Caretaker Essay to My Parents, Part Two ‘Bailey’:
So, my parents found out very recently that their sweet little dog, Bailey, had been urinating on a couple spots of an expensive “Persian rug.” The rug sits atop a new hardwood floor in their home, and the spots were directly adjacent to a very nice lo-boy cabinet. As happens, the pee, which had been accumulating for some time, and was strong in odor, but not to my parents. But, the pee had seeped under the lo-boy cabinet, and through the rug, soiling the hardwood floor, staining it and creating black mold along the flooring seams, all the way through to the sub floor! A terrible mess, and my parents were understandably angry.
Before my mom’s recent knee replacement surgery, she provided Bailey walks, regular potty time outside, etc. Since arriving, I’d begun that process, but Bailey had been doing this for months. The three of us had discussed options over the past few days, and I offered to take the dog home with me to Virginia when I leave – Bailey would get along great with our two dogs, who you’ve met recently in the “Celebrate Your Pet Day” video, at YouTube and at the Not Old Better site, and I have the time and money to help deal with this problem. They said “Oh, but dogs cost so much money – and three dogs are more expensive than two!” “And, Bailey will not make the trip.” Bailey is a dog my mom received from a friend, via her will, upon this friend’s death, and we think Bailey is 10 or 12 years old. At one point two nights ago, my parents said they would get Bailey checked at the vet for urinary problems before deciding anything.
The next morning, my mom, in tears, asked me to take Bailey, right then, to the vet to euthanize the dog. My mom explained that they asked a couple people if they were interested in taking her, but they weren’t, the friends saying the pound would most likely euthanize a dog with urinary problems like this, and my mom is so overwhelmed with her own convalescence and care needs that Bailey wouldn’t and couldn’t be trained, given my mom’s limited ambulatory ability. Hearing this, I then phoned a long-time area friend, asking about ‘training.’ According to this friend, dogs can be trained to not soil indoors, but the reinforcement, after the trainer leaves is as important as the training, and in conversation with my mom, she just couldn’t conduct that post trainer training herself, and Bailey was not going to learn without that reinforcement, and that if there were the urinary issues, then she did not have much hope that the he would ever get better or stop the behavior, and so they decided to have him put to sleep.
A difficult subject, but a thoughtful show…please listen, and comment. What would you do?