Saturday, February 26, 2011

Arayo, Watching Over Mom

Mom isn't a real big Newfoundland fan. They are big, they eat a lot, they shed a lot and they are so EXPENSIVE! I knew that Mom would have to be really sick for me to come home to help her as only when she was really ill would she be okay with Arayo in her house.

In the past Mom has asked me to come home and invited Arayo. "You can bring the dog. He (she never could get it that Arayo is a she) can stay in the garage. You can stay out there with him too if you don't want him to be alone. It is a NICE garage! Zippy likes it."

"Mom, Zippy is a car. Besides it is December. We are not sleeping in your garage when it is 7 degrees outside."

"You can turn on the clothes drier. That will warm it up a little and we can bring out a space heater. It will be toasty."

"It will be 12 degrees instead of 7 and it is still a garage. You come visit me instead."

But, as the cancer advanced in her body, Mom stopped worrying quite so much about having 100 pounds of Newf in her home and once here, Arayo grew on her.

No longer did she worry that Arayo would rush by and knock her over, and more and more I found her petting Arayo's big black head. I've gone into her room to find out who Mom was talking to, only to find her carrying on a conversation with Arayo.

Mom was suckered in by Arayo's big sad eyes. With little or no appetite, Mom would ask for a sandwich, then be too weak to eat it. She loves that Arayo will spend hours watching her (and that sandwich), but that she maintains her polite upbringing and won't just grab it for herself.

After being in the hospital for several nights, we have brought my mother home and her doctor estimates that the time we have with her will be days, not weeks.

Tonight Arayo went missing. I searched the house and finally checked Mom's room where she's sleeping off a long day of visitors. There I found Arayo - laying on the floor - not sleeping, but watching over my Mother. Arayo has somehow figured out - if not all that is going on, at least that Mom needs extra care.

Guarding Mom seems to be Arayo's new job for a while.


  1. In my many years of nursing, particularly in the care of the dying - I have learned again and again that companion animals have a vision that pierces the limits of our human eyes. They see many things, and indeed see into hearts. They carry a gift for mercy and tenderness that humans seldom match. Our refugee dogs, watch tenderly and purposefully over sick people and babies they have never met. It is the Great Heart. Peace and blessings on you, mom and Arayo as you all care and wait. - Bob

  2. Ah, Karyn .. that Arayo is such a sweet soul. your story brought tears to my eyes. know that my thoughts & prayers are with you all. ♥

  3. Karyn, they know. What a wonderful telling of this difficult story. I'm glad I met your mom in Monterey. - Ruth

  4. Your blogs make me laugh and cry at the same time. Give your Mz A a tummy scratch from both of my "A"s. - Beth