Photo Courtesy Amy Gilmartin Sara Ince & Gizmo -- reunited and it feels so good....
Folks in the animal rescue community were outraged: who, aside from Cruella De Vil herself, could be so heartless? How could a woman just decide to keep a dog she knows belongs to someone else, just because the dog happened to wander off, as dogs often do? See, the dog had escaped while Dennis Ince was out of town, and his new wife had let him out, and when she went to bring him back in, he had vanished.
Well, as it turns out, the only wicked witch in this story -- according to Sara Ince and her sister Amy Gilmartin -- is their stepmother of six months, who they say made up the whole story about Gizmo running off, because she never liked the dog in the first place.
Let's back up, shall we? Gilmartin and her sister say their father was devastated to learn that his beloved Gizmo -- who had previously lived with Sara Ince -- had ran off. The pain was compounded when his sister died the next day after a battle with cancer.
For two weeks, the family pasted flyers and posted ads online. Then, suddenly, a note turned up: "Hello, I just returned from out of town to see your sign in your front yard," it read. "I found your dog at the Chevron two weeks ago. The dog didn't have any tags, just a blue collar and bandana -- so I thought it had been abandoned."
The note went on to explain that "Sherry" gave the dog to her niece, and that "He is doing wonderful!"
After the Inces posted the note online over the weekend, Gilmartin received an unusual call. A woman named Debbie called to explain, according to Gilmartin, that "Apparently, when my dad was out of town, my stepmom...put Gizmo on Craigslist and gave him away for free....This lady in Lake Livingston named Debbie was looking for a male Yorkie for her daughter because they had recently lost a Yorkie. So she e-mailed my stepmom and said, 'Is the dog still available?' And [the stepmom] said 'Yes, come meet me at the Target in Spring.' And so that lady drove two hours, met my stepmom, and got the dog. And then my stepmom told this lady that Gizmo had been living with an elderly woman upstairs in a cage and was covered in pee and poop, never went to the vet, never got fed."
Gilmartin continues: "A week after Gizmo went missing, my stepmom contacted Debbie and said, 'Will you give me an update and some pictures?' So she was planning to write that fake letter, thinking that we would stop looking and have closure, I guess. So Debbie told us that on Saturday, my stepmom called her and says, 'I'm in Lake Livingston, and I need to meet you'....She went over to Debbie's house and talked to her for an hour, and said 'I just want to let you know, they're looking for him, so whatever you do, take down all the pictures of Gizmo online...don't take him to the vet, because he's microchipped."
That's when Debbie knew, to borrow from Shakespeare, shit was fucked up. When she called Sara Ince and described the woman (and provided her name) who gave her Gizmo, Sara and her sister were shocked -- their own stepmom! [Cue "DUN-DUN-DUNNNN" music].
"This whole time, my stepmom has been comforting my dad, and he's been crying," Gilmartin tells Hair Balls "...he's been mourning for his dog and his sister, and this whole time, his wife -- who claims to be this Christian woman -- is behind it all. And she never once asked for the dog back...instead of saying, 'I made a mistake, I need the dog back,' she just said, 'Hide him more.'"
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Well, Debbie of course did the right thing and returned Gizmo. And then, apparently because Sara Ince doesn't have icewater in her veins like her stepmom allegedly does, she adopted a Yorkie pup to give to the girl who'd been given Gizmo. (The family refused to take any reward money).
"I felt horrible, because the little girl was, like, really attached to him," she says.
We left a message for the stepmom, but haven't heard back. We'll update if we do. We're just glad to hear Gizmo is back where he belongs.