When my children were young we had a wonderful dog named Rosie. She was loyal, well behaved, smart and basically a wonderful addition to our family. When she passed away, I insisted “No More Dogs” mainly because her passing broke my heart and the heart’s of my children. A few months after her passing my husband insisted one Sunday that we all take a family ride (little did I know that my Wizard of Oz obsessed daughter had been whispering in Daddy’s ear about how wonderful it would be to have a dog just like Toto!) So we piled in the car and set out on a Sunday afternoon ride. It seemed throughout the ride that my husband had a destination in mind, yet he kept insisting we were just out on an adventure. About an hour or two into our adventure, surprise – we just happened to be passing a dog breeder that bred Cairn Terriers and Tea Cup Yorkies! Let’s just look at the cute little puppies – Please Mommy, Please, Please, Please!
Well, 30 minutes and several hundred dollars later, we were getting back in the car with a new addition to our family. Lola is a Wheaton Cairn Terrier – so blonde instead of the color of Toto. Even though only 8 weeks old at the time, within minutes her personality and love took over and she became an instant part of the family.
A few weeks after her arrival I was slightly dismayed at the lack of progress in potty training. She was such a smart little dog – I just wasn’t sure why she didn’t get it. It turned out she came to us with a urinary tract infection and once we took care of that, it was like a miracle – she has never had an accident in the house since (14 years later!). However, that was just the beginning of what I like to refer to as Lola being worth her weight in gold. She has allergies (constant allergy pills), she has anxiety (valium), she has had eye surgery (several thousand dollars), she has had cancer surgery and treatment (thousands and thousands of dollars), shots at home for arthritis to keep her moving in her old age (lots of dollars) – yet, through it all, Lola has been a joy.
She has the intelligence of a young child, follows directions better than a young child and throughout her life has alerted me to things that she felt needed my attention. When she was about 2 years old, my son showed up one day with a dog found on the streets. Lola welcomed Belle into our home and showed her the “ropes.” Once my children were out of the house, I began fostering rescue dogs (all Cairn Terriers) and training them for adoption. Lola welcomed each member into our home and basically trained the fosters for me. She guided them on the rules of the house.
Since my husband’s retirement, Lola and Belle now both seniors themselves, have become his constant companions. I travel frequently for my other blog, The Adult Side of Disney, and my husband refuses to travel with me choosing to stay home with Lola and Belle. Now to the point of my story …. My husband had major surgery 2 weeks ago. He has been home less than a week, full of staples from top to bottom, unable to walk without a walker and generally needing 24 hour care. From the minute I brought him home from the hospital, Lola has gone from aging dog needing lots of care to care giver. She slowly walks behind him on his walker, making sure he gets where he needs to go. When I get him to the shower in the morning, she lays outside of the shower watching over him. When I get him to his chair, she lays next to his chair all day – never leaving his side. I hear him tell her – “go get Mommy” and she comes into my office and taps me on the leg to let me know he needs something. At night, I am sleeping in another room since I am afraid of bumping his many, many staples and she lays alert on the foot of my bed and wakes me each time she hears him move in the other room. The poor old dog is exhausted taking care of her master!
Lola’s love has made her forget about some of her own old age symptoms. I have not had to carry her up the stairs all week! She is in such a hurry to get back to her Dad after doing her business she climbs the stairs (slowly) on her own to take up her spot next to his chair. My son came into the house to visit with his father yesterday. Lola, who loves both of my children, would not move from Dad’s side. She stood up wagging her tail but made Daniel come to her. She needed Daniel to know that she was taking care of his Dad!