I got a call last night from Mum's friend P. She and her husband have been taking Mum for holidays to their home in Somerset for the last few years. Since a rather Mum-tastic mix-up in Autumn, P has been calling me whenever she's concerned about Mum's mental health. She rang last night to tell me that after speaking to Mum she was worried about Mum's dog. Mum had complained that the dog was now regularly defecating in the hallway, and P knew that the reason for that is that Mum seldom takes the dog for walks any more (and reacts hysterically if she 'does her business' on the shared lawn outside her window). P wanted my 'permission' to ask Mum if they could take the dog off her hands for the rest of Winter, until Mum felt that she was up for walking again. I told P that I was sceptical that Mum would give up her companion and chief object of conversation, but said that I understood her concern and she should try it and see.
Today, Mum rang me to tell me that she was going on holiday to P's place in Somerset and that she'd be away from home for a month. I knew she had it all wrong but pretended innocence and asked a few questions which she couldn't answer. I suggested that she call P back to clarify, and of course she came back to admit that it was the dog that was going on holiday....for a week. I rang P directly, who told me that she had just told Mum (minutes ago) that it would be late Spring before they'd return the dog, though she really thought it would be more humane to keep her permanently, given that Mum really doesn't know how to look after her.
I'm delighted that Mum is taking this so positively, though I suspect it's just another instance of her being so easily manipulated. However, I'm worried that she'll decline even faster without even the dog for company. Once again, I feel anxious about the future and guilty that I'm so far away and can't nip Mum's mistakes in the bud before they get out of hand.