May 22, 2015

Who Will Take Care of My Dog If I Die?

It's a sick, haunting thought but we all know someone who has passed suddenly, tragically and unexpectedly. 

And if you are single and you have a dog - at some point you have to ask yourself - - 

"Who will take care of my dog if I die?

Having volunteered at a dog shelter, I often came in touch with dogs who had been left behind after their owners had passed away.

There was no succession plan like people have for their kids. These dogs were instant orphans missing their home and their human mom/dad.

Dogs suffer in silence. The deep sadness and confusion is difficult to alleviate because we can't explain to them what has happened and they can't ask any questions.

I'm alive and I don't leave my dog with anyone. I have had dogs my entire life and they have accompanied me on all my vacations (camping, hiking, no planes - car rides - anything for my pooches).

My whole life has revolved around my dogs and my present dog has only been with me for 7 months. He was given up by a family not once but twice and I promised him I would never give up on him.

But can I really keep that promise? Not if I am in a sudden accident or given a terminal diagnosis.

I worry about him when I bring him to the groomer and they ask me nicely to leave (I have sat outside in my car) so I can't imagine any other scenario.

I do however understand and appreciate the importance of a succession plan. Something would have to be drawn up in the way of a will and I would have to choose the best person to take care of my dog for the rest of his life.

 As a shelter volunteer I did weekend fosters giving dogs a break from shelter life and a chance to unwind in a calm, quiet environment. 

The first dog I fostered was an 11yr old toy poodle named Chai. The morning after her father suddenly died of a massive stroke and fell to the floor in front of her, the man's daughter dropped Chai off at the shelter.

She said her kids were allergic to dogs and she had no one to give Chai to so she was hoping we could find her a home. Poor Chai had been with the same person since she was 4 months old - a life partner - day in - day out.

There were always various dogs to choose from in terms of fostering but my heart sank for Chai - given her age and the story. I held her in my arms as she shook and licked my fingers - her sad eyes glazed over and looking into mine for a twinkle of hope.

She arrived at my house and started looking all over for her father. She cried in a low tone and found a corner of a room where she rolled up into a ball in clear pain.

I brought her into my bed and held her until she stopped shaking. Then she fell asleep next to me and finally stopped crying.

The next day she seemed to be happier and more animated.

But by Sunday night I had to return her to the shelter.

 I kissed her and hugged her and then had to put her back in her cage. She looked at me as if to say "Please don't leave me here" - I felt sick to my stomach. I wrote her evaluation and then her bio for the website and I left.

The next day I was at work and I could not stop thinking about her. Then on a whim, on an instinct and with a pounding heart - I left at lunch and went to see her at the shelter.

I had no idea why I was going or what I could possibly do but I needed to hold her in my arms.

Thankfully a retired couple who had taken in many senior dogs - had adopted Chai a few hours before I arrived. I was so happy for her especially for her father who could not have possibly rested in peace until that very moment he knew she was in good hands.

Chai will never forget her father and probably still waits for him; looks for him around every corner. 

My dog is my boy - my son - my best friend - my co-pilot.

I am making plans for him because I love him more than I love myself and it is my responsibility to ensure he is cared for whether I am here or not.

And because  - if I suddenly vanish I don't want him to vanish too.

What have you planned for your dog?

May 18, 2015


Since you left
I have been crashing into furniture in the dark
I have been waiting to feel something for someone else

I've re -examined the whole thing
Taken it apart piece by piece
Argued to the left
Argued to the right

I'm afraid to go to the places we use to hang out
Afraid I may see you - Afraid I may not see you

I come home at the end of the day
hoping you will be here
hoping you've changed your mind
about me
about us
about everything

I pray for amnesia to dull the pain
I fear that without you there is no me

I lay awake at night
Waiting to hear your key in the door
Waiting for you to come back
and tell me that everything is alright
that  you never stopped loving me
and you will never leave again

I need to see you
I need to hear you speak my name

And I promise you this...

 I will wait here
A few more moments

And if you do not show up
As difficult as it may be

I will wait here forever

I'm sorry

Come find me

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