We have a variety of pets and livestock. We have neighbors who love animals. This is useful when any of us are away. We take care of their animals. They take care of ours.
Usually this involves putting out food and bedding. But, dogs in particular enjoy some companionship. One of our neighbors enjoys the attention of critters of all sort, maybe more than the complicated expectations of people.
When we are away, we send her an e-mail to let her know that when she is available, she is welcome to come sit on our porch with our dogs. She is delighted.
To add to the social visit, as we know that she likes red wine, we leave out of bottle and wine glass for her and dog treats for her to distribute.
Another couple take on the duties of feeding. Occasionally, they will arrive at the same time. Porch party time. However, one of the couple left a message, “How do we get the Official Dog Drinker job?” We started leaving out three wine glasses.
Our Official Dog Drinker friend had a particular affection for Bella. She has been about as teary about Bella’s death last week as we have. She is also concerned about Tippy’s dog-grieving.
We put the bottle of wine, glass and dog treats out each morning, now, when we go to work. Our neighbor comes by for an afternoon visit with Tippy. She has printed off a couple of photos from times Bella came to visit her (such as when she jumped into and paddled around in their fish pond one hot day). She plans to bring one of her dogs up for a play-date next week.
In our human traditions, we usually respond to someone else’s loss in words. These can be comforting from those whom we are attached to but geographically distant. But, sometimes they are awkward, such as from someone who has not reached out to us for some time (they usually disappear as quickly as the appeared in the time of loss).
Some times gestures of kindness, a hot meal, help with cleaning out the person’s possessions, etc. are as useful as words.
Some times just being present is what we need. Those kinds of relationship develop over time. They are build on engagement, interaction, and shared memories.
Maybe the world needs fewer talking-heads and more Official Dog Drinkers.