Gael: our Gentle Giant's Whirlwind Entry into Our Hearts

Gael: our Gentle Giant's Whirlwind Entry into Our Hearts

Ah, July 2009 – winter in Brazil, where the drizzles in Sao Paulo painted a gray and gloomy backdrop, in stark contrast to the stable warmth and sunshine always present on the beaches of the northeast. Our plan? An epic escapade to Pipa beach, a place where winter was merely a rumor. While Sao Paulo composed its gloomy symphony of drizzles, chilly winds, and the occasional burst of sun, we were eager to trade our umbrellas for two weeks of consistent sunshine, sandy beaches, and playful encounters with dolphins. Little did we know, this trip was about to serve us a surprise more unexpected than a penguin in the Sahara.

Enter my friend Cris, a ballerina, ballet teacher, architect, and a beautiful soul with more layers than a Russian nesting doll. She had a history with Pipa longer than a Brazilian telenovela. She had gone for a vacation, and well, her vacation decided to linger a bit longer – a year, maybe more, okay, many more. She had fallen head over heels for a boutique hotel, its owner, and the scenic wonders around. Who could blame her? Pipa had that effect. So when I arrived, I too felt the gravitational pull, and not just because I had a Brazilian beach magnet.

The kids and I were smitten. Cris lived in this architecturally divine abode, where she masterfully crafted and erected a porch dangling over the water, right at the meeting point of the ocean and the river – an absolutely breathtaking spectacle. High tide meant you could laze on a hammock, dipping your feet into the water, with a view so enchanting it could render a poet speechless. The amalgamation of colors as we witnessed the river and ocean water converging, the sun bidding its adieu, birds serenading, and the sky painting itself in hues of wonder – it was nothing short of magical. We'd embark on boat journeys to this nearby little island, partake in picnics that felt straight out of paradise, and immerse ourselves in the genuine charm of a fishermen's haven. It was an idyllic sanctuary, untouched by the masses and devoid of tourists – except for us and our soon-to-be Pipa poster child.

Now, cue the drumroll, the furball sensation: Gael. Picture this – Cris's friend from Austria temporarily staying in her boutique hotel, a cute puppy cradled in her arms. The kids and I exchanged glances, and in that cosmic canine moment, we were hopelessly in love. Gael was 30 days old, a pint-sized Lab with eyes that could melt glaciers and paws destined for greatness.

We had ten days left in paradise to revel in the sun, sea, and Gael's cuteness. The kids were like paparazzi, following him around like he was the furry Brad Pitt of the Northeast. But then, three days before departure, Dede, Gael's temporary mom, drops the bomb – she can't keep him. Cue the waterworks. Our mission: find a home for Gael in Pipa. Spoiler alert – it's harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Every door we knocked on had an excuse, usually involving Gael's gargantuan potential size. We even tried a beachside farm with labs galore, only for the owner to gasp, "Biggest Lab I've ever seen!" Gael was officially the Godzilla of Labs, and no one wanted a behemoth pup.


Desperation set in, tears streamed down the kids' faces, and we kicked off the great Pipa Puppy Search. Then, out of the blue, Dede throws an insane curveball – we could take Gael home. Cue my daughter Gabi on her knees, praying like she's auditioning for sainthood. We scramble, find a vet on a Sunday (a miracle in itself), and embark on a paperwork odyssey for Gael's epic plane journey. The kids, wide-eyed, are now convinced that moms are mystical beings capable of bending reality to their whims.

Sunday morning, we're on a wild dash to the vet's house, adrenaline pumping, Gael in tow. Shots done, paperwork ready – but Gael's fate hangs in the balance. He's on the flight's waitlist, and Dede carries the melancholic burden of taking him back if the stars don't align.

Cut to the airport chaos. We're late, Gael is leaving a poop trail as we run to the check-in desk, and the kind people from the small town offering to help clean up. We rush to the counter, last-minute check-in, and the universe aligns – Gael gets the golden ticket, or in this case, the boarding pass. We're flying high with relief, Gael in tow.

Cut to the flight, Gael's energy matching a caffeinated kangaroo. The kids take turns holding him until, surprise, he escapes. Gael's now the plane's furry entertainment, running amok, and the entire cabin's in stitches. The flight attendant saves the day, scooping up Gael, declaring him the cutest puppy ever. We touch down, Gael in tow, and the kids’s dad bewildered face welcomes the newest member of our family.

And there you have it – the whirlwind entry of Gael into our lives. Little did we know, this goofy black Lab would lead us on an adventure spanning 15 years. Stay tuned for tales of his escapades in the U.S., road trips, courtroom drama (thanks, Gael), love stories, and the slobber-filled chaos that became our everyday life. Trust me; the adventure has just begun, and Gael is the canine protagonist in our story that you never knew you needed. So buckle up for more stories of laughter, love, and a Lab with a heart as big as his floppy ears. The saga of Gael continues…


🌈🐾On December 21, 2023, we said goodbye to our cherished lab, Gael. To honor his memory and celebrate the unconditional love that pets bring into our lives, we've created this special section on our website dedicated to heartwarming pet stories.

As a passionate animal lover, I've had the privilege of sharing my life with many furry friends, and I believe that pet stories are love stories that have the power to warm our hearts and bring smiles even on the toughest days.

This space is not just for my stories; I invite you to share your beloved pet tales, creating a community that celebrates the joy, hope, and happiness that animals bring into our lives. Send your stories, photos, and videos to:, and we will be happy to feature them. Together, let's revel in the magic of these stories and find comfort and inspiration in the beautiful bond we share with our furry companions. 🐶💖



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  • What a magical gift to experience and 15 years worth of memories. A beautiful, inspirational story to ignite the spark for those on the fence for sharing their lives with a furry friend. Thank you for this story!

    Patty on
  • Exciting, passionate and unforgettable true love story. I could laugh, shed a tear and now Thank you again for you sharing these beautifull moments. K&H

    Cristina on
  • I love this! 🐶 ❤️

    Thati on

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