Toby: What? You are going away for Thanksgiving!? No turkey in the house this year?

It’s 5:45 AM and I have just woken up from the worst night’s sleep.

In a few hours, I will be on a plane headed to Florida for my first holiday away from Toby, my fur son and Bella and DiDi, my fur sisters.

This year, our family agreed to be together as a whole at a destination for this holiday.

Ever since my grandmother, the glue that bound us all, passed away in July, there has been this palpable fear among my relatives that family holidays may cease to exist.

So, in the spirit of family and togetherness (the 70 degree weather isn’t bad either), I am Florida-bound and Poodle-less.

The fact that Toby knows that I am leaving, even though I have yet to pack is single shred of clothing, is tugging at my heart.

Last night, he cuddled extra close to me on the couch as we watched TV.

I began to cry and he licked away my tears.

I have left Toby before for business travel and one short but sweet personal getaway.

With Bella and DiDi, they became accustomed to my coming back and forth to their home from college and/or my previous life in NYC.

However, this is different.

To me, a holiday is about family gathering and without a doubt Toby, Bella and DiDi are family.

Bella and DiDi at Christmas

Bella and DiDi: You’re darn right we are family!

Last night after my tears were licked away, I tried to consider the other side of the coin in this situation–I am lucky to be going away to a nice place for the holiday.

Many people would welcome a warm weather break from cooking, impending snowstorms and hosting guests.

Could it be that, I am TOO attached to these dogs?

While I was engaged in an introspective state, I took this question a step further.

Is this why I am still single, because I love my dogs so much?

Have I gone overboard with my love and bond with these dogs, especially Toby?

I don’t really know the answers to my own questions.

The connection I have with Toby and Bella and DiDi is incredibly special and that they have helped me through things that the humans in my family could not.

If that is what some call a “crazy dog person” then I am crazy for sure.

What I know for sure is that this Thanksgiving will be different from those that came before.

It’s not all about the dogs.

I will deeply miss the fiery woman who used to sit at the head of the family table.

The one who cared so passionately about me finding happiness in all aspects of life.

As I sit here with Toby at my feet, I know she would understand my sadness about a Thanksgiving without the dogs.

Then she would reassure me that they will be fine and to get my act together.

With that in mind, I am off to pack.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!