“His name is Garfunkel,” mom said over the phone as I struggled to hear her over the yapping noise in the background. “Your dad said those five degenerates down the street didn’t want him anymore.”
“Degenerates?” I asked. “You mean the nice family with three young children?”
“Yes, them,” she replied, “I couldn’t bear to think about the possibility of them placing the poor soul in a shelter, so we saved him.”
“So, let me get this straight, you thought it would be a good idea to take in a young dog that is in the prime years of his active life to come join you in your less than prime, far less active life? Well I think that is just the best idea you’ve thought of!” said no concerned child of elderly parents EVER!
This is a little more accurate representation of my response… “What were you thinking mom? I mean, were you thinking? It’s a puppy! A puppy that will likely outlive you guys in fact! And we just got dad home care because you couldn’t handle caring for him by yourself anymore. Never mind the fact that you basically have placed the responsibility of the dog on me, because I assure you, a puppy will be an incredibly difficult addition right now. Have you guys even thought about the costs involved in having a pet?”
I could hear footsteps quickly approaching the receiver on the phone.
“I’m sorry sweetie, I put you on speaker because Garfunkel piddled on the floor and I didn’t want your dad to slip and fall if he stepped in it,” she replied sounding rather winded.
I smacked the palm of my hand on my forehead. She just made a better case for my concern. “I’ll be over in a minute mom. Please just promise me you won’t adopt a ‘Simon’ to complete the duo.”
After talking with mom, she expressed that she’d been thinking for a while about getting a furry companion, and the opportunity fell into her lap. With my dad’s everyday abilities declining with age, and their inability to travel like they used to, she was feeling rather depressed and lonely. I mean, I can’t blame her. My mom, the affable chatty Cathy, wasn’t exactly married to a gregarious talkative Tom, so I could understand the need for a social animal.
She also admitted that relinquishing her control to a caregiver for dad, left her feeling without purpose. Being able to care for the little fur ball helped fill that void, and being able to make a decision as big as this, made her feel like she wasn’t completely losing her independence to make life decisions.
So, after our talk, and my need to find her a more rational outlet for companionable contact, I gave her my word that I would work diligently at including them more in family activities. So, a promise to have my parents over for dinner twice a week at my house ended up being a win-win for me. It meant she could visit with her grandchildren more often, and they could play “let’s ask a thousand nonsensical questions” with someone other than me for a few hours.