February 14, 2022

Pets, Pets, Pets – Babylon Beacon


Babylon Village, West Babylon, North Babylon, Deer Park, Lindenhurst, West Islip and Long Island, New York
Monday, February 14, 2022

Oh, my, oh, Maya. There are situations when re-homing or surrendering a pet is the right thing to do at times-even a friendly dog or cat. The decision to give up the pet becomes more heart wrenching if assuring lifetime care of the pet was the last promise made to a parent.
Such was Melissa’s dilemma about Maya, a one-year-old white mix that her late father had adopted. Maya was rescued from a Puerto Rico beach at two months old and flown to a shelter in Florida. In March 2021, Melissa’s parents, seasoned canine caretakers, were on the hunt for a new dog. Melissa thought they were looking for a small breed adult, so she was taken aback when she learned her parents had adopted Maya, this young puppy who would grow to be a relatively large dog. Her dad would be turning 80 years old the next month. How could Maya’s shelter approve this pairing as a good match?
Maya lived with Melissa’s parents for five months. While Maya grew up as a typically exuberant pup, she became harder for her senior owners to handle. The dad began falling and having trouble with his balance. It seemed Maya was becoming too active and strong for him. This worried Melissa. That September she found a dog transporter in Florida to drive Maya to Amity Harbor, so Melissa and her husband could care for the energetic pup from Puerto Rico.
Family Tragedies: Soon after in October, her dad had a battery of medical tests in Florida. He was diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer, most likely stemming from difficult- to- detect lung cancer. He died ten days later. Melissa had little time to process the shock of her dad’s diagnosis before his passing. In retrospect, she and her mom realized his balance and mobility problems probably stemmed from his advanced illness, with Maya’s presence making his symptoms more apparent.
Several weeks later, Melissa’s younger brother and only sibling was in a terrible car accident near his home in Florida, a distance from his parents’ home. His wife “died” but was resuscitated. They both were hospitalized, with the family’s worry focused on his wife. The brother only had a bad shoulder injury, or so they thought. 17 days after being released from the hospital, Melissa’s brother suddenly died from a brain aneurysm which may have been the result of an undetected head injury from the accident.
Maya, a sweet, one-year -old pup, needs a loving home because of a series of sad family circumstances.
Back to Amity Harbor: During this time of grief, Melissa and her husband continued to care for Maya, who they consider super sweet. She is now a big puppy, about 65 pounds. They also have a 15-year-old dog who is good with Maya and tolerates her puppy shenanigans.
However, they also have a severely disabled 16-yearold son who is nonverbal. Maya enjoys being with the son but she has no boundaries. She hasn’t realized to “go softer” around him. He cannot correct her or call out to his mother to intervene because he doesn’t speak.
A week ago, Maya decided to play with the son and wound up pulling on his clothing. He almost fell. This alarmed the teen, but he couldn’t cry out for Maya to stop or his mom to help. Instead, he sat there and cried. Melissa says he rarely cries. The moment was tragic and telling. She realizes Maya shouldn’t stay permanently because her son is in such distress. Meanwhile, she loves Maya, who is a link to her dad.
Mutual Friend: I learned about Melissa’s dilemma from my friend Caryn who adopted Henry, a three-legged Redbone Coonhound, from Last Hope six years ago. Caryn and Melissa grew up living across the street from each other and are lifelong friends.
Henry was a rescue from Kentucky. On Christmas Eve 2016, Henry, a pup at the time, was hit by a car in front of a rural firehouse. This location saved his life because someone inside the firehouse witnessed the incident and got him to the shelter. His damaged rear leg was amputated at a Kentucky animal hospital because Last Hope committed to take him on a rescue transport.
For over a year, Henry was a therapy dog visiting my father’s nursing home. This gentle soul became a celebrity to residents and staff. Henry had a rapport with the resident amputees who lived there because of the dialysis unit. He sensed a closeness to them, and their feeling was mutual. His special friend was a 107-year-old lady amputee who only spoke Italian. She would beam when Henry was near her unless she had a piece of cake. She loved her sweets more, and would banish him with a backward flick of her wrist- a gesture that reminded me of my Italian grandmother.
Melissa’s Decision: Melissa has already contacted public and private Long Island shelters, asking if they would take Maya to put up for adoption. Most didn’t call her back, and several put Maya on a waiting list. Since Melissa is a Babylon Town resident, I called kind friends at Babylon Town Shelter and explained the urgency of the situation for the sake of Melissa’s son.
Maya will be going to Babylon Shelter, most likely before this “Pets” goes to print. I promised to write this column telling the sad story surrounding Maya and her family. She is highly adoptable- young (one year), sweet, already spayed and micro-chipped, eager to learn, good with other dogs and an innocent pet who entered a home right before a series of sorrowful circumstances. If you are interested in meeting Maya, call Babylon Shelter, 631-643-9270, 80 New Highway, N. Amityville.
Besides a new loving home for Maya, my wish is this column brings comfort to Melissa. Hope it offers her assurance her dad is watching over his family including Maya, and bestows his love and approval that Melissa has made the right decision on behalf of Maya and their family.
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