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  • Writer's pictureJeff Allen

What’s with all the Aunts & Uncles?

The dogs of Monkey’s House seem to have a lot of aunts and uncles; many wonder if our family is actually that big. Well, the truth is not our human family, but our furry one is. Michele coined the terms “aunts” and “uncles” for our volunteers. She believes to really get to know a dog’s wants and needs, you need to be more than a volunteer, you need to be part of the family, like an aunt or uncle to these dogs.

We have many aunts and uncles, near and far, with ten coming to the house regularly. Monkey’s House is unique as it is in our home, not a facility. The dogs live in a home environment, we wouldn’t have it any other way. As with any dog sanctuary, there is a long list of chores that need to be completed each day. The normal mundane, but necessary things like doing laundry, cleaning floors, working in the yard, and restocking supplies seem to be nonstop. Throw in the mix that we’re a hospice where the dogs have major medical issues, adds quite a bit of complexity to our day. Besides the normal activities like walking and bathing, many of the dogs need one-on-one attention when it comes to eating.

You may see Aunt Trish sitting with Red on her lap, a little King Charles spaniel mix, spoon-feeding him. When that fails, you have to toss the spoon and dip your hand right into the food; eight out of ten times that will do the trick. A little persistence and a mushy hand get the prize! We don’t feed our dogs Kibble, only gently cooked or raw food. We have developed great relationships with many of our residents through hand-feeding.

The beauty of social media is the ability to spread our mission around the globe. We have aunts and uncles from across the country (USA) and in many other countries as well, they help in many ways including raising funds to support Monkey’s House.

Our aunts and uncles love all the dogs, but I can see that many have favorites. You can probably attest to the fact that we all have preferences for big or small dogs or for particular breeds. Aunt Terry prefers the larger dogs; to no surprise, she’s also a member of a Labrador Retriever rescue. Michele met her years ago when she also volunteered there. Through the years we welcomed a few of their Labs with terminal illnesses into Monkey’s House.

Aunt Tracey has been with us since 2015 and she’s a “smalls” magnet. Tracey was kind enough to write a blurb for my book Where Dogs Go To Live! on her love of the little ones at Monkey’s House. I’m thrilled to share it here.

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For the Love of “Smalls”

by Aunt Tracey

“What is it about small dogs that makes me fall head over heels in love with them? Is it their tiny but strong-willed nature? Or how each one is overly adorable? Or the fact that they give so much? Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever the reason, I seem to be drawn to them. Nothing compares to walking through the Monkey’s House door and having a pint-sized pup greet you. The tail wagging, talking, body language could not be clearer. They are just as happy to see me as I am to see them. They are so affectionate and act as though you are the center of their universe. I immediately have a huge smile on my face and it remains throughout my visit. The bond that I have formed with some of the “littles” at Monkey’s House has been incredible. Lil, Bea, Penny, Maisey, Bambi, and Darla have all stolen a huge piece of my heart. I instantly felt connected to each one as if we were meant to meet and be in each other’s lives. The love runs deep, and I have cherished every moment spent with them. I miss those who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I miss our cuddles and kisses. I miss their big personalities. But I have lots of fond memories and will forever hold each one close to my heart. I know there will be more tiny ones that I will love, and I’m grateful for that. There’s more than enough room in this mushy heart of mine. Thank you, Monkey’s House, for allowing me to love your smallest residents. My heart will always remain open for business. I like having this smile on my face... it feels good.”

We are always in need of “Aunts & Uncles” near and far to assist with the dogs and what I like to call “back-office” activities: fundraising, grant writing, marketing, etc.

If you are interested, please complete our Volunteer request form found on the Volunteer page.

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1 Comment

Feb 27

What an uplifting message about possibilities. May your beautiful journey continue and the blessed animals thrive under your care.

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