Who are the Grands?

They are 90 and 93, and they live each day like there is no tomorrow. Because there may not be. Their minds are not what they used to be and their bodies are breaking down bit by bit, but inside those old minds and bodies they are the same independent-minded young people that forged their own way in this world and made a good life for themselves. This is both a blessing and a challenge, as you'll see in the posts below. Welcome to our journey!

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Monday, February 24, 2014

What My Dog Taught Me about Joys and Disappointments

You've all heard about Benny/Denny/Quinnie, my little dachshund/spaniel mix that the Grands adore. He has three names because I named him Quinnie but the Grands can't remember that. Grandma calls him Benny and Grandpa calls him Denny. He answers to all of it, thankfully.

It is a mutual affection because Benny/Denny/Quinnie loves them, too. He dances by the door each time I get ready to leave in hopes that I will take him to see the Grands. The whole time that he's there, he sits on their laps, entertains them with his toys, and growls protectively at anyone who comes to the door. Grandma takes him for walks around the building.

These days, I call and make sure that Grandpa is having a good day before I bring Quinnie over to see them. Well, today Grandpa was having a good day and I thought all was well. At 1 PM I told Quinnie that he was going to get to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house. He was sooo excited he tore around the house and danced by the door. He could hardly wait to have his leash put on him!

We got to their building, and Quinnie couldn't contain his joy as he sprinted toward the door, tugging at the end of the leash. We got to the apartment, opened the door . . .

 . . . and immediately I knew something had changed. Grandpa was no longer having a good day. Grandpa was leaning back with his eyes closed in obvious pain. Grandma explained that Grandpa had a tummy ache that just started. His lunch didn't agree with him. I let Quinnie go to Grandma but not to Grandpa. Quinnie was clearly a little confused. He wanted to go to Grandpa, too, but Grandma kept him on her lap.

I stayed for a few minutes. Grandma and I took Quinnie on a walk around the building, and Grandma saw one of her friends rolling out streusel in the dining room. Grandma got distracted and wanted to help her friend with the baking, so I realized that I'd have to take Quinnie home. I started to walk out with Quinnie, but my joyful pup wasn't so excited anymore. He trotted along obediently, but his head was down. We got home and Quinnie curled up on the couch with the other dogs and took a nap.

It occurred to me that disappointment was a familiar feeling with Grandpa's illness. Because you never knew what the day would bring, there were many days when things didn't turn out like you'd hoped. But Quinnie was giving me the perfect example of how to cope with disappointment. Be patient, go about life as usual, and wait until the next opportunity.

Just a few days later, Grandpa was feeling better and I took Quinnie over to see them for the afternoon. Quinnie was just as excited as ever. At last, he had the afternoon he'd been wanting.

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