Every few days I have long distance phone conversations between myself and my 90 year old mother, and also my older brother Je, retired from the trucking business. In Wisconsin Je lives an hour's drive from our mother, who has multiple long-term care specialists looking in on her daily. We, along with my other older brother, Jo, hope to keep her in her home for the duration, because that's what she wants and we're trying really hard to make it happen, although we have our doubts. Especially Je and me.
|Illustration by Enrico Pinochi, early comic artist and Disney illustrator|
|"Marco" Wood engraving, Carl Montford|
A few days ago, after visiting her, Je loaded his two wonderful dogs ( a springer and a golden) in his car, and she said "You're taking them? After all the times I've had them? You're taking them?" She was exaggerating of course; she hasn't had those boys for a weekend in quite a few years, but it went straight to Je's heart, my big tough brother. He called me, and we talked. Our older brother, Jo, it turns out, had tried to take a dog to her a couple of years ago, a little shitszue lap-dog. She had sneered, "That is NOT a dog." End of discussion.
And now she simply cannot handle any dog, no matter what she thinks. Conked out on painkillers and the exhaustion that comes with 9 decades, she sleeps until 12:00 many days. This is not the lifestyle for most dogs, who must be greeted, exercised and fed by 9:00AM.
But what about a cat?
|Miniature painting by Clarissa Peters (1809-1854)|
Je and I made a plan. On Wednesday he plans to take her to the animal shelter, where he hopes she will be attracted to a cat. A cat that he will be willing to take when it outlives her. Because no animal should have to go back to a shelter, and Je and I are are both willing to teach our dogs to respect a new cat if that's what it comes to. Especially this cat.