A new chapter for the dog of my sick friend 22



View Profile

The ongoing story of Pat – what a learning journey it continues to be. You can read Lyn’s previous article here

I have been very concerned about what was going to happen to little Alphie, the little furry dynamo that stole Pat’s heart and gave her a great deal of pleasure and loving company. We now know that life for Pat will never return to those precious days in her lovely little unit which she had set up so beautifully.

When she was admitted to hospital three weeks ago, her main thought was to get back as quickly as possible to her little dog, but as the days have progressed and her memory becomes scrambled, she no longer mentions him.

Yesterday, a very strange thing happened. Last week I took her in a furry toy dog which she eagerly embraced. I was surprised that did not stimulate the memory of Alphie even though she has spent many hours since cuddling the unnamed toy.

Two days ago she asked if I could do her a favour. From under her blanket she retrieved the rather bedraggled animal which she had clutched to her bosom. She asked if I could please take him as she couldn’t look after him anymore. She said she had been trying to keep him warm and he wouldn’t eat. I agreed to take him and asked if she would like me to bring him with me on my next visit but she said no, and she repeated that she couldn’t look after him anymore. She couldn’t know that her own, real life dog was waiting patiently for me in the car.

Out of all of her confused conversation, there were moments of lucidity but then she would go completely off track. She is fixated that everybody is trying to steal from her and she needed to get back to her unit. I told her as gently as I could that she would not be returning and I would always make sure that she was safe. She said that she loved the unit and it looked so lovely. I reminded her that she had told me she wanted to leave as she didn’t believe she was getting enough care. I assured her that we were looking for just the right place for her where she would have all the care she needed. She looked at me with big eyes and said that she trusted me and she knew I would look after her.

I have a month to clear out her unit ready for sale. It won’t be nearly as big a job as moving her out of her home but once again, a sad process. I have always taken these transitions for granted, but not anymore.

Then she said something that was heart breaking. She said that her life as she had known it was over and she wanted to die. She said she had tried to die – even putting her hands around her throat but she just couldn’t die. I felt so helpless and all I could do was hug her and tell her we were going to find a special place for her. Four weeks ago she was still doing crosswords, now she opens them up eagerly and looks at them with vacant eyes. She says she needs new glasses. It must be so frustrating for her.

I am wondering what I can do to lift her spirits and would welcome any ideas. She feels the whole world is against her and of course she is sure the doctor is trying to kill her.

I have an appointment with a broker this week so that we can find the right place for her. She does respond to touch. She loves it when anybody strokes her hair and arms but you can’t expect nursing staff to have the time to do that. At least she stopped thinking she is Gypsy Rose Lee and seems to be keeping her clothes on. You can’t help wondering what that was all about.

I stayed at my daughter’s unit with Alphie that night as we pondered on what we were going to do. Alphie slept right next to me and seemed to enjoy the comfort of being close. Poor little guy, he seemed to be really confused and I felt really sad.

Today some magic happened. We had tried a few avenues for him but none came to fruition until today. My daughter put him on good old Gumtree and we have now found the perfect owner. He went straight to her and went off without a backward glance. Hopefully a new exciting chapter for Alphie and another chapter for Pat.

Read part one here

Read part two here

Read part three here


To write for Starts at 60 (and potentially win a $20 voucher), send your articles to our Community Editor here.

Dymocks Blogger Rewards

Lyn Traill

Lyn Traill is a very late bloomer and is grateful to feel she is being more productive now than at any other time in her life. Whilst still involved in corporate consulting, her real passions are writing and speaking. She has had a number of educational books published but ‘Sizzling at Seventy – victim to victorious’ was her first book for adults. Lyn’s mantra is that it is never too late to find your ‘fabulous’. www.traillblaze.com

  1. I know how her friend felt because they mean everything to you, I know mine did however it was the other way around for me because my poor little dog had to be put down as he had cancer and I was very sad for a long time.

  2. My parents were minding a neighbours cat while they were away. The wife, the cats owner died while they were still over 1600km away. Almost to the second the cat didn’t return home for daily visits but moved in and never seemed to go back. Cindy lived with them the remaining years of her life.

  3. Alphie was put on gumtree !!!! Im sorry, but thats terrible…..i could not read anymore after that

    4 REPLY
    • I agree there are adoption services that check out the suitability of the prospective owners and check the welfare of the dog. I’ve heard some horror stories of animal adoptions from sites like Gumtree. We adopted our Jack from SA Dog Rescue they charge for the animal and that money is put back into animal welfare, they check out your yard and have a requirement that if you find yourself unable to care for the animal it is returned to them.

    • I am involved with animal rescue and have 2 of my own. This story is appalling. Cant help thinking what Alphie was thinking and where he ended up in all this !! I could read no more

    • As an animal rescuer of long standing, this made my blood run cold. There are many shelters and rescues who could have helped this little one – the network is huge. Many who want free animals on Gumtree don’t have their best interests at heart. Let’s hope little Alphie was rehomed desexed, vaccinated and microchipped with no health problems.

  4. What a good friend you are. My father has frontal lobe dementia and was becoming very anxious. He became obsessed with time keeping and would worry incessantly about what was going to be happening tomorrow but as he has short term memory loss he could never remember so he would be constantly asking the same questions over and over. He is now in a wonderful care facility and is much happier as his day to day routine is unchanging . He still finds some things to worry about (usually how my mum is coping without him) but does not have constant anxiety. His world has shrunk but he seems happy within it.

  5. What a very sad story, and very glad Alphie found a good home. When we emigrated 29 years ago we had a 2 year old cat and I was in tears daily about leaving him behind. However, a good friend offered to take him and 3 weeks before we left I took him over to his new abode and he settled in straight away. She then sent me photos of him and updated me on his progress and he had many happy years with her. I still cried for months about leaving him behind, so when Christmas arrived 6 months later my daughter bought me a kitten. I had Lucy for 9 years, then she died of cancer and had to be euthanised. I swore I would never have another animal. Six months later, after many tears, my daughter bought me another cat, Smoky, and he is now 15 years old and struggling. Each day I look at him and wonder what to do. Feel very sad at the moment.

  6. I have two dogs who belonged to a very dear friend who passed away a year ago. And another in the sidelines who belongs to a dear old lady who is worried sick that no one will take ‘her boy’ when the time comes. I love them all!

  7. You are a good friend and a very caring person but please everyone, don’t place animals or get animals from Gumtree and similar sites. There is nothing against these sites but they are misused and there are many shelters that have the best interests of the animal as their priority

  8. yes , i had to look after my mums cat when she got dementor and i hate cats but because of the love i had for mum i really looked after her cat and i even cried when it died

  9. I feel so sorry to Alphie and hope he found a truly good home. The Animal Welfare League would have been a better option, but the writer has obviously done her best. I lost my dear sweet rattie, Mozart, four weeks ago and our next eldest, Prodigal, is getting very frail. The one problem with rats (pet ones, not the bush variety) is that they do not live long enough but I wouldn’t begrudge a moment of their funny, loving little lives. Ophelia and Daisy are young so we have some good time left with them, hopefully another couple of years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *