Gini’s Mom was becoming more insistent that Celtic (our Boston Terrier) was “hers”, and he wasn’t as thrilled with the idea. She would pick him up and carry him around (he’s really way too heavy for that); when she put him in her lap, he was too heavy and uncomfortable for her. Plus, he’d “escape” the first chance he got, and run to Gini.
A Dog of Her Own
We decided to take her to the pound, along with Celtic (to make sure a new dog would get along), to see if we could find one she would like. At first, she kept telling us she liked Celtic and didn’t want to “take him to the pound”, but she finally calmed down, and off we went to the North Richland Hills Animal Adoption & Rescue Center.
We thought we had finally convinced her we weren’t getting rid of him; but every dog we looked at, she’d find something wrong. I finally figured it out – she still thought we were “trading in” Celtic for another dog. I took her aside, and had a long talk with her. I let her know that Celtic is Ava’s dog, and he really likes to sit next to Gini; so to keep him happy, we’re going to let her have her own dog. He would sit with her, and the new dog and Celtic would be friends. That we had even brought Celtic along to make sure the new dog got along with him. She finally smiled and I think she understood.
“Do Not Want” Dog
Once that hurdle was crossed, she was less resistant to looking at the dogs. Gini and I had settled on a little dog that looked like some sort of poodle/yorkie/mutt mix. Mostly white, very friendly, and small enough for her to hold and carry. We thought we had a winner!
Yeah, she was having none of it.
Instead, she took us around to the front of the cages to the glassed in area. There sat this smarmy looking semi-rat dog who was cowering and and wagging his tail at the same time. Basically, everything I would have in my own personal “do not want” list for a dog.
Of course, we weren’t picking out a dog for me; this was for Betty. Turns out that during all of those trips around the cages, when she refused to consider “trading in” Celtic, she saw little rat-dog and fell in love with him. It turns out that was a good thing too; when we went to the counter to ask about him, we found out his back story. He was one of three sibling dogs that had been left with a family member when the owners had to move out of their home. The new owners could not keep them long term, and gave them all to the NRH shelter as they were moving. His brother and sister were gone, he had been there for 2 weeks after the others were taken, and was very he was lonely. Things weren’t looking great for little rat-dog.
The staff told us that his name was “Nate-Dog”, and he was a chihuahua-dachshund mix (a “chi-weenie” as we later discovered). Betty smiled and said “I’ve called him ‘Bubbie’ ever since he was little“. I guess I had some sort of “Oh no, not a rat-dog” look on my face, because the worker behind the counter said “Adoptions are normally $100, but if you put him in her name, it would be only $60” (they have a senior citizen discount).
So, out we went into the fenced in outside area with Celtic and Nate-Dog, with Betty holding the leash. The dogs sniffed what dogs sniff for a few minutes, and seemed to generally get along. Betty walked him around for a few minutes, then sat on the bench watching him. Every time I asked her if she wanted to keep the dog, she said yes; but when I would ask if she was ready to go home, she would say no.
As I write this, I’m not really sure what was going on there. Maybe she was afraid that she was going to have to give him back when it was time to go; however, there’s a part of me that hopes it was something else. Maybe, just maybe, for that 45 minutes or so she sat on the bench holding that smarmy little rat-dog on the end of his leash; this poor lady was transformed back 75 years or so, back to that little girl playing with her little puppy “Bubbbie”. Maybe the transformation brought her some hard-found memories, and a few moments of real happiness. I hope so.
I finally let her know it was time to go, and that we would be taking Nate-Dog home with us. She smiled, and we headed to the counter to take care of the paperwork. He had already gotten his “procedure” done (I still wonder why they call that “fixed”, when there’s nothing broken) and his shots finished, so he was ready to go. I think she smiled herself to sleep. It appears they’ve bonded.
My Mother-in-Law Betty
Betty Hartnett is Gini’s mother. She came to live with us on August 16 2015, and on February 1, 2019 she moved 3 miles away to a nursing home. She passed away on July 5, 2019.
She came to live with us because she was suffering the the effects of Alzheimer’s, and could no longer care for herself. When she first came to live with us, she was still very much aware of her surroundings, but as the disease progressed, her memory faded. She lived with us until the disease progressed to the point that she needed 24 hour care, which we simply were not able to give.
I’ve written about her here from time to time. You’ve heard the term “bitter-sweet”, I consider these things “funny-sad” in that you have to find what humor you can in such a sad sad situation.