Last Words: "Yo Quiero Universal Health Care"
The end came suddenly and sadly for Gidget the Taco Bell Chihauha late Tuesday, when the 15 year old former spokesdog collapsed and died of a stroke at her home in Santa Clarita.
Nearly deaf, and, according to those close to her, unable to afford the skyrocketing costs of healthcare and medications since her termination by Taco Bell in 2000, Gidget was but a shell of her former, formidable self.
"She was devastated when Taco Bell cut her loose," said her Manager, Cesar Chavez.
"Most people believe she was let go because of the misconception that she was promoting Hispanic stereotypes," said Chavez, tears the size of grapes welling in his eyes. "Not so. Actually, they ran her out of a lucrative career at Taco Bell for trying to unionize franchise employees west of the Rio Grande. Just a decent dog fighting for a living wage. If only they had the dues check-off."
After her untimely termination from Taco Bell, Gidget took on small, underpaid roles, appearing in the movie, "Legally Blonde 2," and in TV spots for GEICO.
"I couldn't stand working with those &^%$#@! cavemen," Gidget once told the Associated Press. "They thought they were 'all that,' and, OMG, the hair was all over the couch, and everywhere. Where the heck was PETA when I needed them?"
Mostly, Gidget led a reclusive life in exile, often hiding from "los federales," as she called INS agents, who hounded her for decades.
"She was nothing but an illegal alien, taking away jobs from hard-working Americans," said Congressman Peter King of New York. "Just what was she doing in seclusion all these years? Reading the Koran, perhaps? Making burritos into pipe bombs? We should have shipped her back to Guadalajara years ago!"
As word of Gidget's demise spread across the nation and around the world, praise poured in from all ports of call and kennels of repute.
On Capitol Hill, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, denying she been the voice of the Taco Bell dog, lauded the "wise Chihuahua."
"I suppose this leaves me as the top dog in the Hispanic community," quipped the woman who will become the first Latina on the Supreme Court.
"It was never the size of the dog in the fight," said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "but the size of the dog on the dinner table, as the American imperialist pigs feast on the remains. A hoax, this Gidget. There never was a Taco Bell."
"First Billy Mays, now Gidget," said Vince, the ShamWOW guy, soaking up his tears with one of those TV rags. "Gee, this really works. How do you like that?"
"She was one of us, a lantzman," declared NYS Senator, Pedro Espada. She could have been the next Majority Leader, for sure."
At the White House, President Obama interrupted a question from Helen Thomas to remember Gidget.
"It was only last week that our Portugese Water Dog received a letter from Gidget, detailing her plight. She was losing her hearing, her eyesight, her desire for enchiladas and Tostitos with salsa. Her health was in decline. She had to make difficult choices, whether to put dog food in her bowl or buy medicine; go for medical treatments she could not afford, or head over to the Staples Center for the AKC Best in Show.
"Ya know, if we had universal health care, Gidget might still be with us today."
Yes, it has been one tough summer. Ed McMahon. Farrah Fawcet. Michael Jackson. Billy Mays. Walter Cronkite. That 113 year old guy. And now, Gidget.
After memorial services, to be held next week at the Santa Monica dog run, Gidget's body will be flown to Long Island, for final burial on the grounds of the Norman Levy Preserve.
"We absolutely want to give Gidget a first class send off," said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray. Besides, she'll make great fertilizer for those Nigerian goats to graze on."
And that's the way it is, Thursday, July 23, 2009.