In my almost 31 years of marriage, Carol and I have been blessed by the companionship and devotion of dogs.
Ginny was a rescue dog of some magical collie/shepherd mixture and was there to welcome and nanny our children. She survived our move to the North Coast and thrived in our first Cloverdale Home.
Ursa Minor was our venture into the privileged world of burebreds. A very attractive red and white Pembroke Corgi, her herding instincts were very visible. One our her self-assigned jobs was to herd our son up the stairs and into bed each evening.
Tea Time was a pure bred Aussie, very beautiful, gentle and affectionate. We rescued her from a local family and were rewarded a thousand times over with her devotion and playfulness. She became a Canine Good Citizen and accompanied Carol to our local elementary school on many occasions. Reading to TT became a valued reward for completion of tasks for students in Carol's class.
The new guys are Maddie and Indie. Litter mates from different planets. Maddie has the look of a border collie and is all energy and mischief. She accompanies me on some client visits where she shows her gentle, affectionate side. Indie is very much a Golden Retriever with the infectious smile, equally content with a romp through the back 40 with Maddie or just plopped beside me on the sofa.
Through the years all of our dogs have brought us love, companionship and comfort. They give us a reason to squeeze more out of a lovely spring day or to bring a warm tongue and cold nose to a shut in.
We have come to value rescue dogs as a small pay back to all of the canines that have touched our lives. We give so little relative to the return.
One of my oldest clients, Vivian, lives in a modest 3 bedroom home in a town in Southern Sonoma County. Her dementia and physical ailments require 24 hour care provided in her home by a family member and two wonderful caregivers.
Her social security income does not cover the costs and she has no other assets. A reverse mortgage (RM) has provided the extra funds needed to keep Vivian happy and healthy in her residence.
Her recent qualification for In Home Support Services (IHSS) has been an amazing blessing. The 283.9 hours of caregiving paid for through this program each month has allowed me to reduce the monthly draw from her RM by exactly 50%, doubling the number of months that she will be able to stay in her home.
IHSS is one of the programs on the state budget chopping block. If cut, Vivian will likely not outlive her RM and will have to endure the anxiety of moving to a facility to live out her remaining days.
Added to the uncertaintly, the tens of thousands of senior and disabled recipients potentially displaced by the cuts would flood a care facility industry that may not have enough beds to absorb the load.
This is a vital issue that deserves vigorous public debate. Please consider joining with others in your community to make some noise.
The Private Fiduciary Profession has many rewards and has introduced me to hundreds of wonderful people. In these last months I have been very delighted with the hospice services provided to my client Dahlia. This feisty little lady has come to the end and is receiving wonderful care from Heartland Hospice. They have been informative and instructive, keeping Dahlia's live-in caregiver on task and keeping me in the loop.
Hospice care hopes to provide a warm, safe, comfortable last leg on our long journey and they have certainly exceeded expectations in this case.
Today, it is easy to talk about our broken health care system. Let us be reminded that some organizations have not forgotten how to put the patient first.
Don the Trustee
When my mother passed very suddenly some 16 years ago, I worked as a trustee for the first time. Her trust contained walnut orchards, peach orchards and a small vineyard. One of the properties was within the sphere of influence of the adjacent city and I dove in with the neighbors and started working on annexation. Loved this work back then and still find it very satisfying today.