Ann Renigar Hiatt, Ph.D.
     Author      Speaker      Storyteller
  
Where’s Beanie?
                                        
“Beanie!  Where’s Beanie?  I can’t find Beanie!”

Tears came into Brenda’s eyes.  “Beanie died, Mama.”

 Brenda gave the bad news over and over.  Every few minutes her mother called Bennie.
 Ida cried, and then ten minutes later was at the door calling again.

 “Beanie, Beanie.”
 
Ida adopted Beanie when he was a puppy.  He was her constant companion and a great comfort after her husband passed away.  From then on the two of them were inseparable.   She held and cuddled him as they watched TV and slept.  She was happiest when Beanie was sitting beside her.

When Ida began forgetting what day it was, where she put things, and recent activities, the small Beagle began gaining weight.  The veterinarian warned that he was too heavy and recommended reducing his food intake.  That advice was soon forgotten and Ida worried, certain that he was hungry.  She fed him again and again. 

Brenda was devoted to her mother.  Ida lived twenty miles from Brenda but she always found time to drop in and check on Mama after work.  She helped Ida with household chores, took her shopping, to appointments, and to visit relatives.  She made certain that Ida’s pantry was full and that she had everything that she needed.  

Although Beanie was gaining weight, Ida was becoming very thin.   When Brenda’s husband had an accident at work and became bed-ridden for a few weeks, she used that as an excuse to move Mama and Beanie into her home, supposedly temporarily, although she had other plans. 

 Brenda worried about Ida’s mental decline and having her in her home relieved some of the stress.  She arranged with her employer to work second shift so that she could be at home in the mornings to cook and care of Mama.  In the evenings, her husband attended to Ida’s needs.
 
Soon, Ida began gaining weight and Beanie was on a reduced calorie diet, or so Brenda thought.  He still gained.  Although everyone loved him, no one could save him.   Poor 60-pound Beanie died of congestive heart failure early one morning as Mom held him and cried.  Dementia did not save her from days of grief and sadness.  Then, one morning, the memory of his death was gone and old memories of his comforting companionship reappeared.  She called him again, and when he did not appear, she fretted that he was lost, stolen, or hit by a car. 

Brenda could not stand to see her mother repeatedly cry and grieve every time she had to say, “He died, Mama.”   What should she do?  Should she continue telling her that Beanie died?   Should she invent a lie that would explain his disappearance?  Would Mama remember that reason?  Should she get another dog?    She remembered that simply petting Beanie had a calming effect that was better than an anti-anxiety drug. 

One morning while Ida stayed home, Brenda left to shop for groceries.  Her route took her past the local animal shelter.   Something told her to make a U-turn.  She sat in the car debating with herself. 
“Do I really want to do this?”

 She was still uncertain as she walked into the shelter.  Her love of animals overwhelmed her and made her wish that she could adopt all of them.  Then she saw him!  To her amazement, there was a young Beagle very similar to Beanie.

 Decision made!  She could not leave without him.  What will Mama do?  Will she think that he is Beanie, or will she turn away, thinking only of her loss of the original, beloved Beanie? 

When she walked through the door, the look on Mama’s face resolved everything.  Ida cradled him and kissed him.

 “Beanie came back, didn’t he?”