Thursday, 14 July 2016

Lucky on the Loose!

Pets Keep Elderly People Peppy

Elderly people love cats!
We see you, Snowball!

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for my elderly clients having pets.

In fact, the companionship and devotion a domesticated animal provides for a lonely Senior living by themselves can quite literally, be life-saving.

Having to care for Rover, Whiskers, or Bluey-the-obese-budgerigar means adding structure and purpose to an otherwise dull empty day; it motivates an isolated Pensioner to get out and about, to keep fit by having to walk the dog; to meet like-minded people at the canary club or while at the park letting Bruno off his lead. 

Or making just one new friend at the vets when somebody else's cat has a bad cough and weepy eye too, exactly like theirs – can make a life that bit more fulfilled.

Not to mention the added security of a ferocious growling dog to deter potential intruders (even if it is only a scrawny 3kg chihuahua with serious anger issues).

Oh I knowwwwwww.

My only concern is when these older adults have become so frail or unwell that they are unable to continue the required upkeep and responsibility of their once-cherished pets. Their health status has changed and they no longer have the strength in their arms to brush a moulting long-haired Siamese puss-puss.

Or clean out the towering pile of excrement in the bird cage.

Or swap the brown sludge in the fish bowl for some fresh tapwater... ugh!

Elderly people love pet budgies
Who's a pretty boy then?

Or... as in the case of 89 year old Jack Barkworth who, due to the recent advancement of his Parkinson's symptoms, is left with no energy to waste on frolicking with his dog. These days Jack, desperate to remain living in his own home, understandably now needs to conserve his strength and devote all his attention into maintaining his own wellness instead.

Which means Lucky, a bouncy little white Maltese and Jack's best mate for over 10 years, doesn't get to enjoy a daily stroll like he used to. It also means that as soon as I arrive for my weekly Home Care visit, Lucky transforms into a crazed wild mini-beast thanks to spending too long cooped up inside.

And he wants to play.

Not only does Lucky want to play, but he also wants to RUN. And as I learnt today much to my horror, once this dog escapes outside he runs at full speed... AND HE DOESN'T STOP! And being that it was MY fault for letting the bloody dog out, the onus was therefore on ME to go get him back!

For starters it was dodge ems round the clothesline with Mr Barkworth bellowing from the top of the back steps, “Get ‘ere, Lucky” as I ducked n wove around the lemon tree and down along the concrete path towards the front gate.


Through the open gate fired Lucky at warp speed, straight out onto the street heading directly towards the park like a canine possessed. Clearly, Lucky couldn't believe his luck!

Trudging along behind (at far lesser warp speed) I prayed some more in my head...

This loathsome park with it's enticing trees, a tempting variety of playgrounds, a whopping great footy oval and room for at least a million ponies.  OH PLEEEASE NOT THE PARK...

I lost sight of Lucky behind a neighbour’s shed and I fleetingly wondered that perhaps he’d got sick of the ‘game’ we were playing and had headed back home like a good doggie.

I should be so....ahem, lucky.

A flash of white fluff, a couple of rollicking yaps (“chase me, chase me, chase me”) and Lucky bolted past in a beeline straight to the park entrance.

It was several minutes later, after many mad dashes and trampling through of bushes and muddy grass (with promises from me of all sorts of foodie treats), when I noticed that the far end of the park, the end where Lucky was heading, backed directly onto what looked like quite a busy main road.



If Lucky made it there (and it was looking good) there was a fair chance of the wretched pooch running onto the road and straight into traffic. Not only would I be returning a Lucky that was mucky, but I could very well end up bringing back a Lucky GOT HIT BY A TRUCKY!

The responsibility was just too much to bear. There was no way I could lose this dam stupid dog!

By this stage however, a gaggle of young children emerged from over the turnstyle which made Lucky the demonic dog, turn to go join in the fun. I could see the cogs in his head spinning: Woo hoo, little people to play with me!!!

As Lucky rushed himself over to the kids and accompanying adult supervisor, I took it wide and pretended that I'd forgotten about him and was instead turning to leave (hard to believe it required such full-on military tactics).

Amidst the squeals of kiddy glee and while Lucky lapped up the abundance of pint-sized attention, I launched my final assault and managed to creep in from another angle to strategically scoop him up within the clump of kindy-goers in one foul swoop.

“Got ya! You naughty little boy!”

The children were sad their new playfriend had been wrenched away but it wasn’t about them – I had to return this devious Canis familiaris to its master and then get going to my next job!

Hang on, didn't Lucky have a red collar? Dam, must've lost it from our wrangle in the bushes. Never mind, not important.

It was with much vigour, and with bits of twig and leaves in my hair, I marched back to Mr Barkworth's house to present my prize: the exhausted and still bewildered looking Lucky (or in this case, Unlucky!) to his owner.

HERE, TAKE THE BLOODY THING I wanted to shout, but of course slapped on the charm as I whipped open my elderly client's sliding loungeroom door where I discovered Jack Barkworth sitting in his big armchair doing the crossword. Obviously he'd forgotten all about the matter at hand (par for the course in this industry… who are you again?).

So, standing outside on the top step and in trophy-like fashion, I lifted up the now limp Lucky so my client could catch up with the play and admire my work.

“I got there in the end Mr Barkworth, sorry it took so long. He got to the park so I had to wait til he got distracted before I could catch him”

It was then I saw, on the small rug in front of the heater... a white ball of fur not even flinching while it snoozed soundly having a lovely time if you don't mind. The realisation of my mistake dawning on me as I also then noticed the red collar round its neck made me want to just scream out loud:


As I recovered from embarrassment, Mr Barkworth made me a lovely cup of tea while I sponged the mud and debris from my work pants.

We then had a jolly good laugh as I then handed over fake 'Lucky' to the nice lady at the front door asking if she could have her dog back please?

Dogs as companions for older and infirm adults
You won't be so LUCKY next time, Lucky

Oh, sometimes it's just silly, silly, silly.


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