmer’s market, they allow well-behaved dogs and we have a great time. Once a month, Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls has a First Friday event with music and food vendors lining the streets, the shops stay open late and there are lots of people. We don’t go all the time, but we’ve been a few times and have always had a good time. Long Beach is a great dog city; they allow them to go to restaurants and stores. If Gigi can’t go, then I don’t go, unless it’s grocery shopping…a girl needs to eat. If I need to do something that Gigi can’t do, then she goes to camp.”
As much as Gigi loves to go and explore, she also throws “tantrums” when she does not want to go somewhere. “The brakes come on and she doesn’t move. If for some reason, I actually get her moving, she will throw herself on the ground, doesn’t matter where she is, the middle of a busy intersection, in front of the garage door, in front of people – doesn’t matter. She has personality in abundance, and I laugh every day.”
Fortunately Gigi is also an excellent napper for those days when she just does not want to go somewhere and she loves to nap with her human. Tealeye, a first time dog owner, is head over heels in love with her beautiful and goofy boxer. “I couldn’t imagine my life without Gigi. Through her, I’ve become aware of animal issues. I volunteer a lot with groups that mean something to me because of her. FOOD for Pets because I was looking to volunteer prior to getting Gigi and this group fit into my needs as a volunteer. I volunteer with Fix Long Beach, a grass-roots community group established to address the dog and cat over population situation in Long Beach. They provide free spay/neuter for low-income and homeless people in the city of Long Beach. Over 75% of animals taken into our local shelter are killed. Many of the homeless people have more than one dog because they come across dogs that have been abandoned, and so they take them in. Animal Control facilities are overrun with puppies and kittens, pregnant dogs and cats, strays, owner surrenders. It’s as if pets have become just things to us instead of family members. When they get too old or too sick, people dump their property at the shelter. It’s selfish and heartbreaking. There are also some really sad stories as well, people who LOVE their pets, but can’t afford to take care of them. More programs are needed to help those people, and that is why I love FLB. By spaying/neutering your pet, it ensures that there are no unwanted litters, no backyard breeding. It keeps more pets in their homes. “
Tealeye also offers some excellent information on rescue facilities and how to choose a legitimate and responsible one, “I donate to local rescues that let me go to their facilities and check them out. I have learned, the hard way, that if you are not welcome at or cannot drop in unannounced to a shelter facility, it is not something you want to associate with. Social media is amazing and people want to help; that’s great. I encourage people to get involved with their local animal control facility, and their local area shelters and rescues. That way you KNOW where your money is going. Too many people out there try and scam others by pulling at their heart strings. We cannot save them all, not at the moment, but by starting locally you are making the difference in your community. AND that spreads to neighboring communities. One of the rescues that I donate to is called Long Beach Dog Walker Volunteers , they need help cleaning kennels, doing laundry, washing dog bowls, and socializing the dogs at their facility. I don’t do this as much as I would like, but I support them as much as I can. Time is always an issue. I also volunteer with Sachi Animal Rescue , they are a boxer rescue and I’ve made some really great friends there. As Gigi does not have a rescue, they have made her an honorary member, which I love. If you adopt from a reputable rescue, they help you throughout the life of your pet. They want to know how it’s doing, how you’re doing, any issues, etc. You and your new family member become a part of a community. It’s really great.”