Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, March 13, 2021

The Dilemma

Dogs are like little people who don’t wear clothes or own big collections of CDs or radiator caps that you have to dispose of when they pass. You don’t have to close their bank accounts, stop their cell service or notify Social Security or the post office but I do need to get Levi taken out of my will. Although come to think about it he’s not mentioned specifically by name. It just says that a $1,000 for every year left on my dog’s estimated life span is to follow the canine to help with care. And that amount is to be taken out of my assets before the four humans in my will gets a cut of whatever I might leave behind when I die. Now that Levi is gone one of my heirs could try to pass a puppy off as one I recently adopted and scam my estate out of an extra twelve-fifteen grand which is as good as any other reason to justify me actually getting a puppy. Screwball logic. I could teach a class in that.

Ya, I know, Levi’s only been gone ten days. It’s too soon to be thinking of getting another dog and I ask myself if it’s fair to get one when my own life expectancy wouldn’t out last a puppy’s. But here’s the thing. I’ve never in my entire life not had a dog. When I told the son-I-wish-I-had and my youngest niece about my should-I-or-shouldn’t-I dilemma the son said, “You’re the best dog mom I’ve ever known. You need to get one.” And my niece said I should because “you won’t be you without a dog” and we laughed about how my mom used to yell at me, “Put that dog down! She has legs!” In my defense I held Sarah to keep her from getting stepped on when there were a lot of people in the room. If I happened to be swaying from side to side at the same time that didn't mean my dog was spoiled. She was well behaved, as sweet as pecan pie and as cuddly as a teddy bear.

I won't lie. A few days ago I looked at rescue dogs at the Pet Finder’s website and I know myself well enough to know that I don’t want to take on one of their senior dogs. The under 12-15 pounds dogs like I'd want all seem to come with housebreaking and dental issues and I wondered if at my age they would let me adopt a rescue under five. My oldest niece says they only care if you've got the income and a safe space to have a dog and she just helped my older brother find a rescue dog so I pretty much know where she stands on my too-old-or-not-to-have-another-dog dilemma. 

Then I did a brief search of puppies for sale in the area and got sticker shock. I expected $1,000 but $2,500 to $5,000? Wow! Either way, I feel the pressure to decide sooner rather than later because it would be so much easier to train a dog or puppy while I’m still living in a single family home. At Pet Finders many of the listings say, "Fenced yard required, No exceptions!"---especially the with the little dogs---which means I'd never get an adoption placement after I move. And did I mention I'd need a hypoallergenic dog? In other words my search criteria would be limited to a breed that doesn't shed, doesn't get bigger than 12-15 pounds and isn't so old that it need thousands of dollars' worth of dental care and a dog that doesn't have housebreaking issues well into adulthood. The negatives are stacking up quickly against getting a rescue.

Levi: 14 weeks old

I decided that I’ll make myself wait until my birthday in April before I look at anymore puppy and rescue sites. Who knows, by then maybe I’d quit missing having another living presence in the house, quit expecting to see Levi here and there. The longest I’ve ever been between dogs is four months and
we got Levi the day after our other dog died, but Cooper was older and had been sick for six months. I was never sorry that we got Levi so soon after. He brought a joyful sense of purpose to our days after months of watching Cooper fade away. And finding Levi was either fate or serendipity---I could never figure out what to call it. Several weeks before we got him I’d been early for an appointment, had some time to kill and there was a sign by the road that said, “Puppies for Sale.” I stopped to kill some time and they had a boy and a girl schnauzer left in the litter. I fell in love with the little girl.

Two weeks later, the day after Cooper died, I told my husband I was going to go back and see if the girl was still there and if she was, she was meant to be ours. She was gone but Levi came home with us instead. He was 14 weeks old by then and his price had been reduced from $800 to $400. He turned out to be the easiest puppy I've ever trained and Cooper had been just the opposite. Cooper had been taken away from his mom and weaned at five weeks---way too young and that caused some issues that

Cooper 4 months old
required the services of a "doggie shrink", a guy the vet recommended who trained guard dogs for the military. In two sessions he evaluated what my nine month old poodle had already learned at obedience school and how he interacted with a litter of German shepherds twice Cooper's size and taught me how to get tiny Cooper to understand that under no circumstances was he allowed to bite. To this day I swear it was the threat of a shock collar more than me developing a super-dick Alpha persona that did the trick. I keep thinking, do I really want to go through all that again, a year of intense dog training? Could I even find my Alpha voice after years of not needing it with Levi? Most of the time I answer yes/maybe. Decisions, decisions. I just may let fate or serendipity make the choice like it did with Levi.

Levi’s things were everywhere and I’m still running into stuff…like in the freezer where I kept a bag of string beans for his snacks. Coupons in my coupon envelope. And it took my breathe away when I opened the front door and saw the sticker on the storm door that reads, "In case of an emergency please rescue me" and then it showed a picture of a schnauzer. Doing my income taxes I ran across Levi's folder in my file cabinet and I still haven't put those papers through the shredder. It took me several years to shred my husband's papers and even then the project was laced with tears. It seems so final to cancel a life out like that. Blankets and beds and stainless steel dishes. Collars, harnesses, leashes. You name it, Levi didn’t lack for material possessions just like his human parents but at least that stuff can all be donated if I choose not to love on another dog. Shredded paper by default have to end up in the garbage because recycling doesn't want them clogging up their machines.

The photo at the top was taken of Blackie---my first dog---and me sitting outside of a playpen. I have others showing us together inside the playpen, Blackie in various sizes, me not so much. We were raised together only she learned how to escape the ‘cage’ long before I did. But I’ve been told she’d jump back in if I was crying and if my mom didn't come in a timely fashion Blackie would bark to help get her attention. 

Got time for one more dog story? This one is about Jason, a poodle who came after Sarah and before Cooper. He was a wise, old soul right from puppyhood and one time we took him to a nursing home to visit my husband's mom and there was another resident there who had a bunch of stuffed dogs lined up on her bed. She obviously liked dogs so we thought maybe she's like to pet Jason. When we asked from the doorway of her room she screamed at us to get our mangy dog away from hers! We learned later that the woman spent her days 'training' her dogs. We also learned that when we took Jason to visit the nursing home that if we sat in the lobby, hordes of residents would come to us wanting to love on our perfectly groomed 'mangy dog.' Jason could do circus tricks and parlor games so he had a fan club at the nursing home. Wise old soul that he was Jason seemed to know what each person in his audience needed be it a cuddle-hug, a handshake, a slide-of-hand trick, or to make deep eye contract as if he was conducting a seance and helping them communicate to their own, long lost pets. Oh my gosh, I have so many great memories that involve the dogs in my life but this post is already way too long. ©




Cooper picked some interesting places to pee and my husband loved photo-documented them---it's a guy thing, I suppose. Cooper more than earned his nickname, The Trouble Bubble but he was also a lot of fun and he kept his own blog both before and after he died. Angel Cooper helped little Levi learn the ropes during his puppyhood and he introduced Levi to his other siblings up at the Rainbow Bridge. 

50 comments:

  1. When a spouse (or parent or child) dies, the advice is nearly unanimous: don't make any major decisions for six months. Do what has to be done, but then let it rest. I have my own thoughts about your situation, but you're the one who has to decide. There is this: since you've never been without a dog throughout your life, perhaps you could see this situation as a chance to experience life without a dog. You might be surprised at what fills the void.

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    1. I think when a spouse dies you shouldn't make any decisions for TWO YEARS because that's how people end up getting re-married to someone less than ideal just because they're lonely. A dog, however, isn't like a spouse or a parent dying. Getting another puppy is getting another opportunity to help bring out its natural personality while enjoying their unconditional love while later-in-life spouses come with baggage. My dogs have always been a gateway to meeting other people and no matter how its spun, "a chance to experience life without a dog" is a major step down in the quality of my life. I already know how the void will be filled---reading, writing, painting, doing crafts. All things that I'd do with or without another dog, I'd just have more time to do them. After my husband died, I put myself out there to meet new people and do new things and it was more like work than fun. New opportunities are one thing when you're NOT trying to fill a void, but they can can amplify the loneliness when you are using them that way.

      This post and probably another are me trying to work through a traumatic life change and like I said up above, I've pretty much already ruled out adopting a rescue. The cost of a new puppy and all the first-year-old-life costs will be a huge factor in my next decision and one I might be wise to make after I move so I'll know for sure what my monthly costs are and how much my house sold for. And until I decide my dilemma one way or another I'm keeping the canine clause in my will which would help makes sure another dog---if I decide to get one---would have a better than average chance at adoption should I die first. Those poor senior dogs at Pet Finders with neglected dental work break my heart.

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    2. I laughed at your comment about two years re: a new spouse. Now that I think about it, I've seen plenty of examples of that 'rebound effect,' and as you say, it doesn't always work out well.

      Reading some of the other comments, I remembered that I'd made arrangements with Dixie's vet for her care in the event of my death. That's one very practical way of dealing with pets as we age. There's no question that if I were younger and financially able, I'd have another cat. Perhaps knowing that it's not possible for me has colored my comments to you -- a little envy might be playing in!

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    3. I can't have a cat because I'm allergic but I have wondered it they cost as much as dogs to care for. I wish I could get a tea cup poodle but I'm wise enough to know I'd probably step on it and injure both of use. Maybe I should research getting a pair of birds after I get settled in. At least they are living things. We had them when I was a kid.

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  2. This post is so relatable to me right now. We are six months past losing our buddy Tack (named after a sailing maneuver) and I just shredded most of his file. It was a real walk down memory lane...definitely sad and also eye-opening re: what we spent on his medical issues in the last half of his life. $7K one year. Yikes. We also have rotating pictures on our kitchen Alexa, and he comes up a lot. So we talk about him pretty much daily.

    Your dog stories are wonderful, and you do sound like someone who needs a dog. Like you, we have been hashing over the options. A purebred puppy is super expensive and hard to find right now with all the people who got dogs during the pandemic. One would think a purebred puppy would give you a dog with less problems, but our son and DIL have a pricey purebred Lab that has had some major surgery this year and many other pricey issues in his six years of life so far. But the idea of adopting a senior dog and going through this again in a few years is unthinkable to me right now. I never had to put a dog down before and it is still a really awful memory.

    A good friend just moved to Ann Arbor with her small dog to be nearer her family as she ages. She sold her home where the dog could just go into the yard and come back and has to walk her now, which has led to her meeting many people in her area. She quite likes it now that she's gotten used to getting dressed and going outdoors in the morning.

    I'm sure you'll know what to do when the opportunity presents itself. :-)

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    1. Have you been to the puppy store close to where I'm moving and you used to live? I check them out at the Better Business Bureau and there were maybe twenty complains and most involved the fact that people didn't understand they were getting an outside loan to buy the puppies and the interest rates were huge. Only one involved poor health issues. I talked the owner on the phone and she didn't want to tell me the price of the dog I called about until I told her I wouldn't drive down to see it without knowing. They are pricey but come with puppy classes, free overnight boarding once a month for I've forgotten how long, some free grooming and extended warranties on health issues if you buy your food from them. Their hip and joint warranties were long enough for anything to show up.

      I did a search of breeders in the area and it looked like most have liters coming this summer but a few wanted $500 deposits just to get on their lists. I don't so much want a pure-bred but I want a reliable size predictor. Levi was only supposed to be 15 pound full grown and he turned out to be 30.

      Your friend in Ann Arbor is experiencing exactly what I had expected my future life with Levi would look like. Helping me make new friends and getting me outside for walks that I need.

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    2. I haven't. DH is now following a lab breeder on the other side of the state. But he insists he's just looking. /eye roll

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    3. Labs are great dogs. There are Amish breeders in Michigan but are harder to find. My hairdresser and niece-in-law both adopted though them. The puppy store seemed to use a lot of out-of-state breeders and that would make me nervous but at least they are up front about them so you can research them.

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  3. Hi Jean, thank you so much for sharing some of your stories on the dogs that you've had throughout your life. I too have loved each one of my dogs, with their different personalities. The last two dogs I got were rescue dogs and they were/are wonderful dogs so don't let the training scare you. I personally think you need a dog in your life as they bring a reason/joy to get up in the morning and someone to love don't you think? If you do decide to get another dog, I wonder if one of your nieces or one of their kids would consider taking your future dog if you were ever unable to care for him/her. I too, get smaller dogs that are easy to lift/carry:)

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    1. Yes, pets do give you a reason to get up in the mornings and that sense of being needed is a big factor to me.

      When I got Levi we were not young and I felt the need to make sure he was the best behaved and likeable dog I could raise to if he ever did need to find a new home, he wouldn't get passed over. My nieces both know I'd come back to haunt them if they didn't find any dog I had another home. With Levi I had a kennel owner and well known trainer in the area lined up to help them place him, if needed.

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  4. I had said I would wait along time after the two 15 and 16 year old dogs left me. Magic left us the day after Thanksgiving and we had Trevor before the end of January. Like you I needed a dog. And Wilson joined us soon after..both dogs slept with my son ( he had been frustrated by the first two always sleeping with me and his dad) and became his although they usually lived with me. I continue to think about getting a dog daily still. If a second dog is in your future there is no specified wait time. I would just make sure you or someone had a plan for second dog if there needs to be one. Mine would go to my kids no question.

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    1. I like the names your dogs have/had! Read my reply above to Suemn. I had a plan for Levi and would do the same if I get another down the road.

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    2. Well the fourth dog was Elvis, lol. We only do rescue dogs and have a policy of not renaming.....

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    3. I think renaming a rescue only makes sense when the dog has been abused. I like Elvis too.

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  5. What wonderful memories of the dogs who have shared your life. We have solved the what to do with the dog if we are unable to care for her with two steps. There are instructions posted on our frig as she has serious medical issues. Our older son and DIL have agreed to take her temporarily or permanently and have updated instructions and are the one listed to call in the frig posting. It certainly sounds like a new dog would make your move happier and help meet new friends as well as being a much loved companion.

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    1. We think alike. I have notebook on my kitchen counter labeled 'emergency care plan and notes' that included a chapter on Levi. It used to include a chapter on my husband. I need to pull out Levi's section. There are so many traces of him around the house.

      You have responsible plans in place for your dog and I think most of us do. It's too bad so many senior dogs end up on adoption sites but I suspect too many people were careless about house breaking and that becomes an issue for re-homing them.

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  6. Might above mentioned kennel owner and well known trainer in the area help to find a suitable dog?
    Genie

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    1. That's a great idea! I don't know why I didn't think of it. Thanks!

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  7. People without pets don't realize that it is so, so much more than just getting rid of a couple of dishes and a bed. You've captured it all perfectly, the way they integrate completely into our lives, every facet and moment.

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    1. Thank you! Given your past profession I consider that a very special compliment.

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  8. When Mighty Dog died I swore I wouldn't get another for I was pretty sure any dog would outlive me and I would hate for an old dog to be adjusting to new people. I had a young friend who said she would take any dog I got if I died first but my friend is now sicker than I am so Callie is stuck when I pass. I wouldn't have gotten her but I volunteered to foster her from the Humane Society and then adopted her. Now I do worry what her future will be. Guess I'd better take my vitamin pills. Good luck on your choice.

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    1. That's too bad about your young friend. Foster failures are common, I think. :)

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  9. I don't know about your area, but around here the shelters are almost empty and the dogs are snapped up as soon as they come in. Similar with breeders - high demand for puppies. Everyone has decided they need a dog to keep them company during the pandemic. I wonder if the shelters will be full to overflowing in the next 6 months - 1 year post-immunization, when people go back to normal and decide they don't have time for a dog anymore.

    Deb

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    1. I suspect the same thing is happening around here. I dropped some stuff off at a volunteer's house today who works for a rescue and she said only way to get a dog you want now is to preregister and get your home visitation done first before putting in your search criteria because the pure breeds, puppies and small dogs are snapped up with in minutes of being listed, the demand is that great. I wonder how many of those dogs will end back in the system again when people have to go back to work again outside the home.

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  10. I had a period when I was declining quickly, and I frequently went to the ground after tripping over our dog. After two and a half years needing a cane, a brain surgery for something else surprisingly improved my balance. Still, I'd had a taste of what declining quickly could mean, had another brain surgery and also have rheumatoid arthritis. Our old guy golden was beginning to experience canine cognitive disorder. My husband and I had discussions about not getting another dog after he was gone. We lost him on Easter morning, 2019. By July, 2019 we had adopted another. My husband, in particular, just couldn't be dog-less. He stopped going out so much in the neighborhood because he didn't have to walk a dog and he missed having one. Our daughter, already living with three big dogs, told me she would take the dog if anything happened to us. Our new adoptee turned out to be quite the challenge, beyond our expertise with training goldens. We had to spent time with a trainer. Still, she was needed during this last year. And, in November, she started barking and barking one evening. (She's half Great Pyr and has a big bark.) My husband has allowed her to boss him around, so I went to see why he was allowing her to bark at him, fussing all the way. I found him slumped in a chair. When I shouted his name, he could open his eyelids, but only for an instant. He couldn't talk and couldn't move otherwise. When EMTs arrived, his skin was gray, his BP was 72/35, and he had begun breathing roughly. It all turned out to be an adverse reaction to a new medication he had just begun, but there's no guarantee that he would have been okay if he'd sat there another hour while I worked, not knowing he was in trouble.

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    1. Wow! That's an amazing story of your husband saving a dog and the dog returning the favor. They are so attune to their favorite humans this doesn't surprise me, though, that he saved your husband.

      I fear tripping over tiny dogs otherwise I'd get a tea cup poodle. I've always wanted one but my time for one of those is past, not to mention that cost a fortune.

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  11. I didn't find the Post too long... it was so Sweetly Nostalgic and I can relate right now. Miss Priss has been gone since November yet I have many of the dilemma you are facing only 11 Days out. I'm not sure that gets better if you've always had a Fur Baby? That void is immense, our Cats, all of them, came to us and Adopted us as Strays and Ferals from the Historic Neighborhood. There we had Acreage too but it was smack dab in Inner City, no other Acreages, so every abandoned pet ended up gravitating to it and we always had a steady rotation. Here on the Mini Farms everyone is a responsible Pet Owner so we've seen no Strays at all, which is good, since I won't have the usual Cat Con playing me for the Sucka I am and Adopting me when I'd rather make up my own Mind about replacement Pets. *LOL* I think the Sticker Shock of several Thousand would keep me Pet-less for sure. In fact, one Vendor at our Antique Mall breeds Shih Tzu Dogs and charges Five Grand each, she makes a fortune off her Dogs so I feel she breeds them too often since it's so lucrative. I'm not sure Breeders don't, I don't know what restrictions are put on them not to? And at Five Grand a Puppy... I would think greed might prevail in those Circles... so I'd opt for Rescue Pet if only for those concerns and the Price Tag being rather outrageous. I do Hope you have a Peace about the decision Jean, give it a bit of time so you have no regrets about whatever decision you make.

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    1. The price tag really does bother me on puppies. I've seen some listed here in town for $5,000. I would have spent that on Levi if he was fixable and I keep asking why wouldn't I do it for a puppy. Now days many of those high ticket puppies come with genetic testing kits and warranties which takes some of the fear of over breeding away.

      A rescue would be so hard for me to find because I'm allergic to dogs that shed so breed is important as is size since you need to be able to pick up a dog sometimes. The little dogs all seem to come with a requirement for a fenced yard and they do inspect so I wouldn't qualify after I move and barely do here it they didn't like the plastic picket fence. They do two other home visits over the next few months to make sure you're bonding and the dog looks well cared for and adoptions are not complete until you pass their test.

      Your posts are super LONG so I can understand why you didn't find this one long. LOL You are the most prolific blogger I know

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  12. I'm a rescue dog person all the way. With 4 million dogs euthanized each year, and about the same number bred by puppy mills (commercial breeders), shelters and rescues are by far the most humane consideration when looking for a dog. There's no feeling in the world like seeing trust and love from the eyes of a dog you've saved.

    It's invaluable to have a foster home tell you what the dog's personality is like, how affectionate they are, whether they're housebroken, etc. Puppies are fun, but there are no guarantees they won't have health or behavior problems down the line. Pet shops sell puppy mill dogs, so unless you want to support that kind of abhorrent business (where the puppies get out, but the parent dogs are often kept in cages until they quit producing, then disposed of in whatever manner the breeder sees fit) steer clear of internet dogs or pet shop puppies.

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  13. I think YES on puppy and invest in someone to train him. Before the move if breeders insist on fenced in yard.

    You can update your will to say your estate will cover ALL COSTS of adopting your baby ... that might ease a friend or relative to know teeth cleaning and grooming and whatever wouldn't be a financial burden to them.

    Your other heirs can get some inheritance but the rest for new baby. They or their heirs will get the rest later. Win win!

    You have ALWAYS had a dog so you know how much you need one.

    GOOD LUCK CHOOSING!

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  14. I would never get an internet dog but Jason came from a pet shop who used breeders within our state and he was very healthy. I know what you're saying is true about euthanizing dogs. We are lucky here to have a no-kill shelter that is bigger than the state and local humane society. The only place in the state that will take dogs with biting histories and let them live out their lives without placing them in families.

    I've seen those listings that included foster home reports and they really are helpful. Other listing don't give anymore than approximate age and size. The biggest share of rescue dogs up for adoption here seems to be ones with pit bull in their DNA and I wouldn't have one of those if you paid me to take it. I'm allergic to dogs that shed so that limits my choices too.

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  15. You've had lots of valuable life experiences with dogs--all of your life. I believe you'll know when the right one comes along. Often, our animals have found us. We live in the country and have rescued many strays, at different times. Life is interesting in that it often provides exactly what we need when we need it. Best wishes to you as you take one step at a time.

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    1. I think so too. Serendipity as always played a big role in my life.

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  16. Losing a loved one is a shock to the body and brain and it takes time to recover.

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    1. Wise words that I often forget thus a delayed reaction comes later for me.

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  17. Good luck on whatever you end up doing. That's a hard choice.

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    1. It would be an easy choice if I was staying in this house, and briefly I considered canceling my move to make adopting a dog easier without having to rush the decision.

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  18. If you decide to have another dog there is one thing I would recommend absolutely: find somebody to take him/her when you stop being able to look after them. Leave them the necessary money in your will on condition that they do that, and a solicitor to check that they do that. It’s my one thought that stops me from getting a dog now, although I have a couple who have already undertaken to take the dog on after I fade/die/become ill. I can’t bear the thought of a much loved pet being taken into a dog pound awaiting for a new owner.

    Think carefully, have you got another 10-15 years of active life left?

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    1. For Levi I had an agreement with a well known dog trainer in the area who'd help my heirs find him a new home, if he'd needed it. She knew Levi well since we took all our training classes from her and he'd do over night boarding at her kennel. There is a lawyer here that specializes in setting up dog trusts. I didn't have a special trust for Levi,,,just the clause in my will but I'd get a trust for a new puppy,should I get one.

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  19. I'm glad you are posting about Levi. Walking through this, remembering, the concerns -- it's all part of grieving and healing and "getting it out," which is healthy -- be it online or to a friend. I have thoughts about Lizzie and during the pandemic finalized what would happen should both Rick and I die. I agree with Shoreacres (and your comment) about waiting a bit. The loss of a pet is extremely significant (especially for those of us who live more or less alone; they're out "kids.") And there's nothing wrong with stashing Levi's things into a special box to save. At some point, you may let them go. Till then, keep them, in a closet, a cupboard, wherever you like.

    One thing -- if rescues don't seem like quite the right thing, contact your vet and ask them to put out the word about dogs whose owners have died and left no other plan for them. My friend just got a wonderful new cat -- older and broken in but not TOO old -- whose person could no longer have her. People move into no-pet places or die and those animals need a spot, too. Sometimes the vet gets the first word.

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    1. I blog about my life and right now my life is about losing a good 'friend' and companion. So thanks for recognizing that it IS part of my grieving process.

      Good tip about the vet.

      I have a huge box of stuff of Levi's that will get donated to a pets' pantry before I move, if I don't get another dog. It's a place that helps people who are rescuing dogs with the smaller things they need...leashes, toys, dishes, etc.

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  20. You definitely sound like a dog person so I can see your dilemma. You will figure it out.

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    1. Ya, I will figure it out. The cost of puppies still boggles my mind.

      Right now I'm searching getting a pair finches instead of a dog. We had them when I was a kid and they will keep the house from being so quiet and give me something to interact with. They don't live as long as dogs (a plus at my age) and they can sit outside on my deck with me plus be left alone for two days should I want to stay overnight at my nieces. The bird vet and the bird store in town are close by to where I'm moving to and I don't have to feel pressure of making a decision before I move. A pair could be my house warming gift to myself.

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  21. I had no idea a puppy could cost that much. I've never had a dog so I'm not sure I have any advice about how to proceed. I know you'll figure out what to do, but maybe not right this minute or month. Give yourself some time to ponder

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    1. I was shocked, too, but I shouldn't have been because I know there is a lot of young dogs kidnapped out of their yards and sold on Craig's List. Even when Levi was a puppy 13 years ago we were warned about the unground puppy napping and selling rings.

      Pondering for me on any important decision involves a lot of research before I can sort through what's best for me.

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  22. I know people say you HAVE to have a fence but I will tell you my 2 year old Cavalier puppy quickly learned his boundaries with the Petsafe electronic fence system. And I have five rescue dogs next door that are a real temptation but he really stays in the circle formed by the system which only cost ~$200. It is not wires in the ground, it is radio waves (?) in the air. The little zaps are enough to train without doing harm. His life is much happier having the freedom to run around safely. So is mine.

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    1. I have a picket fence that worked just fine for Levi and for my poodle before him. The problem I'd have if I tried to get a recuse after I move they wouldn't let me take one because I'll be living in an apartment-like situation---totally dog friendly with great walking trails for dogs but those recuse places say 'no exception' to the required fence rule to adoption. Can't fib because they do home inspections, too.

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    2. P.S. The system you've mentioned is new to me and sounds really cool.

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  23. Nearly all of the "dog people" I know end up getting another. But I see what both of my sons have endured with puppies and it reminds me of how much work it all is! I had dogs from age 15 to 60 something and when sweet Toby died of cancer we decided to take a break from the work and worry and expense and responsibility. We don't regret it, but if I was alone with no husband, I'd reconsider. But I'm also a cat person, so I'd likely go that route instead of a dog. You'll make a good choice and all of this is so hard I'm sure when you are also grieving Levi. Thinking of you...hugs.

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