May All Dogs Go to Heaven Before the Kitties Know They’re Gone


For Lady Kellum

May the roads rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
And may all Dogs go to heaven,
Before the Kitties know they’re gone.

A couple of years ago, my dog and I went on a short trip together. We packed my old Honda Element and I pointed the car toward the Northwest and simply began to drive. I knew that there were mountains and forests up there, and my spirit needed to be swallowed within them for a while. For 13 years, Lady has been my dearest companion and she was the natural choice to ride in the shotgun seat. I could not imagine making the trip without her.

[Tree Houses from Swiss Family Robinson]

In February, I wrote a post in which I detailed the things that I would need if I were stranded on a deserted island Here. My list was quite elaborate. In many ways, I have been stranded on a deserted island for a long time. I am divorced, and for years, I didn’t have time to make friends. I was too busy surviving as a single mother of 3 children, one of whom was only 3 months old when I found myself single again.

Sooner than I thought that it would happen, however, all of my children have moved away. Fortunately, along the way, I acquired Lady, and now, she and I are the only ones left, rattling around in my large, decomposing house that is at least 1,000 miles away from any family.

[Tree House from Swiss Family Robinson]

When I prepared my packing list for the day that I would be deserted on an island, I said that I would need lumber, tools, some needles, and thread. After years of making do, I knew that I would have to forge a lot of my necessities.

I knew that if I were to be stranded, I would need art and writing materials, too. As I said before, I have been stranded alone for a long, long time; and I know from experience that my ability to create would be my main interest when I was stranded.

I said in my previous post about being deserted that I would try to salvage as much as I could from the sinking ship that had stranded me and that I especially hoped to salvage a bed and some bedding. My requirement for a bed cover was very specific. I knew that it would be necessary for me to have an old, soft hand-stitched quilt:

“Saving the captain’s bed, sheets, and pillows would be luxurious, but my spirit would need at least one quilt. If I have a fetish, it is a quilt fetish. My quilt must be soft, 100% cotton and filled with cotton batting. If it is not soft and cotton, it will not drape around my body the way that I need for it to do. Now this is picky, but my quilt must be totally stitched by hand–the quilting and all. My grandmother made quilts like that, and regardless of how hot the temperature gets, it is essential for me to sleep with an old quilt. I like the way that it cups and cradles me as I rest.”

My art and my writing do much to entertain me and to keep me company now, but I still need soft, warm, fuzzy things and places to be nurtured. My old quilts provide some of that, but my dog provides the rest.

When I was preparing my packing list for surviving while being deserted, I added animals to the list. I have always loved animals and I have always had at least one animal in my home. At one time, I owned a farm and had farm animals. I said the following about being deserted:

“I’ll need chickens to lay eggs and to provide an ever-renewing source of meat and writing quills. I’ll need a cow for milk, and I’ll need some sweet dogs to be my companions. One of the dogs must be my Lady girl. She would have been with me on the ship, and as we crashed, I would have held her tightly; therefore, getting her to camp would be simple.”

The point of all of this is that even though I live alone in a big, rambling house, I am not alone. There may be no humans here, but I do have a friend. I have my Lady, and I have my old quilt, too. I also have my garden and my art materials, too. We are all a package deal.

©Jacki Kellum June 21, 2016



5 thoughts on “May All Dogs Go to Heaven Before the Kitties Know They’re Gone

  1. Your title is a wonderful take on the traditional Irish toast. As for being on your island, sometimes I can relate. I’ve been sick the past few days, which encourages (sadly) my sense of isolation. My nearest family, though, is only two hundred miles away.

    You may not always think so, but you live so well. Inside and out. You keep your heart creative and your mind alive. When you feel you need to do something, if you can you do it. The trip northwest is a telling example.

    I enjoy your art in painting and in writing. You render dynamic (otherwise) unmoving parts of nature. I guess you do that in the writing, too. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You always encourage me. I often think that I do not live well, but fortunately, I am still able to step back and realize that I am very blessed. I cannot imagine how very dreadful it would be to have no inner resources and to be alone. I am sorry that you are not feeling well. Do you feel well enough to write?


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