Can a dog fill your empty nest?  My answer is YES!

Jazz is a cockapoo and she fills the empty nest void in spades.

Jazzy had been with me almost two years when my youngest left for college. The blow of being in an empty nest was eased with a puppy at home. Coming through the front door and being greeted by sweet yelps of glee and snuggling on many a lonely night, Jazz more than softened the painful void of empty beds and an empty kitchen.

Even though I am Jazz’s alpha, she was all for my marriage to Bill – she gave me the paws up from the get go reveling in increased at-home cozy couch time during Football season.

She quickly became “our” dog and a diehard Pats Fan.


We not only sleep together, exercise together and commute together, we are even on the same hair care schedule.

She comes with me on the drives between our lives in Boston and New York, even though she hates the car. She sits facing backwards in the back seat and shivers from anxiety most of the drive. Yet, she would be heartbroken if I didn’t take her, and ditto for me.

But after her long drives, her favorite place to recover is on the beach. It takes her awhile to find her sea legs but eventually she does.

We even share mealtime together, because she won’t eat from her bowl unless I am sitting at the table dining at the same time.


Jazz has been my long distance running partner for most of her life. I call her Coach Jazz because of her incessant nudging to get me out to run. She would paw at one of my running shoes and even carry it over to me if it didn’t look like I was heading out.

Snow dog copy

When I am sad, she knows it and pushes her head into my thigh and just stays there. She has been the easiest dog ever.

Jazz and I both love our morning croissants- she barks at the barista until she’s served.


She is always ready for a good gab on the couch with me apres coffee.


I’ve been lucky with Jazz. Her health has been amazing. She is 10 ½ years old. However, just last week I noticed she had a growth, acorn size on her backside. I don’t want to get too explicit because it’s in a very unflattering spot.

So, after a week of thinking it would disappear on it’s own – and it didn’t – I took her to the vet. They told me it was a “tumor” and it needed to be removed but because of her heart murmur, which on the scale of 1 to 6 is a 5, means she can’t have general anesthesia.


They told me I needed to biopsy it to determine if it was cancerous and that’s when MY heart murmur started whooshing. My mind was racing and I needed some Jazz medicine. She and I headed to the beach to meditate on all this.

Jazz seemed pretty serene about it all- but me, not so much. With my pulse banging away, I couldn’t help but think about what life would be like without Jazz. Had I brought my computer to the beach I may have just Googled a breeder and put in the order. How could I live without Jazz – and even more — how could I live without a dog – I’m a dog person. The reality is, my husband and I love to travel – our lives are hectic and a new puppy would definitely cramp our mobility – but yet, I can’t imagine not having a dog.

Well, Jazzy had her “acorn” removed by a second opinion Vet who after meeting her for 5 minutes knew local anesthesia would do the trick due to her docile nature. She is now stitched up and handling it all in stride. As I await the biopsy results, here’s what I’ve learned about myself.

  1. I’m in ostrich mode. I don’t want to know the results of the biopsy.
  2. I’m in Buddha mode. I want to just enjoy my doggy as long as she’s not in pain.
  3. I’m in Christian Science mode. I don’t want to give her any drugs.

If you are an empty nester with a dog– and your dog is “aging” what’s your game plan?

Would you get a new puppy or two?

A new dog before your old dog is not around?

No dog?




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