Mom and Tag - Olivia Newport

Photo by Larry Mohr

Somehow we got to talking about dogs. My mom remarked on a purebred dog she had seen in the neighborhood that she thought was striking. And then she turned her attention to the mutt in her lap, adorable in his own way. She said, “When I got him, he was on his way to … .” She didn’t seem to want to finish the sentence, so I said, “You saved his life.” And she said,

“And he saved mine.”

I choked for a moment. Mom got Tag when she was deeply depressed, grieving my father’s death—a process I’m not sure ever ends. He jumped up in her lap outside the pet store at the mall and that was that. He got her up and moving, and the exercise helped. She chatted with other dogwalkers and the social contact helped.

Mom was getting help on several fronts in those days. Tag is not a superhero—and he can be a supreme nuisance when he barks at ghosts—but he has been a piece of Mom’s wellness. Health comes in surprising shapes sometimes. I hope you can point to at least one source of your wellness today.