Puppy Love

With Valentine’s Day looming I thought I’d talk about the importance of love in my mother’s life—specifically, puppy love (and kitty love as well). This love is strong and mutual.

I think that if my mother had to move to an assisted-living facility she might not miss me as much as I’d miss her. She would rapidly get used to whatever caregivers she had; she is generally cheerful and grateful for any help from any person.

On the other hand, I think she would be desperately unhappy without our dog, Truffle, and our cat, Lorelei Lee.

Taffy is more likely to recognize them than she is to recognize me. Even if she doesn’t remember Truffle’s name (this has only happened recently; for a long time Truffle’s was the only name she could call to mind with any consistency) she usually says, “There’s my dog. She’s a good dog.”

Most pet lovers know that the practices of caring for and stroking animals can lower blood pressure and stress.

Our furry companions also provide undemanding companionship—particularly to individuals who suffer from dementia.

Think about it. To Truffle and Lorelei, my mother’s dementia makes little difference to her essence. If they were dependent upon her for meals and exercise, it might matter.  I have been their primary caregiver as well as hers for quite a while, however,  so they don’t expect anything from her but love.

To them, Taffy is actually more appealing now than she was before she got sick. In her prime she was constantly in motion, hardly ever stopping to make a lap yet alone take a nap.

Now she sits or sleeps a lot of the time and always welcomes canine and feline company.

They don’t care that she asks the same questions over and over again.  They love to be talked to; they have little interest in the substance of her conversation. Let’s face it: English is not their first language, although Truffle has quite a large vocabulary.

And, like Taffy, Truffle and Lorelei Lee live in the present. The next caress, the next treat, is all that matters.

She talks to them, sings to them, cuddles them, and rubs them. She also gives them a LOT of food. In exchange, they provide loyalty, companionship, warmth, and unconditional love. 

Unlike her human companions, they don’t try to make her adhere to any schedules or eat nutritious food or bathe at certain times or remember a darn thing.

Lorelei and Truffle also make Taffy laugh—which is great medicine for any ailment.

I know that’s a cliché, but clichés are often true.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us………

Published in: on 11 February 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (14)  
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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. How lucky your Mom is to have both you and the pets around her. Here’s to more laughter, barks, and purrs.

  2. Tinky,
    I love the tribute to your Mom and the animals! So very sweet and so very true!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is wonderful and broght tears to my eyes. Happy V Day to you Tinky

  4. Tinky – what a wonderful essay, and I love the accompanying photo of all three.

  5. When Malcolm’s Dad was in a care home, there was a lady went in regularly with a dog for the residents to stroke and fuss over. This is a recognised therapy here for sick/elderly people. My dogs always knew if I was feeling down, and would cuddle in to me. Lovely photos!!

  6. Tinky, you write so beautifully about your family. I’ve been catching up, having been away from the blogosphere for awhile. So far, Shorty is managing to live on her own, and I guess for 90, that’s a victory of sorts. I haven’t caught her in any dangerous behaviors yet (wandering off, leaving the stove on, things like that), but I am so worried about her forgetting to pay something like the electric bill, I often forget to pay my own. Hang in there, kiddo. I think you’re doing a great job!

  7. Thanks, all! Grad, it sounds to me asthough she is doing very well indeed. She might let you help with the bills; my aunt does this with one of her daughters. On the other hand, I know money can be a sensitive issue!

  8. i ove the pictures of the two of you and that was a lovely post a reminder of what ‘that present’ is really about thanks!

  9. What a cute picture! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your Mom Tinky.

    • The same to you, and thanks, Doris. Jody, what a great way of putting it….

  10. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Jan, Tinky! And also to Truffle and Lorelei Lee. Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend – our dogs and cats are. And they can love us in return.

    • So true, Abigail. Which is not to say I’d say no to diamonds if they were offered, of course!

  11. I cant understand why old age homes and such dont let the occupants take their pets with them or as a matter of course have a cat at least belonging to the home. Animals are so essential to people’s wellbeing.

    • Some places do, Stephanie. In fact, the place we’re looking at as a backup system for my mother allows a pet. But she couldn’t walk a dog or even bend over to clean up cat litter. So it would be hard for her to keep a pet. Luckily, for the moment she is happy with both of them at home! Thanks for stopping by…….

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