Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mother of the Year

When we took Oliver in to the vet on Monday, I had had a pretty bad feeling all day, mostly because of all the comments some of you experienced dog people had left. Worst case scenario I was expecting an expensive and drawn out process to get rid of Oliver's condition. Never in my worst nightmare did I think we would be taking the dog in to its death that day. If I had known that I certainly wouldn't have taken all my kids to the vet with me!!!

The vet was trying to talk to me in code, so the kids wouldn't understand the severity of the dog's condition. She kept emphasizing how bad the problem was, kept beating around the bush, saying there was no treatment that could cure him, etc, but never would actually come out and say the word 'euthanize'. Finally I said, "So what you're saying is that the most merciful thing we can do for Oliver is to put him to sleep?"

At this all the children started crying, and then I started crying. Even Zoya, who I'm sure didn't understand a word of what was happening, burst into tears at the sight of the rest of us crying. Even the vet, I think, might have shed a little tear. (I wonder what the people in the waiting room were thinking!) It was a pitiful sight indeed. Suddenly the vet started winking at me, and said, "OR.....I have another idea"....(still winking)......."Why don't you let me call a Lab Rescue Foundation to see if we can re-home him....Surely we can find a dog lover who would take Oliver and do whatever it takes to make him healthy again."

The kids started nodding their heads, through their tears. YES, that is what they wanted to do. We all said our tearful goodbye's to him, and I signed the paper to send him to his "New Home".

That seemed like a grand plan until later that evening when everybody was worried sick about what kind of home Oliver would go to. What if he goes to someone who won't take care of him again? They were SO angry at the first owner who robbed Oliver of a good and happy life. They fantasized all kinds of ways to pay back that owner for what he/she had done to poor Little Ollie.

THEN Liesel found the receipt from the vet. What is euthanasia? she asked. And why did they charge us for a burial? Oh boy. So I gathered everyone together and I told them the truth about Oliver and about how the poor vet wanted to be merciful to us by letting us think he didn't have to die. At the end of the day they were glad I told them, and we could all sleep peacefully that night knowing Oliver didn't ever have to suffer again.

That vet, Dr. Franz, bless her heart, had great compassion on us that afternoon. She vowed to personally find us another perfect canine match. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, if bringing home a mangy, dying dog to be the family pet didn't win me Mother of the Year Award, maybe this next one will:

My son has been complaining of headaches frequently when he is asked to read or do schoolwork. I KNEW it couldn't be vision problems, because he has always tested better than perfect on his vision screenings, 20/15 to be exact. And it couldn't be migraines because it is only 'triggered' by schoolwork. And he couldn't be far-sighted because that is just for old people. So the only logical explanation is that he is trying to get out of school work, right? That is what I've been telling him for three months anyway. Just to be absolutely sure, I took him to the eye doctor. Ooops! He is far-sighted after all.

Doesn't he look handsome in his new glasses? Today I let him skip school altogether. I suppose that was my way of saying I'm sorry.


Leah said...

Oh my goodness! The dog story...yeah...had my share of bad mom moments with the pets! And, sometime I'll have to post about my son's foot rot due to my not noticing the fact his boots had a huge hole in them! But, just an FYI for future reference. Most kids with DS who you see with glasses? They're farsighted (the one you thought was what old people develop.)

Charissa said...

Leah, interestingly we saw TWO people with Down Syndrome at the Eye place! Did not realize that, thanks!

Anonymous said...

I think you mean he's far sighted but I think you posted near sighted.

Sawyer is far sighted and wears his glasses for up close work but not any other time.

I'd vote for you for Mom of the YEar.


Gretchen Thibault said...

We had a St. Bernard growing up. I was told as a child that our dog got sent to a farm. I believed that until my parents lived in Singapore (I was in college) and my mom had company over and disclosed how they told the kids that the dog was taken to a farm when he was really put to sleep. I certainly was long over the loss of Brutus...but I remember bawling about the fact they made up that story. hard feelings. We do some things for the sake of our kids...don't we?


Charissa said...

Thanks Jan. you're right, I did!

Anonymous said...

My dear Charissa,
You deserve the 'Mother of the Year Award' everyday! You are amazing, and have an amazing family.
Aunt Sharon

Shelly said...

Charissa, i think you handled the Oliver situation as best you could, i am glad i told you about the mange though so you were able to get it checked out. I could tell by the photos it wasn't good but i really felt bad for telling you that. Bless you for taking him in and trying to to make him better, you did a good deed regardless of the outcome.
And for Simeon, he looks super handsome in his new specs!
YOU are an awesome mother and i would vote for you as mother of the year! :)

Lisa (DanielsMommy) said...

Charissa...I remember having a conversation with my mother about raising kids. She told me to always follow my instincts and do what I feel is best for my kids. She said we are all going to make mistakes and errors in judgement however, if we made those choices out of love and concern for our kids...then our kids would feel and know that...even if our choices end up being wrong. I think you totally did the right thing in the moment to tell the kid about the dog being re-homed. And then again, when you came clean later on. Your kids now know Mom is watching out for them and their feelings and I'll bet they feel even more secure and trusting of you at the end of the day because you wanted to spare them the hurt. You are an AWESOME mother :)

Anonymous said...

It's never easy to have to let a dear animal go, even though it may be the obviously most compassionate choice. Your family may find some comfort in Judith Viorst's tender picture book, "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney", or in viewing some of the many "rainbow bridge" online sites which include a beautiful legend about what may become of our dear animals after they depart this world. Some of the RB sites (no connection to RR!) have an online "candlelighting ceremony" each week, where departed pets can be honored...

The glasses make your son look so grown-up! Handsome guy...

Best wishes,
Susan in Ky
Cousin to Two from Ukraine

Melissa said...

Tell him Sammy said he looks cool!