By Janet McAfee

My name is Barbie and I’ve heard people say I’m a gorgeous dog.  I’m a brindle Siberian Husky mixed with some German Shepherd, 1-yr-old and 43-lbs. By the way, I am a neutered male!  I think someone wanted me to have a famous name!

I used to live the good life with my human, my brother dog Frank, and my sister pup Nancy before we came to the shelter.  We are young active animals around the same age and we loved to play chase in our backyard.  Occasionally we would get into mischief, and our human Dad would sigh and shake his head.  We knew he loved us because in the evenings we would cuddle together like a family, have a meal, and watch television.

Our lives changed forever on the morning of November 30, 2023.  Our Dad laid in bed and he was very still.  We whined to get his attention, occasionally nudging him as the hours passed.  We 3 dogs laid faithfully by his side surrounding him forming a loving triangle.  Thankfully, he always had 3 bowls of water for us.  Night arrived and we slept restlessly.


On December 2, police officers arrived with our next-door neighbor.  We barked at the police when they herded us out of the room.  More men arrived and they took our Dad away and our hearts broke as we tried to run after him.  Our neighbor frantically called our Dad’s son, but he lived far away and could not come for us. Our neighbor had tears in her eyes when she told us she could not take us but she would “ask around”.

More men arrived in a white truck and placed us into the back of their vehicle. We were frozen in fear as they drove us to a large building in Thousand Palms.  We could the loud barking of other dogs.  They put the 3 of us in the same large kennel.  We were afraid but at least we were together.

A nice woman named Cheryl took these beautiful photos to help get us new homes.  However, we are still waiting here at the end of January.   We 3 are now URGENT because it’s so crowded here.  Some of the other dogs got adopted always one at a time.  We understand we probably will split up in different homes.  That’s ok, we just need loving homes to heal our hearts.

Come meet us at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus, 72-050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms, open 10am to 4pm Monday through Friday.  Ask a staff person to take one of to a private visiting area where we won’t be as frightened.  I will be relaxed and happy again once I’m in your car on the freedom ride home!  Call (951)358-7387 with questions.


Sadly, over 700,000 cats and dogs end up in public shelters every year due to the death or incapacity of their humans.  Used to being in family homes, many become despondent or frightened in a kennel setting, and some end up euthanized for a variety of reasons.

The Coachella Valley is a retirement community and most seniors here have no plan for their pets if they suddenly pass away or enter assisted living. The phone often rings at Loving All Animals with a familiar tale, “My mother died, and she left 3 dogs and 2 cats behind.  I leave town tomorrow, and my landlord doesn’t allow pets.”  You may tell yourself, “If anything happens to me, my kids will take my dog.”  However, when the time comes they may have a full house of critters.  Real estate agents and landlords tell of the tragedy of pets left behind in vacant homes, starving and traumatized.

If you have an agreement with someone to take your pet, check in periodically to see if their situation has changed.  Arrange for them to receive funds to cover veterinary care and other pet expenses.

Palm Desert attorney, Henry Casden Esq. advises, “The California probate code allows one to create a trust and put assets there to fund care for the pets they leave behind. Those expenses can include food, veterinary care and grooming.  If they care about their domestic animals, including dogs, cats, or birds, people should make a plan for where those animals will go.  They can name a person as trustee who will oversee the distribution of the funds to care for them.  I especially recommend a pet trust for anyone who is in their 70’s or 80’s, as well as anyone who is in frail health.”  Casden does pet trusts and can be reached at (855) 447-4442.

Do you want your beloved pet to end up heartbroken in a public shelter?  Make a solid agreement with a friend or relative to take custody of your pet and check in periodically to see if their situation has changed. Consult with an attorney about a pet trust. Whether you are 33 or 83 years old, have a plan in place for the pets you love in case you can no longer care for them.

Most people assume they’ll outlive their pets, says Barry Seltzer, a Toronto-based estate lawyer and co-author of Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs: How to Leave (Some of) Your Estate to Your Pet.  Death and disability are topics many people refuse to face. The situation prompted Seltzer to pen a modified version of the Bible’s Proverbs 29:18.