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………