Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cindy Through The Glass

The plants had been watered, the wind was blowing and the clouds were moving like passing ships on the horizon. I looked through the glass on the door leading to the deck as I folded the towels, and Cindy was listening to every word she said. Her head was cocked to one side, almost as if she had questions of her own, but moaned instead,  just before falling off to sleep with a yawn and a "thump" landing with her chin on the slatted wooden floor. It was a very close one-sided partnership of sharing and listening. There was no judgement, just love and an occasional gesture of physical affection. Cindy liked to get her belly scratched, and Lori's 84 year old mother liked to lavish Cindy with ear rubs, table scraps and long winded conversations.

Mornings were met with the same routine. A 6 AM walk and then kibbles falling hard like granite pebbles into a  round plastic bowl. A symphony of canine crunching, lip smacking, snorting and  then the worst habit of all, Cindy's unladylike elegance of always drooling on the floor.  Cindy liked to lay facing the closed bedroom door because she knew at any moment, even if she had to wait 2 to 3 hours, that Lori's mother would soon appear with her love-filled toothless smile in her nightgown, slippers, disheveled hair and half-buttoned robe. And then, a greeting unlike any other Cindy would jump, run in circles and yelp with such passion and gratefulness at once again seeing her long lost friend. It was almost cruel to have trained Cindy to not enter Lori's mother's room.  But Cindy was a very large girl weighing over 85 pounds, and would surely want to sleep in the bed, leaving very little room for a human to have a restful sleep. They were joined at the hip, two as one. An old woman and her dog!

So, was the research true about pets helping people to live longer lives? Research about blood pressure being lowered, immune levels going up, and people with dementia having better outcomes? Maybe so. And why not? What are the side effects of having pets around, as long as a caregiver is present to see to the needs of feeding and walking the animal care partner? And with that being said, is there a void that pets meet as care partners that human care givers have yet to learn?  Are we doing this whole thing wrong?  Maybe we ought to listen and observe more to what the animals are teaching us? Questions worth pondering indeed!

Lori was almost finished folding the laundry and then looked out the window. Lori's mother was pointing up to the sky, and Cindy was following her pointed hand. Lori's mother looked like she was giving a lecture to Cindy, and Cindy was sitting up and wagging her tail. The curiosity was mounting in Lori's mind, so Lori went outside and sat in the cushioned chair beside her mother.

 "Wow, mother it is a beautiful day today, and the air is so crisp. What are you thinking right now, mom?" "I'm thinking about the trees and the clouds, " said Lori's mother. "Really?  And what are the clouds telling you, mom?" "They are showing me faces, and the trees have seen so much history, Lori."  "I wish the trees could talk, " said Lori's mom. "Well, if they could talk to us right now, what do you think they would say?"( Lori was always so happy to hear her mother expressing herself, because there were many moments when her mother would just sit in silence, and would give two word sentences, "I'm fine." She would and could spend hours in the same chair looking off into space, saying nothing, but, "I'm fine," followed by silence. However, after inviting Cindy to be her constant companion, that all ended. Lori's mother had become a chatterbox.  )

 Lori's mother's face glowed in the sunlight underneath the blue, cloud filled sky. "Well, you see that boulder over there?" Lori's mother pointed to the boulder underneath the pine tree in the neighbor's yard. "The trees would tell us that there is a hidden treasure underneath that rock, buried by confederate soldiers." Lori's mother said. "And what else would the trees say?" Lori enjoyed seeing her mother come to life, and enjoyed sharing these moments with her. "I'm afraid there would be sadness, too Lori," said Lori's mother. "What kind of sadness, mom?" "Sadness of a war, Lori. The soldiers would camp underneath the trees, and would eat hardtack and beans. They would write letters to their families around a campfire, letters of "good-bye" not knowing if they would live another day, and the trees would see it all." (Lori's mother would then, without giving Lori a chance to answer shift from saying something profound, to totally changing the subject like four year old's often do. ) "You see that cloud over there?" Lori's mother had so much enthusiasm in her voice at that moment, that Cindy too appeared to have a smile on her face, and started wagging her tail, almost as if she understood what her favorite companion was saying. Lori's mother then started laughing a hearty laugh. "What do you see, mom?" Lori stretched her head up to the sky, and there as clear as a bell, was the shape of a floating rabbit in the clouds. The ears, the body and the tail, slowly moving in the clouds. "Do you see it, Lori?" I do, mother, I see it!" Lori, too was laughing. "It's a bunny rabbit in the clouds, Lori!"  "I see it mom, I see it."

Then all of the attention was on Cindy who was filled with energetic enthusiasm. "Cindy, BUNNY RABBIT, BUNNY RABBIT!!"  Then Cindy flew off of the porch and ran into the woods. Lori's mother laughed and laughed. "Well, we won't tell her the bunny isn't real, " said Lori's mother. "The trees are calling her, and she is happily living in her own world," said Lori's mother taking in a deep sigh, wearing a contented grin.  "She is happily living in her own world!"

Copyright 2014 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama  Nicey

The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics.  How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.

 

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