Animals Know

We are visiting my parents and took our yellow lab, Molly, with us. My mom is back living at home with my dad after a serious illness last fall that had her hospitalized for 7 weeks. During the hospitalization that included 8 days in ICU, we thought she’d never be able to return home. But, here she is…living at home, independently.

After seeing her barely able to feed herself in mid-October and also being non-ambulatory, it is amazing that she is living with my dad without outside help. She is even back to some light meal prep and household chores. She uses a walker on occasion in the house. And, is careful with her daily activities. Gone are the days of running around to stores for hours of shopping for food or clothes or gifts or any of the other niceties of living that we all take for granted. But, these changes all seem to be accepted. She is thankful to be home, as my dad is to have her back with him in the home they love. They are helping each other and their love for each other shows.

Our decision to bring our dog was left up to my dad. When we called and said we were coming to visit, he asked about Molly and whether she’d be coming with us. I told him it was up to him. Molly came with my husband last fall when he came back to pick me up – as I stayed two and a half weeks after our initial flight when we came after mom was admitted to ICU. Molly did fine with my Dad who moves slower than he has but is still active in their house and yard. It’s to be expected, he’ll be 86 this year. So, when I told him it was up to him whether we bring Molly or not, he said he was okay with it. It was obvious he enjoyed the dog in the fall and would enjoy a visit from her again.

Don’t get me wrong, we had some hesitancy about this. My mom isn’t used to a dog – let alone a big dog with high energy. We had cats growing up, not dogs. But, we saw that Molly was careful around my dad when we visited last fall and thought she’d be the same around my mom. We were also ready to take precautions to safeguard my mom when she was moving throughout the house.

Before we arrived, we called first. We wanted to make sure my mom was sitting in a chair when she met Molly. As a labrador Molly is excited when she first meets people. This excitement only lasts about five minutes and has gotten less as she’s outgrown puppyhood. She’ll be three years old in June. But, we didn’t want to take a chance.

As it happened, my mom was napping when we arrived. She was still sitting when she met Molly for the first time. The excitement quickly abated as Molly reacquainted herself with my parents’ home. By dinner, she was comfortable and had received a lot of petting and kisses from both my parents. But, this morning, less than 24 hours after arriving, Molly seems to be attached to my mom already. She seems to know to stay to the side of her and walk behind her at my mom’s pace. In other words, Molly knows…Molly knows she has to be careful, be calm, and be gentle with my parents. She innately senses they need a “more” gentle dog.

Molly taking a morning nap between my parents. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2022.

In fact, my husband just commented that “his” dog has abandoned him for my folks! This is rare. Molly is super attached to my husband. He’s her primary caregiver so it makes sense. But, the dog seems to know that she’s already loved by my parents and is sopping it up. More than that, she seems attached to my mom. The observation that animals know how to behave around different people is making us smile… Yes, animals know.

I can see how pet therapy works!

8 thoughts

  1. They know, don’t they?

    My wife had ACL surgery 10 years ago, and our cat at the time was with her everywhere she went those first few weeks. Sleeping in bed or on the couch, Slick was at her side. My wife got annoyed once every great while because he was a big Siamese, so very warm, but 99% of the time, she welcomed the company while I was at work.

    While they can’t communicate the way we do, they know. 🙂

    Thanks for the heartwarming slice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Darin! Happy April 1st! I hope you had a good month of slicing! I am so warmed by stories like yours and that other’s have shared with me about pet’s being attentive just when we need them to be! (I love your cat’s name, too!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aww Molly is such a sweet girl! They do know. Last year I fell down the stairs (which turned out fine eventually) and our Darby came down and sat next to me until my husband got home. He was a good boy but it was out of character for him to just sit and have me pet him for a long time. Dogs know. Thanks for sharing this sweet slice. Also, I’m glad your mom is home and doing well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carol, I’m happy your mother is doing so much better and that your dad is well. I’m not surprised that Molly became attached to your father in the fall and now she is attached to your mother. Wonderful for both your mother and Molly. You’re right Molly knows. Healing goes both ways with animals and humans. Dogs, cats, and horses have remarkable intuition to human needs. My husband’s, Aunt’s cat Peaches laid next to her day and night before she was diagnosed with cancer and after the diagnosis. My cats always know when I’m not feeling well. My cats and I are each other’s therapy.

    At 88 my grandfather became too old to live independently. He worried about a stray cat he had adopted; he said he would miss the cat. My aunt found another home for the cat and my grandfather agreed to give the adult home a try. The place had been an old hospital, which was turned into a homelike adult home. A cat lived there that made its “rounds” to all clients and staff keeping everyone, including my grandfather happy.

    One of our cats, Lovee is nineteen years old going on twenty years old. My husband and I have adapted our living room to the needs of Lovee. Circle of life.

    Thank you for sharing and for your inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gail, Thanks so much for this kind and detailed reply. I am happy the dog likes both of my parents and is attentive to them. We had cats and they were always aware of when someone needed some extra attention. I give you so much credit for making the end of your cat’s life as comfortable as possible. You probably feel it’s a small inconvience for all the love Lovee has shown you over the years. We are all God’s creatures, are we not?

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  4. YES. Animals DO know. When I’m sick, or sad, or someone in the house needs some extra love, somehow our dogs pick up on that vive.

    I’m also smiling because my dogs pick up on when someone who *isn’t* a dog person enters the house. That’s when they try extra hard to make friends. News flash: it backfires.

    Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Both my parents are thoroughly enjoying the company of our dog and the dog has become very attached to them very quickly. We have had a few “non-dog” people visit our house and yes, the dog tries extra hard to convert them. We respect that not all people are dog lovers and try to shoo her away before she makes a nuisence of herself.

      Liked by 1 person

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