So my elderly mother is ensconced in a nursing home that is more like a 5* hotel and is loving the pampering service and the stimulation. For once I was starting to feel relaxed that we may have found a solution albeit that it may break the bank in so doing. There is a Wellness Spa, constant entertainment if she chooses, delicious food, beautiful walks through gardens and a nature reserve. Meanwhile her loyal dog is staying with one of her carers and, whilst the vet has diagnosed a tumour behind her eyes the medication seems to be keeping the pain at bay.
OH and I are off on a well-earned respite week for ourselves in France and the weather there seems to be behaving and we may well enjoy a couple of very warm days….bliss.
Then the phone rings and everything starts to unfurl……best laid plans etc…..
The dog is in stress, panting and very agitated. The vet feels that putting her to sleep is the kindest option BUT how will elderly mother react? I panic as I imagine the three weeks respite care all coming to a sticky end as my mother has a meltdown. Her dog is very important to her – she certainly has shown more affection for the dog than she ever has for any of her offspring! Do we play the Alzheimer’s card and not tell her anything until she possibly mentions the dog and then say that she must have forgotten that it was seriously ill and sadly slipped away? Everyone feels that this would be the kindest act for both the dog and for my mother. Meanwhile I have booked the appointment with the vet and I am already dreading it. The dog is a spaniel and as such has the most doleful of eyes and I will undoubtedly feel as if I am putting my mother to sleep by proxy!
No website tells you how to deal with the devoted dog belonging to an elderly person who has Alzheimer’s and cancer. The doctor talks about what is best for his patient, my mother, and the vet talks about what is kindest for the dog. I am sure if I told my mother she would prefer to go with her dog and no doubt would think that the dog is getting the best deal. My mother has to face up to a time of pain, both physical and mental, and everyone in the medical world will do their best to keep her alive rather than doing what is kindest for her……….maybe we are kinder to our animals than to our humans in the end?