What Were They Thinking?


What Were They Thinking?

This is a story from before my parents moved to assisted living. I think I had buried it deep in my brain somewhere, hoping to forget about it. However, as our chihuahua puppies come closer to being adoption age and we filled out papers to adopt one to keep here, this memory suddenly came back.

For the most part, my siblings and I have gotten along quite well, even on this journey with my parents. How much of that is due to the fact we live in four different states, I'm not sure, but whatever it is, I'm glad we get along... almost all the time. There was one time...

The summer after my mom started into her severe dementia/paranoia/psychosis period, my siblings happened to be in town for a combined birthday party for both my parents. Mom was turning 80, Dad was turning 85. We had a delightful party with several cousins in attendance, even one who came out from California. Mom mostly thought he was her brother instead of her nephew, but that was okay. They do look alike.

My Brother In Charge of Finances was only in town for a few days. My sister and younger brother stayed longer. They were staying with my parents. Mom and Dad had always had dogs -- little poodles. They were lap dogs who loved my dad to pieces. My dad fed them all the wrong stuff, but they were lucky. The poodles generally lived a fairly long life. They had lost their last one just months ago and both my parents missed her terribly. They talked a lot about getting another dog, but I knew Dad had his hands full just taking care of Mom. And Mom was fast approaching the need for residential care.

Just a day or two before my sibs went back home, Mom called me to announce they had gotten a dog. WHAT?? How the heck did that happen? Seems my two sibs had arranged the adoption through a local rescue group, helped them fill out the papers, and Brother In Charge of $ paid for it.

No one...NO ONE bothered to tell me about this. I'm thinking, this is a two-year-old dog. What happens to it when Mom and Dad have to leave home? What happens if Dad can't take care of it properly? What happens if this dog knocks Dad over? It was a miniature Schnauzer, a small, but very strong dog. Maggie did pull my dad over the first time he tried to walk her.

What was done, was done, and there was nothing I could do about it, except yell at my sibs. Mom and Dad loved Maggie, despite her strength. Dad didn't try walking her after that first time. They gave her a good life. Well, they indulged her anyway. Dad fed her as he had fed all his dogs, only more so. He felt she had been abused and obviously never had had enough to eat because she would wolf down everything he gave her. Mom went deeper into her psychosis and often would demand something for dinner, only to refuse to eat it. The dinner often went to Maggie. They'd get Wendy's hamburgers, take a few bites, feel full, and... You guessed it, Maggie would end up with the larger part of two meals, burgers and fries.

I talked to Mom and Dad about this, many times. My daughter came with me and would take Maggie for walks. Maggie was gaining weight, of course, but seemed healthy enough. When I took Maggie for her shots, I talked to the vet. The vet never seemed concerned, but just brushed it off.VID00009

Maggie lived only a few years before dying "suddenly" of severe diabetes and kidney failure. She didn't show any noticeable symptoms until the day before she died. My daughter was heartbroken. I felt horribly guilty. Why hadn't I just taken the dog home with me? Could I have done that? My parents never got the connection between Maggie's illness and what they were feeding her.

Maggie had been a puppy mill mama. Maybe these few years were okay for her. She was certainly loved. But her illness and death didn't have to happen.

They talked about getting another dog and said they asked my brother to look for one. I zipped home as fast as I could and called all my sibs. NO MORE DOGS! I was loud, and not at all tactful. They got the message. As we come closer to seeing our puppies go to new homes and this memory came back in a sudden blast, I got angry all over again. Why did my sibs help them get the dog to begin with? Didn't the rescue group see the many red flags? Why hadn't they talked to me about it before they did it?

Fortunately, this has been the only big issue I've had with my sibs. I don't think about this often. There's way too many other issues to think about and we do all get along most of the time. I have my own puppies to think about, too, and believe me, I'm going to be very careful when it comes time for the chihuahuas to find their forever homes!

Like this article? Share on social


Sign in to comment


\"Sudden blast\" --- i had one of those this week... not fun....\r\n\r\nI hope you are doing well now.


I'm so angry for you, Goldie!\r\n\r\nIt's so frustrating when others, who won't feel the impact, make decisions that leave a huge impact!\r\n\r\nI hope you let the regrets go, Goldie. I think Maggie had a certain number of days in her life and no change in her diet would have changed that number. She was loved and she didn't suffer. \r\n\r\nYou set an important boundary (and not just about dogs) going forward. That's what's most important.