Such A Little Thing, But Is it?


Such A Little Thing, But Is it?

True confession – I sometimes like to spend more time with my dogs than with people. I have 2 dogs – Malke (a therapy dog for Caregiver Canines®) and Coco (the boss). My dogs provide me nonjudgmental, no baggage- attached pure love and stress relief.

Coco is a 12 pound Morkie who we adopted from a rescue when she was 1 years old.  As soon as she came into our lives,   she was a force to be reckoned with.  She quickly assumed the role of “queen of the castle.”  She is also an incredibly affectionate bundle of joy.

My husband and I very have few rules when it comes to our “girls”, but one rule we worked  really hard to achieve is to not feed them table food and to train them not to beg while we’re eating.  Believe me, they are very well fed and gets lots of doggie treats!  It’s just that we want them to stay healthy and so many dogs develop joint issues when they’re overweight.

So, after a lot of time and effort, they both know to go to a little mat in the kitchen where we give them a bone while we eat dinner.  What does this have to do with caregiving you ask?  Well, all this went completely out the window after my mother moved in and began eating her meals with us.

Despite us asking her not to, she immediately began sneakily feeding Coco parts of her dinner under the table. This causes a viscous cycle of Coco begging and more sneakier feeding.  If we put Coco in another room, she howls like a banshee.

I don’t want this to turn into a dog-training blog, my point is, that it makes me CRAZY that my mother totally disregards our wishes not to feed Coco. It seems so small when I say it and when I write it.

My mother totally knows that we don’t want her to do this and totally disregards our wishes.   When we say something to her, she just smirks and says “it’s not a big deal; I just gave her a small piece.”  This behavior began before the onset of her dementia, so it is not dementia related.  She absolutely knows we don’t want her to feed Coco and she does her best Houdini act to hide doing it.

For some reason, this pushes all my buttons!!  I feel incredibly resentful, angry and disrespected.   I’m wondering if other caregivers have that one thing that on the surface is not a huge deal, but just makes you crazy?  I’m wondering if this is just a symbol of feeling totally out of control of my life and not being able to express anger towards her because she is so vulnerable.  I’m wondering “is this just me?” and I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill?

Honestly, I’m hesitant to post this because it does seem so small in the scheme of things and the myriad stresses of life as caregiver.  But, I promised to be honest in my blog posts, and would love to know if anyone can relate to this?


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Kathy Koenig

Lynette,\r\nThank you for your post. I'm glad you felt you could be honest and share your frustrations. Sometimes there are those things that \"push our buttons,\" that might seem out of proportion the event. But, they accumulate, especially when you are taking care of someone vulnerable. Lots of things feel out of control. It's tough, too, because part of the rule is related to how you are caretaking for your beloved pets. I hope that a solution emerges so you can have some peace and the mountain can be reduced to more of a mole hill. Until then, know you are heard and understood.