We Like Big Mutts!
For about a year and a half after my grandmother’s blue heeler Foxy had passed away, we all tried to convince her to rescue another dog, so she would always have company. But no dog was ever going to measure up to Foxy, and Granny was adamant about not getting another dog. So we all finally just shut-up about it, and let her be. Then about 3 years after Foxy had passed, Granny called me up and said, “I want you to find me a dog.” I asked her what she wanted in terms of personality, size, and breed. Granny, bless her heart, just said, “I’ll leave that up to you.” Wow, right?
So I told her about the foster dogs I currently had and she decided that Meggie would do just fine. Granny lived over 400 miles away from KY, so it wasn’t like I could just go drop a dog off at her house. This was going to take some planning. And since she was in her 90’s, I wanted to be sure I had Meggie house-trained and taught at least a few manners before taking her up there. In the meantime, I sent Granny a picture, which she kept on her kitchen table and looked at multiple times a day, and showed everyone who came over. She was proud of this dog before she even met her.
Some of my siblings thought I was crazy to send an 80 lb dog up to live with a 90+ year old woman. Meggie might knock her down, they thought. But I know dogs and cats, and I know that the smaller they are, the less likely a 90 year old, legally blind woman is going to see it, especially if it gets excited and starts running around. So for me, a large adult mixed breed dog was the perfect match for her. And Meggie set out to prove that right off the bat – that a big, calm dog can, in fact, take up a lot LESS space than a smaller one, and can also be less likely to trip someone.
I won’t say my siblings quit worrying about this large dog coming up to live with Granny. But they knew her well enough to know that once her mind was set on something there was no changing it anyway. And every visit or phone call they made, they heard second hand stories from her about “her” dog Meggie, who had not even arrived yet, but who she kept tabs on by calling me almost daily.
There are many, many stories about Meggie and Granny, after Meggie finally arrived that summer. I could tell you how everyone agreed that this dog was not only perfect for Granny, but extended her life by years. I could tell you how she had professional photos taken with Meggie, how Meggie protected her but also understood who was friendly, who was family, who belonged at the house. She understood immediately just what her job was. And I’m not embarrassed to say that I had, in fact, had actual conversations with her before taking her to Illinois, telling her just what the situation was, and that I needed her to be patient with Granny, and watch her for us.
And years later, I had another conversation with Meggie, when I had to explain that Granny was not coming home, and that her knew job was to watch over my mom. And this is where Meggie’s tale will hopefully teach people something. I am used to getting phone calls and emails from people asking me to take their relatives’ dog or cat after they have passed away or gone to a rest home. This was never going to be the case for Meggie.
Every single family member wanted Meggie if something happened to Granny. This dog had no less than 5 different homes she could have gone to. Meggie is now old and gray, and she has done her duty by Granny, and now Mom and my step-dad Lynn. And this is how it should be for old dogs and cats. They are loved by and love and comfort our loved ones. And when our loved ones pass on, it is our duty to be forever grateful and to be sure they have a loving permanent home to go to. It eases my mind to know that Granny knew, without a doubt, that the dog who added years to her life and life to her years, would not only be provided for, but loved and cherished just as she had done.