By: Joel Allen
Hello folks! In the early 80s my “PeePaw” (Mom’s dad) passed and left the family dogs he had taken in. We inherited Sissy, a huge German shepherd mix, and Checkers, a collie mix. They grieved PeePaw’s passing, but we loved them so much that they were happy; and they lived long lives with us. They had their quirks too. Sissy liked to take her huge body and shove her backside against a bed to scratch her back by rubbing against the bed; and boy, could she move that bed with every shove. She would sound a “ruff” every time she pushed against the bed too, LOL. Checkers did not like kitties, and we found this out one day when we showed her a kitten. One second the kitten was meowing in our hand and then it was gone into her mouth with the tail wiggling out of her mouth and my mom smacking the back of her head telling her, “No! Spit that kitty out!” Don’t worry the kitty was fine but we learned… “Bad dog!”
Imagine that your life has ended and your spirit has passed on to be with the Lord. Was everything taken care of? I bet it wasn’t because we never think about all our loved ones (those fur babies). Oh, some of us do think that far ahead but not everyone. Do your final plans include the care of your animals? I tell my parents all the time they better pray that they pass before me because if not, my dad’s short self will be stuck with a huge Dane. Yes, I envision my dad being walked around by the biggest Dane I could send him…LOL, and the whole time this is happening, he is grumbling my name under his breath. Don’t misunderstand, I love my parents but I would be giggling wherever I might be if the Lord let me see that.
In all seriousness, I will share my final plans as an example for everyone to consider for their plans. Right now, I have four dogs. Three are great Danes and one is a border collie/heeler mix. Two are service dogs that carry medicines and are trained for the public life. My wish for them is that they be placed where they could be of service to someone they chose, provided they were still able; and if they were retired, that the family would keep them. Houston, my service dog who is a Dane, unless my dad wanted him, would be sent to my friends Sally and Terry where he was born because he loves them as much as me. Zoey, my service dog who is mixed, would be sent to my mom because Zoey loves her and can always beg off treats from her. Woodrow, I would send to my friend Rob because “Woody” loves him very much. Ollie Girl, my elderly Dane, would be offered the choice of being with my parents, Sally and Terry, or another member of my family should she choose them. My dogs have already chosen who they love, and it works out better that way for everybody. Did I give my parents a choice? Nope, my dad knows that if my wishes are not honored, somebody is going to find their life has gotten a bit difficult because if God allows it…LOL…their cell phones are going kaput, their bank cards are not going to work, and that nice TV is going to stop functioning all together! Folks, I am not being mean…I am just being real.
So, I have covered my wishes, now what are yours? Let me help everyone by making some suggestions. First, talk with your family and speak about the “what ifs.” Make sure everyone who is told your wishes meets your animals and see if they are a fit. My dogs have chosen the people I mentioned in my plans; so let yours do the same. By doing this, there will be less behavior issues, less shoes being chewed up and such…and everybody will get along better.
Second, tell your loved ones what is expected for the care of your animals. We all have a different way of doing things, but we all know the quirks of our dogs too. Explain their likes and dislikes, especially if one of your dogs has a protective sense about them. When they grieve, and they will grieve our passing, they tend to be like children and sometimes act out. So, be sure to cover the possibilities that could happen.
Lastly, make your wishes clear and the responsibility of care for each dog. Go over any health issues they might have. As I have stated before, the homes and people they choose are the best transitions for them. It has to be considered and remembered that when they are moved to their new homes, it will be a shock to them, and they may not be themselves for a time. Just give them space and just love them because everything they have known has been changed or taken away. During these times, nice walks will help divert their minds and bond them to their new humans.
One more parting shot, don’t be that person who just takes them to the pound because it might be hard to take care of them. This happens a lot. I would consider this a dishonor to my memory and a lack of love toward me. Then your nice stuff would definitely stop working! I would become your “Murphy”!
By: Joel Allen