Friday, May 04, 2012
...And your little dog too.
That's me! Do you see me? I'm in picture #1. I am riding the bicycle that takes Toto away from Dorothy.
Only it's not Toto, it's 7-year-old Jenny, and instead of Dorothy, it's my almost 89-year-old mom, and my heart is breaking.
It's odd that the reason we brought Jenny with Mom up to live with us in Maine is that when we first broke the news to Mom she would be coming here, she started crying, saying, "I'll miss my Jenny." To save her from despair, we told her we'd take Jenny with us. Now we're hurting her again.
Logically, it is the only thing to do. Jenny is even heavier than she was at my sister's house, and Mom is more frail and weak and imbalanced. Jenny has run into her bad knee once, and ran under and through the walker a second time, almost knocking it down, and sometimes sleeps half under Mom's bed where when she gets up, she would step on her. Wanting attention, Jenny sometimes puts her front paws on Mom's painful legs and stands on them, putting her whole weight on them, which hurts them even more. When we got a puppy in September (bad move, but could I say to my husband no because we were taking care of my mom and her dog?), Jenny attacked her twice and from then on, we had to keep them separated. Poor Jenny, she likes to be the head female or the only dog, both impossible in this house. Now my sister has got another dog, a female, and if Jenny went back to her house, who knows what would happen, and if she couldn't get along with the new dog, Jenny would have to be taken to a Memphis shelter which euthanizes. No matter where Mom lives in the future, she does not need to even be around a dog because she tends to drop pills and is not able to pick them up - a potentially dangerous situation - not to mention dog toys and bones all over the floor to trip her. Mom can't even bend down anymore to feed Jenny or take care of her in the simplest of tasks.
Here, Jenny is cooped up most of the day behind baby gates, doesn't get good walking (at least all winter), does not get the attention she craves and deserves, and our local shelter assures us they will find her a good match for a loving home, it's spring in Maine and the shelter has no dogs right now and people are wanting to adopt and they told us it will be no problem to adopt her out, and assured us they will be picky about where she goes.....and so logically, this is what needs to be done. For everyone's sake, it is a good move logically.
Logically. Because emotionally, this should never be done, and in a perfect world, it would never be done, it is never a good time to be done, and I feel like the Wicked Witch barreling down the highway.
We had a neighbor who volunteers for the shelter come by to reassure Mom. That helped somewhat.
But the day has finally come.
When she cried last May about missing Jenny, we did the only thing we could - we kept them together. Now we just don't see any other way out.
Jenny is indeed a good dog. She can sit, shake, come when called, loves to go for walks and ride in the car. Her owner, though, is now too disabled to care for her and circumstances at both daughters' homes complicate the situation of caring for her. It will be certainly hard enough to get Mom back home to Tennessee without having to take Jenny too. We are trying to preempt a possible accident that would cause Mom to fall - I can't guarantee it would happen, but if it did and I had done nothing to prevent it - even though I foresaw the probability - I would be devastated.
Poor Mom lost her husband in 1980. She has since lost the use of her right hand, lost much of her vision, lost her normal ambulation, lost her independence, lost her house, and now we are taking her dog. I know she feels her life is crumbling piece by piece.
So I am the one with the old-fashioned dress and hat sitting on the bicycle with the good dog in the basket. It's hard to steer, though, because of the tears streaming down my face.