Chapter 9 – Aunt Darlene

Other than myself, if Gram was the most important human in Gabby’s early years, her petsitter Darlene was by far the most important human in her middle and later years (2006-2015).  I never wanted Gabby to be cooped up in her crate for too long when I could not be there. So if I had a job and worked during the day, or if I was out or traveled when I became self-employed, Darlene stopped in and saw Gabby, or Gabby stayed at her home.  She was instrumental in Gabby’s happiness and long life, especially since Gabby was completely traumatized when I tried to board her in a kennel and I knew I could not do that again. Gabby was comfortable at Darlene’s, though in her last two years I could not stay away from home for very long before separation anxiety started really setting in.  I love to travel and I never would have been able to enjoy myself without knowing Gabby was in such good hands, as she was with Darlene.

Darlene loved Gabby like she was her own, and always spoke of Gabby’s sweet disposition and her intelligence.  Once she told me, “Your little dog has a big brain in there.  I had a spinning cat toy where you push a button and it goes around and around. I pushed it once for my cat and it spun.  After it stopped, Gabby walked up, raised her paw and whacked the button.  She then stepped back and watched it spin again.”

Above is one of the rare times I caught Gabby’s problem-solving skills on camera.  She could not get a good grip on the toy, so she passed it to herself under the table and back into the open.

Darlene has a unique talent with the post-it notes she leaves for me whenever she stopped by for a visit.  She has left thousands of them over the years, and like two snowflakes, no two are ever the same!

Now Darlene stops in on Beni when I am not home.  She was his biggest advocate when his future was uncertain, and we both will always owe her for that.