The therapy dog

My oldest daughter lives with the diagnosis of “schizo-effective with bipolar disorder”, or rather we do.  Every day is a struggle to find reality and sanity.  She is a truly outstanding person.  She (J) volunteers every day she can at a local high school as a librarian.  Since in this day and age schools can not pay a librarian, it has been a blessing.  Every day I have her has been a blessing.

Eleven years ago the doctors told us to find a therapist and get her an animal.  Just out luck, she settled on a tiny Boston Terrier.  She named her Lainie (after some singer) and brought her home.  I really thought this was a silly idea.  Lainie from day one (at 5 and 1/2 weeks) followed J everywhere.  For a thing that looked like a bug-eyed rat puppy she was a defender against evil to rival Luke Skywalker.

I remember at 8 weeks I was painting the front porch.  Lainie came and got me, alerting me to J having an episode.  She followed this pattern from at time forward.  Jessi learned to say “puppy” and “I have the best girl” as a touchstone for reality when things got rough.  When J would go into treatment the dog slept on one of J’s shirts.

This dog was not a saint.  She was the master of the dog-joke.  If gassy she would come and set at my feet.  Lainie was a connoisseur of some truly horrible things.  She beat up the bulldog (Ceaser) who was easily four times her size.  She convinced all the dogs she was alpha of the neighborhood.  She could not calm down or slow.

Saturday she fell in the yard while trashtalking a neighborhood dog.  I ran outside, she continued to lie there.  I asked her if she was ok.  She blinked and got up.  We went back inside.

Yesterday (4/20 – another dog joke) J took her to the vet.  The vet said she would be fine.  Within three hours Lainie suffered a massive heart attack and passed away.

This morning I ache.  I ache all over.  I cannot fathom living without this horrible, smelly, bossy, caring little dog.  I worry about the future of my daughter.

Jesus, thank you for the eleven years we had with Lainie-bug.  Thank you for the care this animal took of my daughter.  Thank you that this dog seemed to know how to calm this illness.  Help me in the days to come face this loss.



My youngest daughter “adopted” a beautiful baby bulldog 10 years ago.  When first seen he had the most beautiful markings, the most gorgeous face, and the greatest disposition.  When he visited his “gaga” it was noted that he was either S#!tting, snotting, snoring, or rubbing some part of his anatomy on a seated person.  Still, gorgeous.

When he was about two or three months old my daughter called me from a nearby city sobbing.  Ceaser had eaten mushrooms.  There was nothing the vet could do.  He was going to die.  Nonsense.  I left school and headed to my house where I picked up a rocker, a baby blanket, a baby bottle and pedialyte.  For the next 48 or so hours I held and rocked a very sick little bulldog.  I forced fluids down him.  He looked up at me with the sweetest looks.  I told him “Just don’t give up, I won’t give up.  I know you did not mean to eat the mushroom.”  We both survived the poisonous mushroom attack.

I have driven three and four hours after school to go to Baton Rouge to pick him up for a weekend.  He always managed to be the nastiest thing in the house.  He fought with the Boston Terrier.  One fight caused me to receive a pierced nose, another fight left me with a huge gash that would not stop bleeding.  He always gave me the look “Don’t give up. I didn’t mean to do that.”

When he was three or four my daughter started adding children to her family.  Ceaser became toy, best friend, protector, and ride.  I would babysit and be amazed at the patience that dog offered.  Ceaser would occasionally give me the look of “Really?”  I told him “Just don’t give up. Obviously she did not mean to do that.”

I have been too sad to think about my buddy “S N S” in the last few weeks.  About three months ago,  he went into congestive heart failure.  A few weeks ago, he gave up.   His mom and dad were with him to the end.  His gaga misses his nasty ways.   I know he did not mean to leave us.