LOVE and LOSS
By Jean Pacheco
I was born and raised onLong Islandand have always been an animal
lover. My favorite show growing up was Mutual of Omaha’sWildKingdom. As a
child, I would borrow a neighbor’s toy collie or kitten and bring them home, hoping my
father would see how cute they were and let me get a pet of my own. Unfortunately, my
father has allergies and asthma. He would return from work and instantly realize an
animal was inside our home. The sneezing, watery eyes, and labored breathing would
give this away. The animals were returned to their true homes and, sadly, the answer
was an emphatic NO!
I vowed when I was old enough and out of my parent’s house, I would always
have an animal as my companion. I have had many cats, dogs and even a red-tailed boa
constrictor for pets over the years.
I love nature and being outdoors with the sun and light breeze upon me. I lived
contentedly onLong Islanduntil I moved toSanta Fe,New Mexicofor a job opportunity.
I enjoyed the desert, mountains, crisp air and beautiful blue sky with animals
I had never seen before. There were bison, roadrunners, rattlers, hummingbirds, and
coyotes. However, there are few lakes inNew Mexicoand I missed myLong Island
beaches and waterways. I was extremely homesick.
Upon hearing that my daughter was pregnant with my first grandchild, I was
thrilled. This news encouraged me to move back instead of having a long-distance
relationship. I was coming home toLong Islandwith the friendliest people, most
beautiful landscapes, best restaurants and my favorite parks and beaches.
While inSanta Fe, I had adopted a Pomeranian who traveled with me home. I
stayed temporarily with my daughter and searched for a home of our own, finding
a beautiful place in Greenport. I found peace in knowing it was pet-friendly with the
security and comfort that we were together. Unfortunately, my work hours were
demanding as I worked my way up at restaurants and catering halls. I had less
and less time with my dog and he grew depressed and lonely. I hired a dog walker but
she could only come twice a day and I was working 10 + hours daily.
I eventually gave up my dog to his groomer, who adored him. This decision was
made with love and was in his best interest. She had much more time for him than I did.
This tremendous loss overwhelmed me even though it was the kindest choice at that time.
We have stayed in touch and he is content and happy.
A few years later, I worked as a contractor’s assistant with less hours and
thought about adoption once again. I decided to wait for a while. I have since retired
and wanted a companion that I finally had all the time in the world for.
After researching the internet on petfinders.com, visiting pet stores and searching
shelters, I found a bichon-poodle puppy at A.R.F. (Animal Rescue Fund) in Wainscott,
N.Y. I originally looked and tried to bond with a 4 year-old black pomeranian, but the
little guy was too shy and no connection was made.
My puppy was 7 weeks old, neutered, micro-chipped, had up-to-date shots and
there was only a $200.00 donation to the shelter. I couldn’t believe my good fortune
and thanked God for this gift. Smokey also has four brothers, Oliver, Chance, Teddy
Bear and Titan, that were born at this shelter onApril 1, 2011. Their mother, Ellie Mae,
had been puppy milled for years. A.R.F. rescued her and all the beautiful pups.
Thankfully, they have all been adopted, including mom.
Since that time, we have located all the brother puppies, have playdates, and
travel the east end for animal shelter events. We are delighted that Martha Clara has the
Vines and Canines walk through the vineyard and asks only for a small donation of pet
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