Dogs and family
It’s a sad fact that my dogs are my social life. In 1998, I came home when dad took a turn for the worst and was proving to be more then my mom could deal with. Since I was fresh for school, and didn’t have a spouse, house or into a career, it was put on me to care for the folks.
Things were OK for a while. I got my dogs and had time to work and play as well as tend to things at the house. After dad died, mom started taking more and more of my time. I started being unable to leave her home alone, so I’d take her with me to dog shows. She’d wonder off, but I would be able to round her up easily. Finally it got to be too much to watch after her and do the dog show thing, so I started needing to find someone to look in on mom over the weekends when I’d be gone. I had to leave more than enough food for the weekend, some times she’d eat it all, and sometimes she wouldn’t eat a thing.
I found myself more restricted about my free time, and found that I was going from work to home to work to home. I started taking Izzy to obedience class just so I could have a change during the week. I was only going to shows that were at most a two-hour drive away, so I could go back and forth from home to the shows.
I found myself in the position of so many caretakers. I was being taken for granted. As long as I was at home, and able to at least get out for work, what more did I need? I also got the usual sibling complaints; I wasn’t caring for mom correctly, I wasn’t getting anything done around the house, I was living off mom’s money, I wasn’t paying rent, etc. Since I’m doing such a horrible job, feel free to step in at any time! I’d love to go get a life.
I once heard someone in an interview say that they grew up socially illiterate. I found that I could totally relate to the comment, and being isolated home alone with mom has not helped at all. I don’t know where to go to meet anyone, plus I don’t have much in the way of spending money. My closest friends I’ve met through the dogs and dog shows. My mother is emotionally unavailable, so I quite often feel completely alone and longing for human contact; I bury my sorrows in the fur of my dogs, they also share my greatest joys.
I do have one sibling who has really come to be a support. We have agreed to have hired help come in while I’m in school, and when I want to get away for a weekend. Yet, for the day to day trials, it’s some times very lonely. For those lonely times, I’m so glad to have my furry loved ones.