What have we gotten ourselves into?



We pulled out of the breeder’s driveway without a dog, in particular without Matinee. I couldn’t do it. We weren’t prepared, we didn’t have a crate, we didn’t have a leash, and we didn’t have any grooming supplies. I didn’t even know what to feed her. No, this was not going to happen, maybe later on when we were more settled, but not now.

I looked over at Mark and he had the look of a kid in a candy shop. He was smiling from ear to ear.

‘Isn’t she great!’ he exclaimed.

‘Yeah, she’s beautiful, but I’m not sure she is the one for us.’ I said quietly.

‘What? Of course she is, let’s go to the pet store and buy a crate so we can pick her up tomorrow.’ He said. ‘I’ll go to the bank and get the money out or I’ll write a cheque’.

Whoa, you are moving too fast, I thought. There are many things that to be considered, for instance, who is going to take her out when we are in the city? Oh no, this was moving way too quickly. In fact, I still had to visit Mom at the long-term care facility later in the afternoon. I actually looked forward to visiting her as I could put this all aside for a while to escape.

‘Come on, you know you fell in love with her!’ he said happily. ‘She had such a great personality.’

Crap, I thought. He really thinks this is a done deal. Sometimes I wished I could live in his head having no worries and everything would work out – happy go lucky attitude. I needed time.

‘C’mon, let’s just drop into the pet store on the way home’ he said excitedly.

‘Okay’, I said sighing.

We drove awhile then spotted a large pet store and I turned into the lot. What the hell were we getting ourselves into? Why did it seem like I was caving in?

We exited the car and walked into the huge pet supply outlet. All right then, I was going to pick up some toys for our cats, Sigfried and Roy. How would they feel with a dog entering our house? What if they didn’t get along? Was I over thinking this whole thing? I didn’t think so, these were living animals that needed to be cared for, and I wasn’t sure I was up to the task. I don’t even think that Mark had thought it all the way through. Yet, here we were heading over to the crates and carriers section of the store. As usual Mark picked out the biggest and best crate along with a pet car barrier, nothing was too good for our new dog. Did I just think that? Our dog? Great, it was a done deal, I thought exasperated.

We checked out, ka-ching, and headed home so I could drop him off and visit Mom.

I walked through the doors of Woodlawn acres swiftly so I could have some quality time with Mom. I went up the elevator to the second floor and found her in the lounge. I sauntered over to her and she greeted me with a smile and chuckle. My heart melted. Although she no longer spoke and was in a wheelchair, she communicated through body language. She was content and happy now at this stage of her Alzheimer’s disease. She was also completely dependent on staff at all times for her daily needs, but at least, as far as I could tell, her demons had vanished. I bent down on my knees and gave her a big hug and kiss, which always made her laugh.

A staff member came over and said to me ‘you know she knows who you are, don’t you? She only smiles like that when you arrive.’

I looked at the staff member smiling and said ‘thank you, but I don’t think she knows exactly who I am, but because I am here so regularly and I make her laugh, she knows that she likes me.’

That was one of the things with this disease, the loss of recollection. It never seemed to bother me that she may have not known I was her daughter. The fact that I could make her smile and travel into her world was all that mattered. Sometimes, her world was not so bad; it definitely was an escape for me at different points of my life.

I stood behind her and wheeled her into the pet area. I picked up one of the bunny rabbits and placed it on her lap while telling her about my day and the ‘dog’. Through the laughter and rabbit cuddles, she looked up at me and smiled. Did she understand anything I was telling her? Probably not, but at that moment, I decided we would pick up Matinee the next day. Everything would work out, I just had to remind myself that sometimes in life, you have to take chances and not to take things so seriously. Mom made me realize that every time I visited, and I loved her so much for it.


© 2014 Paula Bilz. All Rights Reserved.


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