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A Dog Named JoAnn

September 1st, 2010 § 47 comments § permalink

Two months.

I never intended to stay away so long.

But, it’s been a rough time this summer and I didn’t want to post unless it could be something positive.  There’s enough sadness and struggle in the world.  I don’t need to add my own to it.

But since today is the 6th Anniversary of my stepping into the world of blogging1 , I thought I should at least put something up.

Many of you have sent e-mails asking about our little family: Granny, The Attorney, and me.

The Attorney and I are doing well, although we don’t see as much of each other these days.

And I am surviving.

I would like to be able to say that Granny is doing well and surviving, too.  But the reality is that is not the case.

Her health has taken a serious downturn over the summer.  She is still alive. But surviving? I’m not so sure.

What’s most troubling, beyond the crippling arthritis, recurring infection in her leg, and the occasional incontinence, is the decline in her mental state.  Moments of dementia have been happening for a few years now. But lately those moments have become constants. And the confusion and paranoia that come along with them have created a creature that rides a wave of emotions that race through a series of corkscrews, free falls, and loop the loops.

I’m riding shot gun with an all-access pass.

And I’ve never been much for roller coasters.  Real ones or metaphors.

It’s startling and sobering to see how a switch somewhere in the brain can change, in few weeks, the person it took you 93 years to become.

Consequently, I am rarely out of the house anymore.  So, I am the constant companion to someone who sometimes doesn’t realize who I am.

Not being able to go to a job everyday2 and not being able to see The Attorney at least once a week3, had started to take a toll on me.

Until a dog named JoAnn.

A friend and his wife went on vacation a couple of weeks ago.  At the last minute they lost their dog sitter and asked me to take care of her.  My gut reaction was that I couldn’t handle a dog and an old woman both looking to me when they need to eat or shit, so I was inclined to say no.

I’ve wanted a dog of my own for years but always told myself that I would have to wait until I didn’t have Granny to worry about.  But, I felt sorry for my friends and I want to help out anyone I can.  So, I figured I could deal with it for a week and a half.

Plus, with Granny always cranky and The Attorney always an hour and half away, it would be nice to get some much needed affection from somewhere.

Naturally, the dog couldn’t care less about me.

But, she loves my Granny, this dog name JoAnn. 4

Because she is still young and playful, I was really concerned that the dog would jump on Granny or just be too physical in general.  But instead, she calmly lays her head in Granny’s lap to be petted.

Her head won’t reach Granny’s lap if she sits.

And so she stands.

For hours.

And Granny pets her.

For hours.

Instinctively, she’s made it her job to look after Granny.

She sleeps outside Granny’s bedroom door at night and when she hears Granny stirring to get out of bed in the morning, she comes to me.  She stares at me until I follow her and then she does this herding thing where she leads me then circles me again and again until we reach Granny’s door.

The dog is calm.  And Granny is calm.

So much so, I’ve asked my friends to let me keep her for a while.

They agreed it’s probably good for Granny.

And I think JoAnn agrees.  Last night while she was standing at Granny’s chair, offering a fuzzy head to pet, she turned her eyes over to me and let out a big sigh.

I thought, “I know, JoAnn.  I know.  Just keep standing.”

And so she does.

As do I.

Thanks to a dog named JoAnn.

{ fin }

  1. with my old blog []
  2. But my boss was kind enough offer me some administrative and sales work that I can do from home. []
  3. Granny doesn’t want anyone to see her. []
  4. Silly name. My friends let their three year old niece name the dog. []

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