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A Puppy for 99 yr old Mother

3 Apr

Our Mother was lonely for a dog who loved her. She told us so one night after dinner. My sister and I were both staying at her the house. What she said was; “I am lonely.” and we both pricked up our ears, worried we were not doing enough.  But she continued, “I am lonely for a dog who loves just me.”

My sister Dede and I conspired. Mother needed a new dog. A dachshund like all the others she had.  A red, long-haired bitch preferably. Her existing dogs were just too old to be any good. Gloria was almost 16 and Cinderella really belonged to Maria, the cook.  And she was pretty old as well, nearly 15. No wonder mother had no dog to love.


“We don’t want a young puppy, but an older dog.” we agreed. We knew buying a puppy would be crazy. Our mother was 99 years old. Her skin was like tissue paper. Puppy teeth are sharp as razors. They are not housebroken. They can be wild and crazy and too active for an old woman.

Dede said she knew someone who handled rescue dogs in California. She naturally knew all there was to know about this, and everything else. She knew and she would handle it.

“Fine”, I said.

Nothing much happened on her end, though. Time passed and she did not contact me with any good news. I was willing to let her arrange things, but just in case I began to look for other alternatives.

I found Puppy Spot online. We had never heard of this company. But I saw good reviews.

It was quiet from California. No news at all. Mother often mentioned how much she wanted a dog of her own. And in the meantime, I was in touch with https://www.puppyspot.com/. They said they had a puppy.

I said “NO”.

“No puppies need apply. It would be nuts to buy a puppy. Absolutely NOT. We do not want a puppy. Under any circumstances. NO, No, no.”

Amber was knowledgeable and patient. She let me rant.
She kept telling me how fine this puppy was. I asked how old it was.

“4 months.” She said.
“Nope.  No puppies. Absolutely NO puppies, because that would be nuts.”  Mother was 99 years old.  They won’t even sell a dog to someone that age.  We had to promise to take the dog if and when anything happened to my mother. I promised with no reservations because I love dogs.

But we still had no dog. That was mostly my fault because I kept telling everyone No puppies. Absolutely NO puppies. We need an older dog. It would be crazy to buy a puppy for our 99 year old mother. No sane person would do that, right?

Time passed.

I wrote to Dede to see how the search was going in California, for an older rescue dog. Surely she must have found something.

Nada.

She had been busy, the woman had not called her back.

The people from Puppy Spot called me again. They still had no older dog.

But at Puppy Spot, that puppy was still available. “You should really consider this wonderful puppy.  He is a great little dog.” Said Amber.


He was now a whole month older than before. (5 months instead of 4)

Baby photos of Dandy

I said AGAIN, “NO!  We do not want a puppy for our 99 year old mother. No. no. not ever. Puppies have sharp teeth, the chew things up, they whine and they pee all over the house.” Especially dachshunds (of every age). So after listening patiently Amber said “Would you mind if I sent you a couple of photos?”

“Sure, go ahead.” What harm could do it cause?

Haha!!!  Those photos were so cute. The puppy was wearing a tie, like a man’s tie but just his size.  He had an expression on his face best described as a smirk. He was so adorable I could not stop looking at the photo.  That dog looked like he had the personality of an angel.  So sweet and cuddly and small and supple.
The photo made anyone who saw it want to own the puppy.

I sent the photos to Dede.
“Buy the dog” she replied.

So we did.  The puppy had to be shipped from Missouri to National Airport.  Someone drove me to pick him up at the service part of the airport.  We got him out of the crate in which he was flown. And he sat in my arms the entire ride home cuddling.

When we arrived I realized that I must be very careful NOT to let him bond with me. And I must be careful to not fall in love with the dog which was supposed to be my Mothers’.  So I went right to her dressing room and put the puppy in her arms.  And then I left that part of the house. I basically hid in my room all day.  I needed to stay away otherwise I would be the one holding that puppy.

Dandy Dude today.


I needn’t have worried. Dandy Dude seemed to understand from the beginning who his owner was.  He was tolerant of the other dogs but he did not give them much thought. He knew Mother was his person.  And he has been absolutely marvelous with her from the beginning.

We have had no problems with the puppy teeth and though he is less than housebroken he is careful of Mothers room.  Everybody loves him. It has been a marvelous thing for my mother.  She is now 101 years old and perfectly healthy.  She has a loving dog who goes everywhere that she does.  He protects her, guards her, sleeps in her bed and eats any food she drops.  

You might be surprised how a parent will react to a dog of their own.  It can be a lifesaver!

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

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Dinner at DeCarlos

13 Dec

We eat at DeCarlos all the time. It is a wonderful restaurant for local people. We love to go there because we feel completely comfortable. Low lighting and no steps to enter the place make it easy for anyone using a walker or a wheelchair.  The parking is easy, too.  There are a whole lot of neighbors who use DeCarlos as their “go to” dinner spot.  And it is to their credit, that the waiters learn what drinks their regular patrons prefer.  They pride themselves on getting those drinks on the table, while the guests are still settling themselves into their chairs.

It is quiet because the tables are covered with table clothes, often two deep.  There is carpet on the floor and acoustical tile on the ceiling. The place is a lot bigger than it looks. It can seat something like a couple of hundred diners, in a night. Usually, it is NOT that crowded.  That is part of its charm.  Guests often feel like they are among the ‘few’ customers, in any given night.  But actually, the place has a lot more diners than are obvious at a glance.  There are several private rooms and alcoves and booths. Even if you sit out in the middle of the front room,  you can not really tell how full the place is.

We love going there. My 100 year old mother feels comfortable and cared for by the staff.  When they see she is coming in to the restaurant, the manager immediately grabs two pillows to put in her chair.  This is especially for her because she likes to move out of her wheelchair and sit in a regular chair. Almost every table seems to have at least one patron in a wheelchair, with a walker or at the very least with a cane.  There was a period a couple of years ago, when I was in a wheelchair, due to a broken ankle/leg and my mother was using a walker.  We were able to do just fine there, because it is so accommodating.The Italian cuisine is delicious and augmented with specials, which change daily.  They have wonderful things such as a whole steamed artichoke. This makes a low calorie, but delightful one dish meal when I am cutting calories. They usually have calves liver and bacon, which is “soul food” to me. The owner, Lucy DeCarlo runs a tight ship.  She is personable and friendly and often greets her guests in person.

The place which is located on Yuma Street behind the Spring Valley Shopping Center, is wonderfully near to our house. It requires little effort to go there.  The moment we walk in, we feel peace and familiarity.  I recommend it for those who may be physically impaired.

I often go there for lunch with a friend.  It even has a bar where one can sit and have drinks or a light meal.  This is the perfect neighborhood meeting place for enjoyable dining experience.  Don’t miss DeCarlos, if you are in North West Washington D. C. and feeling hungry. You won’t be disappointed.

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

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Staunton Hill

20 Oct

                      Staunton Hill

How lovely it was there and how much I enjoyed it. It was not just the writers workshop, but the beauty of the place and the surroundings and the PEACE that I found there.  I want to come back.
I went to Staunton Hill for a ‘memoir writers workshop’. The place was new to me, and in fact I was completely misled into thinking I was supposed to drive to Staunton, Virginia. NO! WRONG. That is not anywhere near where the PLACE, Staunton Hill, is located. It is below Lynchburg, far below, near a place called Brookneal, VA.
So I drove and drove and drove, having left Washington, D.C. at 3:30 pm on a Friday afternoon. That was a terrible mistake, right there. Eventually, and in the dark, I arrived at my destination. It was after 8:30 pm. I sat outside in my car, because I was trying to figure out: which was the front door. I could not reach anyone by cell phone as there was no signal in the driveway.

Finally, I left my car and took a chance on a door. It was opened by a lovely woman, all pale blond skin and hair. She was slender and pretty and welcoming. I knew I was in a good place immediately. The welcome was genuine and palpable. Janet Bruce is the owner of the Staunton Hill Center for Thought Creativity and Production. She and her husband used to run it together, but now, widowed, she does it by herself.

When I stepped inside, I saw a sleeping, long hair, black-and-tan dachshund that looked almost like my own boy, Magnus. So, of course they were great people who lived here. Dachshund owners understand each other.
It was still all confusing to me. The house was charming, but vast. The other participants and the leader were gathered there doing an exercise without me. I was hungry and tired. They brought me a tray with delicious food and offered wine, which I declined. We all introduced ourselves and chatted happily. Then I was shown to my room.

It turned out that mine was the Evangeline Bruce Suite. It was just marvelous. The bedroom was charming and had a fireplace and a wall full of a ‘breakfast china’ collection behind glass cabinet doors. The Queen size bed turned out to be extremely comfortable. Opening off the bedroom was a very modern bathroom with a glass-walled shower. And opening off that was “The Library” part of the suite, a room with a two facing walls of books, fascinating prints, and photos and sculptures. I wanted to immerse myself in that room. There was a comfortable desk and a good desk chair and great Internet signal. I was in Heaven. That library also opened with an outside door to the columned walkway that fronted all of the rooms.

In other words, the accommodations were just wonderful. They were comfortable and luxurious without being ostentatious. What a haven. What a marvelous place to shed ones cares and revitalize one’s energies.

Janet Bruce’s faithful next-in-command, Sarah Sargent, whom I knew from her earlier work with the VCCA (Virginia Center for the Creative Arts ) kept all moving smoothly. Our workshop group was fed by them, waited on by hired staff and constantly stimulated by new and beautiful surroundings and inventive meals.

The grounds are extensive. The driveway is a mile and a half long. A wonderful swimming pool is set in such lush grass one immediately wished to take off shoes and stockings and stand in it. The various gardens and expanses of lawn all sew peace and serenity into the soul. Where ever you look, in every direction, it is lovely. The ancient English Boxwood is healthy and luxuriant. The crenelated parapets and Eastern-looking columns constantly tease the eye. What a magical place.

Of course I could have worked on my memoir writing skills anywhere and learned a lot. But being in that magical place was so stimulating and engaging that it added immeasurably to the experience for all of us.

I long to return. And I will find a reason soon.

 

Copyright©. 2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

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