You Know Your Dog Well But What Happens When You Die?

Four and a half months ago, my grandpa, my papa, died suddenly. It was just nine months after my grandma died. Papa left behind their sweet dog, Daisy. Without hesitation, our family was thrilled to bring Daisy into our home. We soon realized there was much we didn’t know about Daisy despite years of visiting my grandparents. 

Initially, we thought Daisy was around six years old, but it turns out she’s 11.  Being that she is an older dog, we realized that she was not likely to learn the ways of our home, rather, we better learn hers. Daisy's age also brought up a more emotional item for me—we won’t have her with us for as long as I had hoped and at some point I will lose her…and have to say goodbye to my grandparents all over again.

Besides her age, there are so many things that I wish Papa had told me or written down somewhere.  Does she eat her wet food and dry food combined? Does she eat throughout the day or should we move her bowl away in between feedings?  How often does she need to go to the groomer?  Does she have any allergies?  Does she have any health concerns? 

We thought Daisy was microchipped.  I wanted to find out how to get the details for her new family updated on her microchip. I called the vet, which thankfully another family member knew the contact information for.  Overcome with grief, I burst into tears during the call and said, “I love her so very much but I’d really rather have my papa.” I ended up crying to a stranger and as was informed that they have no record of her being microchipped. 

I would have liked to have known Papa’s thoughts on who should take their baby home and what might help everyone in the transition. What type of family would be a good fit? Should she be with other pets? Kids? Daisy definitely needs a smaller pet household.  She would probably prefer if our family dog Frazier did not exist, but thankfully he is fine with letting Daisy be the queen.

There are so many other things I wish Papa had written down or told me. Does Daisy tell you what she needs?  Frazier is not a barker. He rings a bell to go out. He flips his bowl over or pushes it in front of you to let you know he wants food.  Daisy, on the other hand, barks for everything…and if you miss the hint that she wants something…she comes over and paws at you until you start guessing what she wants.  I tell my best friend it is like we have two dogs who speak two different languages.

And when it comes to fun: does she like walks?  Do you need to take a bag with her for every walk? We’ve learned the answer is yes, which is new to us because with our dog Frazier, you never need a bag. Does she like to play with toys?  Daisy came with 20 toys and we have seen her play with one.  Luckily, she is fine with sharing and Frazier loves them all. 

One thing that has been helpful with the transition has been to have some pieces of Papa’s clothes for her to cuddle up with. I have found her many times curled up with one of papa’s shirts, even a raincoat once.  When she needs a break from these new surroundings, she barks until someone lets her downstairs to curl up in her bed with a piece of papa’s clothing.  The scent of him remains on his clothes and I think it brings her some comfort. I’ve learned that pets are not exempt from grieving and are more than aware of the changes in their life.

Daisy was so very loved by my grandparents. She was the focus of their day to day love and affection. When grandma died, Daisy watched over Papa and didn’t leave his side. 

We are so happy to have Daisy with us. She has chosen my oldest daughter as her own. Her cuteness and sass melt our hearts.. and breaks our hearts just a bit.  I wish I could ask my grandparents so many questions. If only they had written some information down for us. They loved their baby so much and I just wish I could make sure we are caring for her as they would want us to. 

This blog was written by the Charity Cole. Charity is a cousin and close friend to The Death Deck Co-creator, Lisa Pahl. Charity typically blogs about family, faith, and mental health. You can read more from her at

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