An Interview with Gizmo ex-rescue dog

This interview appeared in Dog’s Today in 2015

Ex rescue shelter pooch, spokesmutt for abandoned dogs, and celebrity author: Gizmo, lives in El Medano, a small fishing town in Tenerife, with his humans Nikki and Richard Attree.

His novel: “Nobody’s Poodle” (ghost written by Nikki and Richard) has received wooftastic reviews.

Why do you think your first humans abandoned you, and what was it like as a stray dog on the mean streets of Tenerife ?

I really don’t know why I was abandoned. Maybe it was because I grew too big or because my humans couldn’t afford to keep me. Whatever the reason, I was very sad and lonely on the streets. It was tough trying to find enough to eat and drink, and people kept shouting at me to go away. I never want to go through that again, I can tell you !

Tell us about your first night time in the rescue shelter …

Ha, I remember it well. I didn’t get too much sleep that night. Well none of us did really. My cage-mates were: Gonzales – a manic Jack Russell (we called him “Speedy G”), and Luna, the Bulldog. Speedy G kept bouncing around all night like he thought he was some kind of manic rubber ball. He bounced off the walls, me, Luna, everything really! and in between bounces, he insisted on telling me his life-story … in great detail. Then when Speedy G’s battery finally ran down and he decided to go to sleep, Luna started snoring for Tenerife.

The next morning made up for the lack of sleep though, as the volunteers at the refuge gave me some breakfast. Wooftastic! What a treat after having to ferret around for food on the streets.

What inspired you to write a novel ?

The idea for the book developed from the articles I used to write for a local paper (‘Island Connections’). I was the first ‘newshound’ to have a regular column in Tenerife and possibly the world. My job as the spokesmutt for Nikki’s TenerifeDogs blog and website also gave me a lot of material, plus my first-paw experience of life on the streets of course.

I’m hoping that when people read my story they’ll consider adopting a rescue dog. The shelters are completely full-up with abandoned dogs these days, and some of them have been there for ages. All they want is another chance to show you humans what wonderful furry amigos they can be, and to be one of the family.

How did you come up with the intriguing title of your book “Nobody’s Poodle” ?

Well I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a canine philosopher. I’m forever stopping in the middle of a good sniff to ask myself deep and meaningful questions like: “if a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?”; or “if I bury a bone so well that nobody finds it ever again, does it still exist?”. So I was tempted to call my book something clever like: “I Woof, therefore I Am’’. I mean, with a title like that they’d be bound to take me seriously, no? I’d be all over Radio 4 and Newsnight Book Review.

But then I thought: “yes dude, it’s clever, but it’s not very snappy, and maybe I can come up with something that really says who I am”. OK for sure I’m a woofer so I woof, and therefore I am; and clearly I am, so therefore, obviously I woof … but who is this Gizmo? What’s he really all about? When it comes down to it, I’m more street Doodle dude than poncy Poodle, and I’ve always been my own dog. Never a stand-in for another dog. I’m all about standing up for the Underdog. So, in a nutshell:

I am Nobody’s Poodle But I’m Somebody’s Doodle, And I Woof … therefore I Am!

Tell us a bit about your educational poster campaign ?

One of the first tasks I had as spokesmutt for the TenerifeDogs website was to be the poster pooch for Accion-del-Sol’s (the refuge where I’m from) educational program. This involved visiting local schools, telling the children about the plight of stray mutts in Tenerife, and teaching them how to look after their pets properly. Nikki used be a professional photographer, so she took the photographs for the posters.

Are you in a relationship ?

Well I’m still a young dog and and I want time to play the field a bit before I tie myself down. Of course I’ve had the snip so no chance of me starting a family. I have to say that I wasn’t completely convinced. I was a bit worried that it might affect my abilities in the impress-the-lady-dogs department. You know what I’m saying: would I still be able to get it on with ma bitches?

But of course the operation wasn’t the premature end of my ‘interaction’ with the lady dogs. It just meant that I wouldn’t ‘be the daddy’. And that’s a good thing. There are far too many homeless dogs, without me bringing even more pups into the world !

Anyhow, to answer your question: I do have a favourite amiga: Katie. She’s a real cute Carniche I hang out with. She was adopted from the same refuge as me and now we’re neighbours. I do spend a lot of time with her, sitting on the sofa woofing about the time we spent on the streets, but really we’re just good friends.

How do you feel about cats ?

To be honest, I used to think that cats were “pants”, but for my well-being, and the cats’, it was a mistake to think that I could simply chase all the pesky critters right off the planet. Its just not possible, and actually its not even healthy for us dogs to declare war. Chasing

them is wooftastic sport – yes, but though it pains me to say it: we do have to live together in relative harmony.

OK, I’m not saying that I’d necessarily want to share my last bone with a cat. I’m not even saying stuff that I’ve heard from other dogs like: “some of my best friends are cats” (yeah, right), but I’m reminded of a quote from that great canine philosopher, Snoopy:

“Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I feel very peculiar. I feel like I’ve just got to bite a cat! I feel like if I don’t bite a cat before sundown, I’ll go crazy! But then I just take a deep breath and forget about it. That’s what is known as real maturity.”

And finally Gizmo – has fame affected you at all ?

Not at all. I keep my paws firmly on the ground. I wouldn’t let fame go to my head and give in to some of the stuff you read about celebs. No late -night biscuits scoffing, sniffing weird stuff , mass humping sessions … hmm, or at least, not too many anyway.

Do follow Gizmo on his twitter page wooftasticbooks

His book ‘Nobody’s Poodle’ is available on amazon