July 22nd, 2009
03:03 PM ET

Summer pet owner stress....and goodbye to a famous dog

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/22/art.chihuahua.jpg caption="Gidget, the Chihuahua best known for her Taco Bell ad campaign, died from a stroke on Tuesday night at age 15."]

David Puente
AC360° Producer

I got sad news today from Peoplepets.com about a famous Chihuahua.

I was already feeling sensitive. I'm sure many of you pet owners will understand. I'm getting ready to go on vacation for a couple of weeks and that pre-separation anxiety is on high. I'll be in Europe and the Middle East and bringing Luc, my 10 year-old Cockapoo, isn't really an option. I'm lucky that I have friends – the Fernandez Family – who have known and loved him since he was a puppy, and they agree to watch him every time I travel.

Unfortunately during the summer holidays, pounds and shelters usually see a spike in the number of pets abandoned. It seems that some people go on vacation and actually throw their pets out. Needless to say there are other solutions. Friends have helped me and Luc but what options do you use when you're on the road? Who's the best pet watcher? Friends? Home-pet sitters? Pet friendly hotels?

All this came to mind after hearing that Gidget, or Gidgey – apparently there were different Hollywood spellings of her name – the Chihuahua best known for her Taco Bell ad campaign ("Yo Quiero Taco Bell"), died from a stroke on Tuesday night at age 15.

The pup somehow managed to make fast food tacos cute. Gidget/Gidgey and her trainer, Sue Chipperton, took part in a Hollywood animals photo shoot in February for People.

"When she's on a set, she comes alive," Chipperton said at the time about Gidget/y. But when the mostly retired canine actor wasn't in front of a camera, she loved getting some rays.

She was happy to sleep "for 23 hours and 45 minutes a day. She'll lay outside when it's 105 degrees! I like to joke that it's like looking after a plant," said Chipperton.

Follow David Puente on Twitter @puenteac360.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Alex (Oahu, Hawaii)

    🙁 Sad news indeed. May she R.I.P. and comfort to her owner.

    July 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  2. Isabel • Brazil •

    These little things called pets come into our lives without asking permission and dominate our feelings completely.

    When my brother travels the puppy it is here at home. The most cruel is having to return it after ... care! The separation is difficult for the friends that help too. 🙂

    July 22, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  3. missydean louisville, ky

    Why don't you mention that Gidget lost her JOB because of claims that the commercials were racist? She probably slept 23 hours and 45 minutes of every day because she was DEPRESSED!

    July 22, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  4. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    I'm sorry to hear about Gidget. That's really sad. Um, about vacationing pet owners. I myself am looking after my service recipient's cat while he is away at summer camp. It might not be a bad idea to find a friend who will agree to watch your pet for you while you are away. I, myself do not mind doing this for my friends and of course the gentleman I work for. It's just a suggestion and it might be easier on your pet and your wallet. Being able to return the favor is a big plus.

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    July 22, 2009 at 6:46 pm |