I have had a dog or dogs in my house since my daughter was about three years old. That means for about twenty-two years I have had accidents, slobber, toys, food bowls, water bowls all over my house.

This is the first week that I have felt the emptiness of having a dog-less home. I had to put Cinnamon to sleep, thanks cancer, right before the pandemic hit. That was hard. I then came home every day to Chipper who wondered where her sister went.

A couple weeks ago I could tell Chipper was nearing the end. She was already on blood pressure medicine and other meds for her heart. I could hear her breathing a little heavier. She wasn't as active as before. When she slowed her eating down I knew this was it. Chipper was always the chubby one. She never met a meal she didn't like.

I tried to make an appointment at her vet at the end of last week. They didn't have any appointments until Monday. They told me if I thought it was an emergency to bring her in. I didn't think it was and made that Monday appointment. On Friday she just stopped eating and drinking. I started to force feed her some chicken broth to get some liquid in her. She ended up passing away peacefully Friday evening.

I have never had a dog pass away at home. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to bring her to Animal Control to wait in that dreaded room until Monday morning. So I went outside and started digging a place for her final resting place at home. I had some great family come over to help me.

I thought that was hard but couldn't imagine everything else. I mean my house had all sorts of dog beds, dog kennels, crates, toys, bones, dog bowls. You name it. We had it. I even have automatic dog feeders for when I went out of town. I thought about donating everything. I still may. My daughter said to wait. She said I may decide to want another dog. Or she may need the stuff when she gets a dog for her family. So for now I washed everything and put it up in a plastic tub for later use.

I walk in the back door from work and still expect to see her waiting for me to come home. When I get out of bed in the morning my first instinct is to let her outside. When I am cooking I am now learning to have to actually pick up the food I drop on the floor. I used to just count on Chipper to help me out.

There are so many changes in my house now that I am dog-less. It is a lot quieter. I don't have her to chime in when I am on a Zoom call. Everyone would just know to say hi to Chipper.

Twenty-two years since I have been without having a dog. It's not necessarily something I think I can get used to but with the grandbaby on the way it's not fair to get a new responsibility when travelling to see her will be important. For now my cat, Twilight, will have to get used to being the one and only ruling the place.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

Even with all of these resources, however, the best cure for food poisoning is preventing it in the first place. To give you an idea of what human foods can be dangerous, Stacker has put together a slideshow of 30 common foods to avoid. Take a look to see if there are any that surprise you.

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