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The Lovely World of Dog Hospice Pages

There’s a perception that dog hospice is incredibly sad, and that perception isn’t wrong. Speaking as someone who fell head-over-heels for her hospice rescue dog, the end of Bella’s sweet little life broke my heart and left me mourning for weeks, even though my family saw it coming. But still, the perception isn’t entirely correct either.

Dog hospice is hard because they’re dogs. They can’t simply say, “I’m hurting here,” or “I’m really uncomfortable, right now.” It’s integral that you get to know the dog, so you’re able to perceive the shifts and the rough days. That ability comes with a very specific sort of joy — one that two very special dog hospice rescue organizations renew for me, nearly every day, on Instagram. Monkey’s House Dog Hospice and Sanctuary, and Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary keep little Bella’s memory alive in my heart. 

Monkey’s House Dog Sanctuary was founded by Michele and Jeff Allen in Vincentown, New Jersey. After their beloved dog Monkey passed away, they converted two rooms of their house, as well as their garage, into spaces in which homeless dogs in shelters that required hospice care could receive love and comfort for the rest of their lives. 

Further south, Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary is situated in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. They house about 120 dogs in their facility, not including dogs they have housed temporarily elsewhere or “Forever Fostered” — dogs that go to families that do not officially adopt them, but they have a home to stay in for the rest of their lives.

Both organizations have one thing in common: they have an amazing social media presence. I follow Monkey’s House mostly through Instagram; they post long summaries of the daily events, paired with nine or so pictures. EL-O-P, a shaky little chihuahua with big ol’ eyes, is one of my favorites. She dressed up like a fairy, this year, and after a costume change, a ladybug too! The dogs have outings beyond the physical therapy sessions and afternoon walks. I remember sentimentally how they brought a ton of old, rickety dogs to the beach, over the summer. If you’ve never seen a dog truly smile before, you’ll see it in their pictures. It’s all in the eyes.

Old Friends operates through Instagram and Facebook. They post anywhere from once a day to a couple of times a day, with a goodnight post, every so often, that warms my heart. Last night, the goodnight post was dedicated to Brownie, who had a scrunched, wrinkled, sleepy dog face in the picture. I’m rather attached to Sophie, a curly-haired, black and grey mutt with big, dark eyes that remind me of my dog Maisy, who I’ve had for almost thirteen years now, or even moreso. It’s always such a thrill when the doggies land their fosters because Old Friends make sure to post each time! My heart is so full when looking at the well-known, loving monikers; Beau the cowboy and silly Owen. These dogs deserve a happy ending, and Old Friends gives it to them.

It’s not all happiness though. Last week, a longtime resident of Monkey’s House, Buck, passed away. He was in almost every photo set — it felt like he was the center of this busy sanctuary. While it was clear from the daily updates that his doctors’ appointments were increasing and his discomfort was only getting worse, it still came as a blow to the staff of Monkey’s House when it was time to say goodbye. Volunteers and followers alike mourned his loss with a fervor. Who would have thought that a mangy, intimidating dog from Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia would be so widely loved all across the country and the world?

Monkey’s House and Old Friends serve as a reminder that the sweetness that comes with loving a hospice dog only exists because you know it won’t last forever — in fact, it most likely will not last very long at all, which makes them so worthy of being cherished.

 

Grace Yannotta

Chapel Hill '23

Grace Yannotta is a freshman at UNC, double majoring in English and History. She is a 2019 Best of the Net nominee and has work published or forthcoming in Parhelion Lit, Ghost City Press, Pider Mag, Rabid Oak, Mojave Heart Review, and Rise Up Review, among others. You can find her on Twitter @lgyanno.
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