Michelle, Nick & Papi’s Story

Josephine TempongkoUncategorized3 Comments

Michelle and her father Nick suffered a tremendous loss when her mother Sandy passed away suddenly. Their greatest comfort came in the smallest of packages – their dog Papi, adopted from HSSV in 2020.

This is their story:

“In the summer of 2020, we had to put my parents’ chihuahua Fancy to sleep. They lasted about a month before my Mom said, “We need another dog.” We adopted Papi in August 2020. At the time, my Mom was on year two of battling cancer. She was ill, but it was a sudden loss, the way things happened. When she went to the hospital, we thought she was coming back, but she didn’t.

Since then, my Dad and I have had a lot of struggles in our relationship running a household together, absorbing roles that she had, and trying to go through this grief process. Having this common bond with this little dog has kept us talking. At the very base level, Papi kept us communicating and getting through another day.  

Papi got me off the couch and helped keep me from being depressed. I lost 20 lbs. when we first got him walking him when my mom was still sick and after she passed, he kept me talking to people. He kept me social and active, kept me getting up in the morning. I had a reason to get up and go, and a purpose to keep me from just sitting there and spending most of my time grieving.  

My Dad was with my Mom from the age of 19 to 76. He’s had it the roughest, and there’s absolutely no way he would have made it without Papi. Papi sits with my dad during the day, and sleeps with him. If he’s having a bad day, he’ll come sit in his lap and lick his face. He seems to know when something’s going on. When my Dad is feeling the worst is when he is the most loving. Papi gives him hope and helps him to feel connected to my Mom.  

Papi always does something really funny that gets us to focus on him and gets us laughing. It lightens the day. I think it helps us get along better. Grief can be difficult and it can be different every day, and the one common thing is Papi. You just don’t know what he’s going to do, and it adds a lot of humor to the household which really helps us. 

I wasn’t ready for a dog. I know how much work it is.. but with Papi, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s an addition to my life I never thought I’d have room or time for, but it’s just effortless. It’s a relationship with an animal that I didn’t know I would ever have. He came at the right time because I don’t know if we’d be able to get through all this without him. I think he’s instrumental in keeping our relationship together as father and daughter, and in helping us get through this grief journey.” 

3 Comments on “Michelle, Nick & Papi’s Story”

  1. Michelle: Although I am a stranger to you, I immediately bonded with you and your dad, Nick seeing this video. I also have suffered the loss of my parents and the love of pets of my life. I started to cry seeing how much Papi has been such a blessing to your family! My very best wishes to all of you! From: Dennis in San Jose, CA

  2. So honored to represent HSSV in the Petco Love story contest. We are grateful we’ve inspired so many people, so far! Love, Michelle, Nick & Papi Lenchanko

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