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The Dog

Since I moved in here five years ago, Mom lobbied for a dog. I don’t really know what it was all about, but Dad kept saying no, so she just dreamed.

Well, she did more than dream. She researched. She knew exactly what breed of dog she wanted – a Cavachon. And she knew what color, white with apricot.

One day, she jokingly said something about getting a dog and Dad said okay. Both of us nearly fell off of our chairs.

She set to work finding a source for her pet, which I honestly think she’d already identified. There was a local breeder who came highly recommended, so we watched their website. This was about 18 months into my stay here and just when COVID closures were beginning.

I reached out to the company to see if we could visit, but he explained that because of COVID, we couldn’t. He also explained the whole process of when and how things worked. I had the timing now and I was ready.

They had three Cavachons listed, but no photos. He told me when the photos would go live and when the dogs could be purchased. He also explained that when a batch of dogs were available for purchase, they didn’t last the morning.

On the scheduled morning, I was up, bright and early continuously refreshing the screen until the purchase button appeared. There were two females and that’s what Mom wanted. They looked identical, so I chose one and hit the button. I couldn’t have been more than a minute or two past when they were available. I hurriedly went through the process, paid for our little furry friend, captured her photo and we had a dog.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pick her up for a few weeks yet, as she wasn’t weaned, but when that morning in May came, we drove the twenty minutes in complete excitement. During the weeks after purchasing Charli, Mom had purchased a crate (no, not just any crate but a wooden one), a car seat, assorted leashes, and toys.

We also had little cozy dens for her to sleep in and a few beds. We never said a word to Dad because he probably didn’t remember saying yes. We drove out to get her and oh man was she stinkin’ cute! Mom held her on the way home and they’ve been fast friends ever since.

Dad came out to see what was up when we got back home. His scowl lasted about three minutes. We brought her in and set all four or five pounds of her down on the floor. It took about another thirty seconds for him to be sucked in too.

I talk about Charli to share with you what an asset she truly has become. While she can be a pain in my neck, she’s a treasure to both of them. She’s about as spoiled as a dog can be and she has a funny personality, but she does so much good for them that she’s worth whatever annoyance she can be to me.

She greets both of them every morning. Mom is thoroughly tickled to see her and Charli doesn’t disappoint, sitting at her feet and nosing into her for love.

When Dad gets up, she’s sure to greet him too. Amazingly, it didn’t take him long to remember her name, although he consistently thinks she’s older than her 3.5 years.

The only challenge we have is that we can’t leave her alone with him. He thinks that letting her out means opening the front (or back) door. We’ve placed gates outside on the front porch and back deck so she can’t immediately run away, but I think Mom and I both live in fear that he’ll let her past those gates.

When the two of us leave, my oldest daughter babysits her if we can’t take her with us. When we’re all home, she’s either in my presence or Mom’s. Fortunately, he’s never figured out that we don’t leave her with him.

If you have an elderly loved one and you can, at the very least, bring a pet for them to cuddle and play with from time to time, please do so. Pets have a way of sneaking into our hearts, but they also have a way of being the friend your loved one might be missing.

Petting an animal has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, and our elderly population lives under more stress and anxiety than you can imagine. They worry about everything. Some worries are valid, others not so much, but they’re real to them and that’s what matters.

If you’re living with someone elderly and there aren’t allergies, consider adding a pet to your home. I truly believe it’s one thing you won’t regret, even when you’re the one cleaning up after them and giving them a bath.

What’s your experience with the elderly and pets?

What'cha thinkin?