Mom and Rooney

A personable Chihuahua mix stays by his owner’s side when she needs it the most.

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My mother received Rooney, a Dachshund-Chihuahua mix, as a gift from my niece. Mom and Dad had owned both breeds since 1968, and were extremely devoted to them. Rooney especially bonded with my mother, and could usually be found sitting on her lap.

After my mom moved to a nursing home in 2008, my dad brought Rooney to visit her every day. Dad had a walker with a seat on it. Rooney rode into the nursing home and down the halls perched on the seat. He became a favorite among the residents and staff alike, giving barks and licks in return for a great variety of treats. People planned for his visits. Once in Mom’s room, Rooney rode with her in the wheelchair or cuddled with her on the bed.

In January 2010, Mom’s health started to decline rapidly. By mid-month, we all knew the end was near. One particular evening, Dad and my brothers stepped out to get a bite to eat while my sister, Jean, and I sat near Mom’s bed chatting quietly.

Suddenly, Rooney jumped from Jean’s lap and scurried up to Mom’s face. He stood there and sniffed for a few seconds, then turned around and came back to us. He was just about to jump off the bed when I told my sister to catch him. She set him on the floor and he started running around in small circles whining continuously. For a moment, I thought he needed to go outside. A nurse who heard him whining came into the room, checked Mom and said she was gone. We did not hear a sound from her.

I am convinced Rooney knew of Mom’s impending death and went to say goodbye. Did he sense her spirit leaving? I believe that he did.

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