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Dog Dilemma

Life is filled with dilemmas.

The dog is four years old and is named Nike and belonged to my mother who died last year. My mother was 95 and as her only offspring I am the sole beneficiary and executor of her tiny estate. I’m in charge now.

My wife and I inherited Mother’s house, her 28-year old sedan and some bonds. And the dog. Nike was more important to mother than the house, car and bonds.

Mother did not fear death, only what would happen to Nike. I told her not to worry. I promised I would look after the 10-pound dog, as cute a cross between a poodle and Shih Tzu as exists on the planet. Here is where the dilemma begins.

I live out of town often and although I have a condo in Los Angeles, no dogs are allowed — only cats. I do not like cats much. Like my mother, I prefer the company of dogs. Besides, the condo is no place for the dog. It is too small. There is no yard to play in. The coyotes like to eat little dogs. The City of Angels is too dangerous even for armed humans. It is against the law for dogs to carry weapons for self-defense. So California is out of the question.

I rented several rooms in mother’s house to graduate students. They got along great with the dog but they could not be expected to exercise him. I hired a man to walk the dog three times a day for the last year. I won’t go into detail here; suffice it to say I turned mother’s house into one of the most expensive kennels in Canada.

The dog walker, Ernie Durston, did a fabulous job, but Nike was cunning and escaped several times. (Not from him but from the students.) I fear the little devil will escape again; besides, students are too busy to look after a dog. If Nike gets away again, he could be hit by a car or freeze to death in the winter.

So what does one do with an adorable dog, a dog that belongs to a mother who loved him with all her heart?

Reluctantly, I have to give Nike away. Half a dozen people want him but after interviewing all of them, I narrowed the field down to two possible owners.

Mr. and Mrs. X have a lovely home nearby. They met Nike and fell for him. He seemed to like them. Mr. and Mrs. X came highly recommended from the place that grooms Nike. Heck, I would enjoy living in their spacious home. In addition, Mr. X is in property management so he might be able to help me with problems concerning our rental home. (My wife and I intend to keep mother’s house and live in it later.)

The second person who wants Nike is Mrs. Z. She suffers from a chronic pain disorder. Mrs. Z also smokes but is trying to quit. She lives alone in a small house. She met Nike and fell in love with him. He seemed to like her. Some days Mrs. Z. is able to walk. On others, she must stay in bed. Mrs. Z says she is looking for a companion. She thinks that if she has Nike, he will help her quit smoking and take her mind off her pain. The dog would not have as exciting a life with her as he would with Mr. and Mrs. X. He might die of emphysema. Mrs. Z certainly could not help me with caring for my mother’s home.

My mother thought she would see all of her dogs in heaven one day. Maybe that is what she is doing now. Maybe not. I don’t know. But I do know who Mother would want Nike to be with. Someone who would consider him as a companion, because that’s what all of mother’s dogs were to her.

Mrs. Z, you said the magic word. You just got yourself a companion.

End of dilemma.

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