A DOG FOR THE FAMILY
Have you made plans for your animals to be cared for upon your death? Or more urgent, who can you call on if you are incapacitated for days or weeks?
Old Dog Folk Communities
Better known as ODF retirement places
We are all facing age. Many of us are also facing health problems. We need to plan what is going to happen to us and to our dogs.
The inevitable end isn’t going to a retirement home in Florida, basking on the beach with our beloved dogs. More likely it is means going into an assisted living facility where we are the only ones who understand the terrible loss that having to live without our dogs can be.
To many older fanciers, our dogs are our lives, we don’t want to give them up. We have been dog people all of our lives and can’t imagine living any other way, BUT what do we do if we need short or long term help?
Haven’t most of us seen an older fancier who has fallen on hard times? Most have too many dogs and failing health. Many have limited finances but get along by skimping either on themselves or on the dogs. These are the ones who end up living in a room in the kennel, or dying in a filthy hovel, alone, with the dogs seized by the local authorities.
I have witnessed decent people, with excellent quality dogs, going to jail for bad checks, written to show and promote a good dog. Many spend their last days lying in an unmade bed, often in the kennel, drinking, and reliving the glory days through the scores of show photos lining the walls.
We have all read newspaper accounts of people found dead in their homes with no one there but their dogs. The dogs they “loved” so much they had 50 of them living in cages because they were too old and ill to take them out and clean the crates and runs.
We are a healthy lot in the main, but illness or a fall can get the best of us down. It doesn’t have to be the end of our active lives. Short term assistance by people who do understand our involvement with dogs can get us over the hump and allow us to live independently for many more years.
I think we would benefit from a place, one to 25 acres, where many fanciers can each have a home, on an acre or two, with a small kennel. We can live close to others who also have dogs and have access to other people who understand. We can all check on each other’s welfare without having to live in each other’s pockets. In our area we have an e-mail network. We are blessed with a member who finds either funny or inspirational messages and e-mails all of us every AM. We are all supposed to hit reply to all so everyone knows that we are OK. If someone doesn’t answer the message one of the members of the group calls to check and make sure we haven’t fallen or had a heart attack.
What I envision is a place where there are neighbors who can alert a trained kennel person to take care of the dogs while we are incapacitated.
A place where there is a person who can take care of the house and yard, in short a roving housekeeper. This is not for the care of those who should be in a hospital or who need daily care but for the security and short term care to help us live at home in safety and security longer.
A home site in a Dog Community could be anything over 1 acre. The only restrictions should be no mobile homes except maybe log ones and all dogs should be kept fenced unless on a leash. If it works we could also have a community building where we could hold classes or get-togethers. Ultimately I would love to see many such communities scattered over the nation.
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