My husband just received a thank-you note from our near-teen nephew saying “thanks for the oscilloscope and … soldering iron.” He forgot to sign his name, unlike my brother. Who would ever send him an oscilloscope and “high grade” soldering iron but his uncle. The young man wants to be an engineer, bravo.

When we were kids we had to write a thank-you note for every gift that was received, before we could use that gift, whether it be a game, a watch or a sweater. I was older then so could write and send my own notes but my brother needed to scribble his name on a card or note, seal it and give it to Mom for addressing/return address and postage.

My brother was never one for rules. He gave our mother a sealed envelope to address and stamp. It was sent to Auntie L. No card, no note, nothing. She kept it secret for decades. That’s him, messing with people.

I have found that communities we live in where I reach out or am asked out of the blue as a newbie to help someone, I do it. In one situation I’d been taking care of over 20 family pets for years on a “trade” basis. No-one ever helped me. I called all of them because my mother was taken to hospice 2,000 miles away with a week to live, and everyone was busy. My husband said, no more. One kind soul I’d never helped, helped us. Thank you!

Here, it’s different. Same level clientele and it’s a disjointed city but they are nicer. My Zoe gets a girlfriend for a week or two, a blind dog stays a couple of hours. My husband has told me that a trade is not me giving my life away volunteering, especially for doctors and executives. I don’t need money, I just need to be appreciated for what I do. Other than cookingwithdee I am Aunt Dee to nearly all dogs in the neighborhood and our dog is a mascot of sorts because she gets along with everyone.

I asked about taking care of Zoe at home for an important journey, and this company will provide overnight service, one walk in the morning and one at night for $200 per day. Then I have to hire others for a lunchtime and dinner walk. We’re talking $250 per day for the dog and that’s money we don’t spend on gas, hotel and meals for a day on the road. She loves my car but when we end up at a hotel I have to stay with her (hotel rules) and my husband goes out and gets pizza. This is a longer, further trip and I’ll be gone two weeks.

It’s no wonder we haven’t had a vacation for nearly 14 years. The execs and docs aren’t going to take care of my dog. Here, they try to pay it forward (helping me) or give me a gift from a foreign locale. I like it this way. Dee


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