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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Allen

The Long Way Home

Most of the dogs of Monkey’s House have taken the glorious “freedom ride” to our house.  These lucky dogs avoided instant euthanasia after being left at the shelter by the one they trusted and adored.  We don’t give a second thought to what they may have endured before coming to us; only positive thoughts and love, a bit of heaven on earth, as they travel their final journey with us.

To witness this time and time again is not an easy undertaking.  Thankfully I’ve always enjoyed uplifting, spiritual music. My desire for it seemed to intensify after we opened Monkey’s House.  They say music soothes the savage beast, for the non-beast it can inspire and help you push through difficult times. In the early days of caring for the sheer number of dogs, I surely needed it.  It’s no longer needed for stress reduction, but it encourages me when caring for our pack and in my writing projects.  I often find myself relating songs to our dogs.   

Violet has been one of the pups I’ve grown very close to.  This beautiful black lab mix made her way here in 2017.  As of today, Violet has the most seniority at Monkey’s House.  At first, she was a bit frightened in her new environment, and a heck of a mess. Violet also had a large tumor right between her eyes.  It was the size of a large fist that would flop from side to side as she walked, totally covering one eye while pulling on the other.  To make matters worse, it was ulcerated and infected.  One of the aunts called it her “portabella mushroom.”

Violet and I became great hiking buddies, journeying down more paths in the state forest than I can count.  She loves to walk, maybe not the “let’s go” pace or distance of a few years ago, but she’s always raring to go.  I cherish my time with Violet yet at one point sadness set in.

We thought Violet was healthy enough to get her own forever family. Her path was not with me in the Pines.  As I looked into those beautiful brown eyes, I told Violet she was an imposter. Shortly after going to a foster, waiting for her family, she found her way back to Monkey’s House.  Violet was right where she was meant to be, shortly after coming home she developed an aggressive form of mouth cancer.

The diagnosis was not good and we were advised that part of her lower jaw and tongue needed to be removed, followed by chemo and radiation.  The veterinarian gave her six months or so to live, this was in late 2018. We were so grateful we took an alternative treatment modality.  A couple of years ago we did have to have a portion of her lower jaw removed, with no chemo or radiation.   

She is a walking miracle. Living well with cancer is sometimes the best life that can be attained.  I’m happy to have my hiking buddy back.  It’s like we didn’t miss a step, just not as many today.  Violet doesn’t know her time is limited, and we don’t know how long she has, but I can tell you years have come and gone, she’s still loving life.  

One day on the way home from the park I took a different route, the long way home.  A scenic drive to do some sightseeing.

Violet gave me a glance “Where are we going dad, are we lost?

With a pat to her head, “We’re not lost. Let’s savor the time we have together. We’ll celebrate this moment—the gift of borrowed time. Look around, there’s beauty on this journey. Although we’ll struggle at times, the view on this ride will be treasured forever.

Over one hundred sixty lucky dogs have made our home part of their journey, their “Long Way Home.”  Their journeys are not always easy, but they celebrate life and make special moments count.

With Monkey’s House’s motto, “WHERE DOGS GO TO LIVE,” I can only imagine the stories they take to the Rainbow Bridge. 


*The song lyrics by Neon Feather – The Long Way Home helped inspire me to craft this blog:    

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Joyce Light
Joyce Light
Mar 11

You and Violet, and your hearts beating in time. There is nothing more glorious. Thank you for not only doing God’s work (better than He does on many days!) but also sharing your journey with us. XO


Kelly Chiavarini
Kelly Chiavarini
Mar 06

That story 😭 your love for these animals is truly inspiring. 🐾


N'Ette Hibler
N'Ette Hibler
Mar 03

I don't know how you do it but I am so thankful for you and Michelle and all the aunts and other volunteers that help these supposedly "unwanted" dogs who truly need their owners to love and take care of them up until the end. Monkey's House opens their doors and their hearts to those who are then able to enjoy and extend their journeys to the Rainbow Bridge. Love you guys for all that you do!


Mar 02

I am a huge believer and follower of Monkey House. There have been plenty of laughs along with tears but I admire you 2 along with all the aunts (& uncles) who provide the love and care for these precious "babies". I also donate what I can monthly, buy your calendars and will always try to donate whatever is needed to help out. I absolutely love Monkey House. Thank you all for everything you do!!


Mar 02

Love Monkey house, god has blessed all you do and Violet, I do donate to you and buy calendars, and I will continue to.

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