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Jeri (Gigi) McGinnis opened her specialty gift shop for animal lovers, with the help of her husband, Billy, in 1989. They had a Silky Terrier, "Skittzy", whom they adored, and Gigi found it was difficult to find gift items in their breed and saw a need for a shop that caters to people who have many different breeds of dogs. Although she'd never worked retail before, she decided to take the plunge and .....voila: Gigi's - The Animal Lover’s Gift Shop opened!  The shop changed locations twice in the first two years, each time moving to a little larger shop.  Then they relocated to historic Manitou Springs, a charming little town nestled near the foot of Pikes Peak, and they have happily remained there ever since.

Through the years Gigi & Billy have adopted many dogs and cats who needed homes and currently have 3 adorable cats (Mattie-the-Catty, Aspen, and Rusty") and a precious Boston Terrier named Lulu.  Here are their stories....

Mattie-the-Catty, a 21 year old Black persian cat (badly matted), arrived on our doorstop when he was about a year old. When our efforts to find his owners failed, he joined our family, which included a houseful of large dogs at the time, but he won their hearts and they all got along beautifully . He loves people and is very social and extremely affectionate.

Aspen is a tabby-mix, who showed up in the basement of "The Aspen Leaf" in Manitou Springs in 1997. The shop owners would sometimes see his movement & thought he was a rat. One day they caught a better glimpse of him and realized he was a cat! They called for help and we used our humane cat trap (which we loan out to local people who trap lost or feral cats) & caught him. He was terrified. Can't imagine how he got in their basement and can't imagine what he was eating/drinking! Aspen is the most wonderful, affectionate & loving kitty ever! And he talks!

Rusty is an orange tabby cat, who had the unfortunate fate to belong to a woman who kept him alone in a room in an empty house she owned. She fed & watered him once a week, and he lived in solitude in this room without electricity or heat, etc.  He was 7 years old when we got him in 2007.  We learned about him from a customer who knew his owner, and we asked if she would let us adopt him. We did, and after a month of hiding, he gradually learned to trust us and now he cuddles up in bed with us.

Lulu is our 9 yr old Boston Terrier who was rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue in 2008. She spent 7 years in a cage having puppies in a puppy mill. She was a physical and emotional mess, only cowering, terrified of everything. She had typical symptoms of puppy mill dogs, terrible coarse coat, horrendous dental problems, etc. She is still afraid of men, so Billy doesn't get her sweet little kisses yet, which she gives to me with wild abandon now. She loves her walks and is coming along well.

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