A Best Friend

I wanted to call it “man’s best friend” but then I forget over 50% of the planet, and probably the ones who take care of our dogs, are women.

Concentrating on a life well lived, great food, baths, sleeping on the bed, having caretakers sleep over, much love and a monkey ball go a long way for Zoe.

I lost my first dog 13 years ago and still have a Golden Retreiver dog ornament with angel wings sitting by my desk. I cut off the ribbon and have it sitting right here by a 2″ photo of my first cat I lost the year before. Also, there’s a tiny photo of me at age one standing up in my pink snowsuit to show the growth of my father’s trees and hope for the future.

Friends lost their dog recently and another dog I’ve cared for is very ill. When your dog wakes you up in the morning to go out you don’t want to go, but feel better for it when you do.

No matter if you’re the boss at work, you’ve a job to do and it includes a walk and picking up poop. No-one is ready to be a dog owner, child or adult, unless they know they will be responsible for this and lifetime care.

My rule goes for cats as well, but if you’ve a family pet who is in pain and requires euthanasia you must be by his/her side. Ask the vet to walk you through the process and decide how much alone time you need and make sure you can call a tech if there is a problem.

Hold your dear pet. When I lost my first dog an ER nurse told me to hold on to all of her things until I couldn’t bear it anymore. It took two months. I still have some of them, especially the teddy bear I got for $.50 at a park benefit. Thanks to a neighbor her ashes are in the heart with a felt heart atop and lace and beads and all the wonderful things my other “Mom” did for me.

Chani brought that teddy bear to the park her last day. She always brought a ball. Unbeknownst to me she said goodbye to everyone. That bear was hijacked by our Zoe during a move. I was asked by friends helping us move whether to allow her to have a stuffed animal. I said OK, they’ve all been through “surgery” multiple times.

Then I asked “what does it look like?” She said it’s a big brown teddy bear and I said NOOOOOOOO. It’s up on the top shelf of our linen closet with a collage “Mom” made for me as well. The neighbors also bought the city a tree in her memory in her favorite park and from GoogleEarth it seems to be doing very well.

It’ll be six years since my mother died soon. I believe that for a few years she did not live well due to cancer and doctor error, but that she died well with a wonderful hospice staff and family around and effective pain management throughout the way for years.

We have the responsibility and opportunity to take care of our pets better than we can our families who face years of surgeries, chemo and radiation. It is up to us to decide a delicate balance between whether it is better for them to go now, or to stay a while.

To all our best friends, canine and feline. All creatures, great and small, thanks James Heriott, May we be their best friends and treat them well. Dee


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