Too Licky: Two Sisters’ Journey Finding the ‘Just Right’ Dog

Nova, our beloved “perfect” rescue Labrador, passed away when our twin daughters, Gigi and Ryan, were two. Their only memories of her are through pictures.

We always intended to rescue again but somehow the timing never seemed quite right. And, our hearts were still mending.

Then came the opportunity to move across the country to Jacksonville. It seemed like the perfect time to suggest to Gigi and Ryan that we “get a dog” once we settle into our new home. The “bargain” was made.

And, the story for Gigi and Ryan’s book began.

Because Nova had been so “perfect,” the family began tossing out characteristics of what their next dog should have — or, not have. Since Gigi and Ryan were only 4 years old at the time, having a dog that wasn’t “nippy” ranked high. Then, other characteristics were added to the list; too small, too big, too serious, too… all of which they wrote down in a book.

Gigi and Ryan’s “manuscript” settled in among other books and was forgotten as our family navigated our new life in Jacksonville. Adding a four-legged child to our family during our transition didn’t seem like the right thing to do.

Then, after spending our second summer back in California dog sitting for friends, we felt the time was right to start the search for a dog for our family. We knew we wanted to rescue a dog and began seeking out information from shelters and friends. A friend introduced us to Cynthia. Cynthia is passionate about matching rescue dogs with families. Once we told Cynthia we were ready, she began sending us pictures of shelter dogs in need of a home and guiding our visits to shelters.

We made multiple visits to shelters and met lots of dogs. Then, Cynthia showed us a picture of Sugar. We learned that Sugar was being cared for by her foster mother, and she had just had three puppies. We scheduled a visit to meet Sugar and knew immediately she was “the one.”

Gigi and Ryan now had the ending to their book, and we now needed an illustrator. When we discovered Cynthia was also an artist, the match seemed too perfect. (Pun intended!)

Throughout our journey to find the “just right” rescue, Cynthia had educated us along the way about different breeds and how some face discrimination. The original title of Gigi and Ryan’s book was Too Nippy. (Remember, those 4-year-olds didn’t want a dog that was “nippy”!) Yet, Cynthia educated us that the term “too nippy” could be considered derogatory towards certain breeds. She suggested we retitle the book to Too Licky.

Not wanting to discriminate against any kind of dog, we loved the new name! (The title is also in honor of one of Cynthia’s beloved rescues, Trucker, who LOVED to lick.)

We are grateful for Cynthia’s experience and guidance, helping to raise our own awareness of the discrimination certain breeds face. Because of what we learned on this journey, Gigi and Ryan will be donating half the proceeds from their published book to rescue and bully breed advocacy organizations.

In order to fund the book’s completion and initial distribution, Gigi and Ryan have launched a Kickstarter campaign. For just $24, backers can pre-order a hardcover of the book. For an additional pledge, backers can receive the original artwork from the book or have their name featured in the book as a PAWraiser! During the Kickstarter campaign, we are also receiving submissions of rescue dogs to be featured in the book. Cynthia will be illustrating the dogs’ features in an exaggerated, playful way.

We love what Gigi and Ryan’s project has become — a labor of love for the entire rescue dog community! We hope Too Licky will continue to raise awareness for the amazing work of rescue and bully breed advocacy organizations.

About the Author

After moving across country with twin four-year-old daughters, Jody Giles began to realize there were many pieces missing in their family’s financial plan. The long-distance move, along with inspiration from her mother-in-law and a dear friend, Jody was motivated to determine what the missing pieces are and ultimately wrote the Missing Pieces Plan. After navigating the self-publishing world with her own book, Jody was inspired to help her daughters Gigi and Ryan make their book come to life. Becoming a part of the rescue dog community through their work on Too Licky has been more rewarding than the three of them could have imagined.

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