“A while back,” Elaine adjusts her glasses, “I took Netty for a seasonal trim and for some unknown reason the groomer decided to shave most of my dog’s hair off. My friends here at the Manor went absolutely ballistic. ‘Sue the groomer,’ someone advised. Everyone had an opinion. It was amazing to me how people had grown so very attached to my Netty.”
Judy Ross, a wiry woman with fiery red hair and a fierce intelligence, can be found most mornings in Rose Schnitzer’s Goodman Lounge pouring over the print issue of The New York Times. No digital editions for Judy. And don’t bother looking for tweets from this highly articulate former East Coaster. Today, though, something is different. Moxie isn’t with her. “He died,” she slumps a bit in her chair.
Judy has lost her protégé, her life witness, her primary companion and the comfort of a relationship and routines. Grieving a pet is complicated. Judy’s spirit, though, shines through. “My husband and I were both born to parents who disliked pets. As soon as we married, we got our first dog. If you’re lucky,” the long-time pet owner quotes an unknown source, “a dog will come into your life, steal your heart and change everything.” She won’t cry because the relationship is over. She’ll smile because it happened.