Pet Owners Must Make Arrangements In Case Of Death

FOCUS ON PETS

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I learned of Payson Roundup employee Marge Hanscom's death by reading about it in the Nov. 17 edition. I was stunned and shocked. And I wondered about her dogs.

Marge lived not far from me and I passed her house often. I rarely saw her, but I always paused long enough to greet her dogs. They were Lab-retriever mixes, the color of rich vanilla. The color was unusual, but Marge said the two were not related.

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Sharon Gutierrez with the Puerto Rico team at WestWorld's Cynosports, expressed her appreciation to the wonderful people of Scottsdale who searched for and found feisty little LaLa.

Only once did I visit with Marge at her home. She agreed to take some photos down to the paper for me. Her dogs greeted me at the door. She invited me in and we talked about dogs. Her husband, who had died a few years before, did not like dogs in the house. Now that she was alone, the dogs shared her home and kept her company. She loved her dogs.

Her death sent chills up my spine because, like Marge, I live alone with two dogs. I worry that if I should die during the night, who would know, and who would let the dogs out in the morning. Obviously, I worry about who would care for and love them.

Most people live with someone else and therefore the question of who will take care of the pets is not such an issue. But for those of us who live alone, we must make provisions for them. My son and his wife in Mesa have two dogs, two young children and a medium-size yard. Four large dogs would be too much. Besides, Higgins and Gibson are not city dogs. They have a huge yard and long walks twice a day. They would be miserable cooped up inside a block-walled yard where they could not see and hear the sights and sounds of the world. So what will become of them?

I have a neighbor who has been seriously ill. She also lives alone and worries about her dog. I have assured her that though I would probably not keep the dog forever, I would make sure she was cared for and find her a good home. It is a big responsibility.

We are always hearing about the importance of having a will and a medical power of attorney. But what provisions are we making for our pets? It deserves serious consideration. We must plan. We must put it in writing and we must know that those who we expect to care for our pets are able and willing to do so.

Marge will be missed by many. But her dogs will miss her terribly and wonder why she just vanished from their lives. If they were with her when she died, they will know. Dogs have a sense about that. But if she just suddenly disappeared, they will be looking and waiting for her. I hope they find another caring home.

Another story and another concern: At the huge Cynosport event at Westworld in Scottsdale recently, LaLa, a small rat terrier, escaped from her kennel and ran off. She was part of the team from Puerto Rico.

The new soft-sided crates are much lighter and easier to carry but they are made of fabric and screen. One afternoon, the team members were all away from the tent where the dogs were kenneled. On their return, they found LaLa's crate torn and empty. They soon heard that she had been spotted running through the event grounds. Next they learned the frightening news. LaLa was seen running over the hill and into the unknown, into traffic. The fast-moving Highway 101 runs along one side of Westworld. Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard is on another side. In every direction, there is heavy speeding traffic.

Fliers were quickly printed up with the little dog's photo and posted everywhere. The news media was contacted and before long, many in Scottsdale were out searching for LaLa. Bikers, walkers and drivers were looking for the little dog from Puerto Rico. She had tags and a microchip, but no one could get close enough to check them. People sent word that they were out looking -- even throughout the night. Every so often, a sighting would be reported back to the team. As long as there were sightings, there was hope.

Suddenly, 24 hours after her disappearance, someone was able to trap the frightened dog in their back yard. She was five miles from Westworld. No one could get close to her, but she was safe. Her owners arrived. Her paws were ripped and she was very sore so she was out of the competitions. But her team was so relieved to have her back.

LaLa is a city dog.

She never goes out of her yard at home without a leash. She became terribly frightened with the noise and commotion at Westworld. Sharon Gutierrez, spokesman for the team, expressed her appreciation to the community. She could not believe the outpouring of support and concern. She said, "We really appreciate what the whole community did. Everyone was just awesome."

When in unfamiliar surroundings, it is so important to keep our pets safe.

Carry a photo of them and be sure they are wearing tags and have a microchip.

Editor's note: Marge Hanscom's Roundup family arranged for her beloved dogs to remain together in a loving home.

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