Is hard when you are a dog nut like me. Henry is my first dog ever. And if you would have told me 5 years ago that I was going to get and be a kook about a dog I would have thought you were nuts. One time years ago a friend half jokingly said she was going to get me a puppy for my birthday and I told her if she did I’d get her a snake for hers. But 4 1/2 years ago I fell in love with a labradoodle puppy I met and through that puppy found Henry.
And when Henry, my sweet doodlely doo came into my life everything changed. I suddenly got it! the whole dog craze. I now understood years old sayings like “dog is man’s best friend”, “barking up a tree” and “it’s a dog’s life”. Yoga poses downward and upward dog took on a new meaning. My life became harder and better at the same time. And when I knew I would have to board him during vacations I searched all resources I could get my hands on, interviewed 10s of boarding ranches and individual sitters. I toured, interrogated, relentlessly read reviews and talked to friends and dog owners I would meet in the park. So when I found Cardiff’s Lodge I knew it was right. I felt it in my bones. The owner Susan, started the ranch because she couldn’t find the quality of dog care she required for her own dog, Cardiff. She lived in a house on several acres of land with horses and large wooded areas that she and her staff would hike with the dogs she boarded.
I loved Susan. She took care of Henry from the time he was a pup. She nurtured him and educated me on how to train, feed and care for my pup. Even though the ranch was a good 45 minute drive, I gladly made the trip. I would get a huge Starbucks, load up Henry and his stuff and we would drive to this beautiful part of Washington with it’s huge Hemlocks and misty mountain backdrops blasting the music all the way. It became a ritual attached to many wonderful vacations I would take. Vacations that I could go feeling good about leaving Henry, knowing he was hiking in the woods, chasing squirrels and being meticulously cared for by Susan. This went on for 4 years.
And then the email came last October. From Susan’s husband, a man she had married only a few years early. An email to inform us of Susan’s passing. I was in shock. She died after a 3 year battle with Ovarian Cancer. She was 51 years old. I never knew she was sick and had just seen her the previous spring. She was so courageous, she never let us know something was wrong. I had the hardest time coping with her death. I’m teary as I write this post. How did this happen? And how do I continue on?
Thankfully over the holidays a good friend took Henry while we travelled. But I knew I would have to find someone else to watch him. Henry is different than he was as a pup. He doesn’t like to be in a space crowded with dogs. He’s like me, socially inept. Susan used to say “he likes to hang with me in the office, he doesn’t like to mix with the riff raff”. How would I find someone who understood him like Susan did?
About a month ago I saw this ad for Rover.com. A new website that matches dog sitters with dog owners. As I combed the bios of potential dog sitters I noticed many that lived close to me on the Island. I carefully looked at the pictures in the bios, do they look nice? I read all of the reviews. And after interviewing several I found a couple of families that I felt could work. So when we decided to drive to Portland for the weekend I tried one out. Lulu, was her name. She and her family live in a cozy house with a great fenced in back yard. Its hard to put in words it’s more of a feeling you get when you know it’s right.
Lulu has a puppy of her own and only takes a couple more to board at a time. While we were gone she sent pictures of him, she had taken him on a long walk and given him a good bath. He slept with Lulu’s sister that night and was pretty darn happy when I picked him up. So I booked Spring Break knowing I can rest easy when we leave him. He’ll be safe, fed, exercised and happy. That’s the best you can hope for.
An odd job triggered by a very sad event.