Where did she go?

I am getting to the age where more of my friends are dying…and it is not a huge shock.  Some have had chronic illnesses for years, some are just old….and some have had pets.

If you live with someone, or have kids, this won’t be a huge issue to you.  However, if you are a groomer, or live in a community with a lot of either senior citizens or disabled people  who get subsidized housing or are otherwise renters—and  you yourself are an animal lover, I want you to think about what I am saying.

My neighbor, Phyllis, was one of many seniors who live in her building. The building was  developed with tax credits over 25 years ago, and it was specifically so seniors  would have an affordable place to live.
The tax credits expired and the building, which had been in receivership (due to the developer, a nonprofit, going bankrupt), got sold to a business. The business owns many buildings.  Believe me, the profit per unit is not much, but because  there are at least 30 units in the building, the building  can break even and be somewhat profitable, and combined with hundreds of buildings, they do ok. Still, I imagine this is a challenge for the business owner.

I am not going to address renters as hoarders, drug dealers, or drug addicts….the issue is pets.

I met Phyllis on the street, walking Pumpkin, her Shih Tzu.  What struck me was that the dog was in ‘Specials coat’.  That is—a coat you could show her in.  Also, when I actually groomed her, I found her to be a show quality dog.  Yes, some  hobby breeders are just thisside of being puppy mills. Phyllis found the breeder on the internet, & I know she paid well over $1000 (possibly $2000) for this dog.  Pumpkin has a great front and rear, and great patellas. She is very sound.  Phyllis lives on Social Security and food stamps.  She skrimped and saved to buy Pumpkin.  Spare no expense for Pumpkin, she had the best of care.

I offered to groom  Pumpkin once a month for a reduced fee.  Then, Phyllis told me she had to have both knees replaced.  Phyllis was going into the hospital and rehab for several months, and she was frantic about Pumpkin.  I  was lucky that my sister  agreed to take her.  I have 2 Whippets, and I was afraid they would hurt her, even by accident.  My sister took Pumpkin for Phyllis and ended up having her for  over 4 months.  We also took Pumpkin to visit Phyllis several times when she was in the nursing home doing rehab.

This was about a year ago, and I continued to groom Pumpkin once a month….then, a few weeks ago, while I was out, my  roommate said that a neighbor stopped over and she had Pumpkin, and to call.

The gist is….Phyllis was taken ill.  Somehow, the police were called.  As I am not next of kin, it is actually not a legal requirement that anyone tell me what happened to Phyllis, but the police told a neighbor that if she didn’t take Pumpkin, they were going to take her to Chicago Animal Care & Control—the dog pound.  Since the neighbor knew I groomed Pumpkin, she asked me if I would take  her.

Of course, and my sister has her now….and we have to presume that Phyllis died.

This is a lesson to us all.  I have a roommate.  Most people I know live with someone or have someone (like a job) who expects to see them every day….and would investigate if we didn’t show up.

I have a friend who went on vacation with her husband, and left an elderly friend in charge of her dogs.  My friend called her friend every day—and when she couldn’t get in touch with her, called the police….who had to break into her house and  found the friend  on the floor. She had been there for over 12 hours—she had fallen and broken her hip!  That my friends had to quickly return from vacation wasn’t the half of it. They now also have that friend’s dogs—as SHE is now in a nursing home.

Please, put something in your wallet about your pets—-especially if you travel.  If you live alone—put something on your refrigerator door.

We are going to work on  an ordinance that asks  landlords who rent to single people with pets to address this:  if you   don’t have someone to contact in case of emergency….if something happens to you, what do you want done with your pets?


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