Best Friends Again was formed to help alleviate the worry of pet care for our loved companions for hospice patients, both while alive and after their death.
We will lend a hand to assist in efforts as requested. We will help care for the pet(s) while the patient is alive and at home as desire. In cases where a prospective future caregiver has not been identified we will work with our own potential adopters as well as existing pet rescue and care organizations, seeking home placement and assistance in hospice patients pet care. We will monitor and oversee the pets care throughout the rest of their lives, trying to make sure their remaining lives are as happy and as good of quality as can be.
If there are special provisions in a pet trust that need carried out and are in the pets best interests, we will see that those are accomplished. We will try to match pets placement with homes similar to those the pet was in. The goal is to provide a nice quality of life for the pets, allowing a transition time between dying owners and future owners wherever possible and giving dying patients peace of mind knowing their loved companion(s) will live on and be cared for after their death.
I am Cristy "Cris" Ellingson-Jett, widow of Ken Jett. Life with Ken could often be an interesting and unpredictable experience. I feel privileged to have been a part of his life and to have been able to be there for him in the twilight of his life while he coped with the ravages of cancer.
Cristy “Cris” was born in South Dakota, at first living in a small one room house with her parents on her fathers family farm. Employment found the young family moving to Tacoma, Washington but yearly going back to South Dakota to see family there. Those visits included many encounters with animals, be it bottle feeding lambs and raccoons, helping care for an injured bird or gathering eggs with her grandmother.
Her childhood home always had a variety of finches, dogs and cats. There was even a pet white rat, “George,” a former school room pet that ended up with the family at the end of the school year. Cris found comfort with many a pet over the years. Whenever she could she tried to help provide the same comfort and care to them when they needed it.
Currently her home is shared with indoor birds including two parakeets “Mr. and Mrs.”, a blue fronted Amazon parrot “Patsy” and two Jenday Conures, “Sun E Day” and “Cute E Pie”. As you can imagine it can be a little noisy in the house, especially when they feel a need to join in conversations. There are two cats indoors, Mouser and Smokey, two dogs, a miniature pinscher “Charly” and her brother, Doberman “Drogo.” Outside more critters, including cats, ducks, chickens, two goats, one sheep, five pigs, numerous rabbits, some wild birds and a few mice. In the past there have also been cattle and horses.
Cris explains that “twenty years ago a neighbors cat had kittens in my laundry room, entering through a former dryer hose hole. I was surprised one day when I was moving clothes from the washer to the dryer and was surprised to see a small kitten at my feet. Investigation revealed one or two additional kittens. I called the neighbor and they came up to see the little discoveries.
At the time I was working fulltime as well as holding down an additional job and tried hard to make ends meet. As I could I got the cats fixed and rehomed but did not keep up. Soon there were more kittens and I didn’t know what to do. I fed them and housed them, later dealing with another neighbor who didn’t like cats and threatened to kill them all.”
One day an ad for free breakfast in exchange for helping care for cats caught her eye. “I met some women who worked to get cats neutered, vaccinated and homed or placed back where they came from. Some cats were tame, many others were feral. Over the years adoption events and activities have introduced me to a number of very interesting, like minded people who dedicate their lives to helping our furry friends and voiceless animals who need help.”
Cris and another neighbor went to volunteer their services to the small rescue. Cris says, “we learned how to clean cat cages, traps and carriers and how to tame kittens and cats, if they were tamable. We were introduced to resources available to get cats neutered at low or no cost, how to trap cats and working within the system to improve the lives of cats. Extra cats at my home were neutered, vaccinated and rehomed. I ended up volunteering with three rescue organizations and helped several others. We could see euthanasia rates being lowered through the efforts of the rescues. I could not imagine myself trapping cats but I was made aware of the often harsh existence feral cats endure living outside, was trained and did indeed trap many. I helped transport hundreds of cats over the years. I learned placing these uncared for cats in “barn homes” and such locations as businesses, garages and places with rodent infestations was a win-win for both the cats appreciated for their “rodent removal” skills and for the cats, now provided with a steady supply of food and shelter. I also have shared in the adoption of rescue pets and placed some pets with great homes and people who provide them with a family and love.”
First hand Cris understands the importance pets make in our lives and the heartbreak losing them can be. She can recall only one time in her life when she and her two sisters did not live with a pet. “To me they are a part of the fabric and good things in life” she explains.