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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Allen

Live Your Dash






I’ll never forget that magical day in 2018 when we took the pups to meet Santa on our annual “Photos with Santa” trip. At one point, I’ll admit I had tears running down my cheeks as I watched each dog sit on Santa’s lap full of joy. Jeff asked me what was wrong, “Nothing; everything is just right.” I replayed. “All of these dogs were lost souls waiting to be euthanized, and now they’re asking Santa for toys and treats as they get their picture taken. Nothing could be better.”


When we started Monkey’s House in 2015, we never dreamed we would have saved and cared for over a hundred sixty once-homeless hospice dogs. Not only were they no longer homeless but they were also being given dignity and love—a second chance at living—and they relished all of it, as did we. Nor did we realize that a hundred thousand people on social media would be loving these dogs from around the world.


My favorite poem is “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. For those who aren’t familiar with this poem, we suggest you not only read it but live it. In a nutshell: Your gravestone will be engraved with your birth date and the day you pass, separated by a dash. What matters in your life is not those dates but the Dash. That is, how you lived your life. We feel the same about each dog of Monkey’s House. We don’t know that much if anything about their previous lives let alone their birth dates, and we don’t think of their end dates. Our mission is to make their “dashes” the best they can be!


Over the years, we have been honored to share the dashes of all of the dogs:



Fletcher, the German shepherd that befriended a little boy named Kaiden, giving him friendship and confidence.



Bea, in spite of a broken body, going on picnics with her favorite Aunt Tracey.



Ariel, the sweet little poodle who lost her hind legs due to abuse would race around in her cart like legs didn’t matter; Dozer, the handsome German shepherd with DM that enjoyed every day to the fullest.



Tequilla, the handsome cocker with no eyes but that still had the day of his life at the Jersey Shore.



Hannah Bear, notwithstanding a body full of cancer, did not slow down as her favorite pastimes were chasing cats and sitting on laps.



Buck, managing to fool the experts by living longer than anyone expected, over four years, and one of my greatest teachers.



And of course, there was that little guy that started it all, Monkey, the little Heinz-57 pup that we fell head over heels for, and in his name started Monkey’s House.


“Live your dash” by helping others live theirs. There is no greater reward than saving a life or making someone else’s life better. We all have the ability to volunteer, donate, start a nonprofit, or be a voice for a cause—spread the word. We can all make miracles happen.



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4 Comments


whitebutterfly37
Mar 31

You really pulled at the heartstrings with this! Incredible is the only way to describe all the dashes you have filled with love, compassion and pure joy.

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Susan Cowen
Susan Cowen
Mar 31

Reading this on Easter Sunday really hit home. Living is in the dash thank you for reminding us!❤️

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Guest
Mar 31

Thank you for sharing this 🙏

It is quite beautiful to think of your life this way. ❤️

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Guest
Mar 31

Thank You Michelle for sharing. May it inspire all of us to do Greater things with the time we have on this earth.

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