Meet Gizmo, the coolest chihuahua in town
Dogs & Humans is a series of stories about people and dogs sharing their lives together. Everything from how they met and how they spend their days, to tips & tricks they learned along the way. One thing is guaranteed: fluffiness overdose.
If dogs really resemble their pawrents, then we would describe both Gizmo and Daniel as "incredibly cool." We've got the pleasure to meet both of them in London and immediately clicked with Daniel, who is a perfect example of super fun and laid-back dog dad.
"The word ' dog owner' is totally outdated," he tells us before we start the interview. "I don't feel like I own him. I own a mobile, and I also own a gym membership. But I don't 'own' my 'fur-iend'. " See? REALLY COOL.
How did you and Gizmo find each other?
Daniel: A gentleman that was mourning the unfortunate passing of his mother spontaneously bought Gizmo to surprise his wife. However, his wife did not want another dog in the household – they already had a Chihuahua x Jack Russell. So they had him a few days before advertising him online, asking only for the money they paid from the breeder.
Since I first set eyes on Gizmo, it was definitely love at first sight. Over a year down the line, that bond has just become stronger and more meaningful. I already feel like he's been in my life since I can remember!
Where does his name come from?
Daniel: I believe Gizmo was named after the 1984 comedy horror "Gremlins." I did not name him, but when I first visited Gizmo, he responded very well to his name – his ears pointed straight up like Batman's mask. The resemblance to a "Mogwai" (Gremlin) was remarkable. Except for the fur - he's far less fury. I feel like the name captures his personality well. He may look like an angel but can be a devil at times!
You guys live in London. Would you say it's easy to have a dog there?
Daniel: Renting property in the UK is actually quite a challenge. 'Pawrents' struggle to rent something dog-friendly without good connections to trusting landlords. I used to live in Southampton – a savvy group of investors helped to develop a £60m complex, which was the first "built to rent" accommodation for small families and young professionals. It is called Bow Square Southampton.
Gizmo was the face behind this new type of property, as they were also the first pet-friendly residence of this type in the UK. He was also featured in the local newspaper - Daily Echo.
With absolute stunning interior designs and ample commodities, it was the perfect place for Gizmo and me. We had a lot of millennials as neighbors, and they were in the same situation as us - starting to build their lives. That's why Gizmo socialized with a variety of breeds from such a young age. Unfortunately, when we moved to the north of London, the amount of pet-friendly landlords and properties got sparse.
PAAW House (Pets Are Always Welcome) has an ongoing campaign for more pet-friendly premises – not just accommodation but also restaurants and communal spaces within the UK.
Due to the lack of pet-friendly facilities and accommodation, the number of dogs in London is very low compared to other cities in Europe. Also, as London is such a busy place and often overcrowded, having a dog while living in the center of the town is unfair unless you have enough room! Only 4 / 89 potential properties that are listed to rent in my local area are dog-friendly.
How do you meet new friends (for you and Gizmo)?
Daniel: Since 2019, at least once per week, there is an event going on. Some are run by friends that run casual meetups like the London Chihuahua meet up which is organized in a private Facebook group.
Others are run monthly with a bit more formality like the London Dog Brunches. These require an RSVP in advance and sometimes a deposit to secure a place at lovely restaurants in London that aren't initially dog-friendly, but they do grant us permission on special occasions.
Charity events such as PAAW House, Street Vet, and The Mayhew events are used to raise awareness for certain causes. I love to make an appearance at these types of events to help spread the word about the amazing things these charities do.
National events are held a few times per year, including DogFest, Dogstival & Chihuahua Fest. You need to buy a ticket to attend these events, but they are great for networking and seeing all your favorite brands in one place.
There are also special events held throughout the year, such as Christmas dinners, Valentine's Day dates, and pretty much any excuse for dogs and their Pawrents to get together!
This is what me and Gizmo usually do on the weekends. I get invited to a lot of these events because I can use my account to spread the word. Most of the time, organizers will DM or e-mail me the details and the invite. I also discover some events through Instagram's sponsored ads or even a google search.
The Londog blog always keeps an up-to-date list of events happening!
How did Gizmo become an Instagram celebrity? How did you grow his Instagram?
Daniel: People ask me this a lot, but I don't consider Gizmo an Instagram Celebrity; however, this is the strategy I use to grow his account:
TIP 1: Engage. Then engage some more.
When you are waiting for your coffee on the way to work, like, and comment on other posts. While you waiting for your ride to come, like, and comment, you get the idea. It is social media, after all - you need to be SOCIAL.
TIP 2: Work with brands to build trust and communicate your goals.
To start, you may even need to join some agencies to prove that your dog is model-worthy and knows how to pose and do tricks.
TIP 3: Post quality pictures
There is no correlation between cuteness and followers. However, you need to remember that established accounts in their thousands didn't grow their following overnight – the ones that did are most likely fake! So keep posing quality and cute pictures of your dog. Consistency is key!
Why did you decide to never appear on Gizmo's profile
Daniel: I have my own Instagram account. I have no need to appear in Gizmo's account or steal his limelight. I also like the anonymity of people not knowing who is the operator behind Gizmo's personality. I get tagged on story posts "get to know my human," etc. a few times per week because people are curious about what I look like.
I think it's fun to keep it a secret, but I'm sure if you did enough Google searching, you could find me, or maybe not! I also type in the "first-person" as if I am Gizmo. I know him so well, and I'm 100% sure that if he could type and talk, this is exactly how he would sound like.
What's your favorite thing about having Gizmo in your life?
Daniel: Everything. Gizmo has been with me during the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows. He is not only my "dog" or my "pet." Gizmo, to me, is even more than a furbaby or a son. We share a bond that is very rare to find between two humans. It is said that our four-legged canine counterparts are born with big hearts and already know how to love. Therefore, our bond is something words cannot describe, and calling it "unconditional love" doesn't do it justice.
I try to cherish every waking moment with Gizmo because, in life, we cannot take tomorrow for granted. We both live in the moment, keep things spontaneous, and make sure to never go to bed angry no matter what - even if he's just chewed up my £20 note.
I do wish people put more thought into buying and adopting dogs. In the UK, rescue centers are overcrowded, and they sometimes have to turn away people who can't take care of their dogs - leaving them without a proper home. In some cases, they even have to put dogs to sleep.
Please do your best and don't buy dogs just because you want a "pure breed" or a "cute instagrammable puppy." Adopt a loving dog that needs a second chance at this tough game called life.
Follow Gizmo's adventures @gizmo_uk
Gizmo's Chihuahua Essentials Pack
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