Elders need companions to love and understand them!!! Dogs have hearts that are filled with love to give a companion!!!

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I see that there are two great needs that can possibly be merged and could be a resolution of two issues. All of us here are here for answers, we are trying to solve a common problem for a Loved one. I also see on the Web there is another problem with Dogs, and they need to give love and need to be loved.
Dogs love unconditionally, Dogs have the gift of survival at no cost, greater instincts than us,and much patience without an attitude. Dogs have a way of comforting and warming the heart.
So it has been bothering me, that dogs are destroyed when they can otherwise be giving love to an Elder at home for a visit to brighten someones day or at Nursing homes for therapy. I just don't know What to do to create this merge as a useful situation.

16 Comments

We adopted a dog for Mom last year. She had never had a dog of her own before (I used to raise, train, and show dogs). There was a big adoption event going on and I went down and looked at some of the dogs, then headed her in the right direction (there were over 200 dogs there). She didn't go for the ones I was pointing out, but for another, sitting in the corner, all by himself, a matted mess. He was a poodle/bichon mix, who had been days away from being put down when he was rescued. Once we got him groomed he was beautiful. He was housebroken, perfectly mannered, and immediately bonded to Mom. He seemed to know what walkers were all about. Mom had her new best friend. When she fell and broke her hip and was in the hospital, he howled that night until we took him in our bed. When she went into the nursing home for rehab, we took him in to see her, and some of the people that we had seen there, sitting in their wheel chairs all day not responding to anything, responded to Oso when he visited with them. Dogs and elders are a wonderful thing.
A thread about animals and the unconditional love they give - I love it! When I moved into my Mothers house I started to foster kittens that have been abandoned, Now my Mother is not exactly an animal lover so I went through all the training, got the house approved thru the humane society ect.. took about 2 months. Finally when the time came to bring some foster kittens into the house to take care of my Mom was pretty nervous. They were very small - only 3 weeks old - and had to be fed by a bottle. We had a little boy and a little girl. My Mother totally bloomed while we had our foster kittens. From August to Jan. we fostered 8 kittens total and all of them found loving homes. The real gift was how it helped my Mom. She ended up taking care of them all the time! She would clean out their pen and liter boxes in the morning. Then she would sit down and feed them in front of the TV for a while. It was so heartwarming to see my 90 yo Mom feeding these little 3 week kittens. My sibs were giving me a hard time for wanting to bring some kittens into the home. The usual complaints - it will be messy, smell like kitty pee, ect. Boy were they wrong. My brother even complimented me on the decision, stating it was "brilliant" and gave our Mom something to do. Right now it is not kitty season so we have not had any for about 4 weeks. However it will be picking up again in the Spring. I encourage anyone to check into the Humane Society for their elders. They have a lot of volunteer opportunities and are a great organization. If you are interested in becoming a foster you can also find me on tis forum.. Hugs to all and lets keep trying to get creative for our elders in their remaining years.
One thing that is also important to consider is the needs of the dog. Some elders are not able to care for a dog properly. If the elder is in and out of the hospital, as hadenough mentioned, someone is going to have to take responsibility for Spot. Then if the elder dies, Spot needs a new loving home. When we adopt animals, they depend on us to be there with them as they grow old and cross the bridge. It is a commitment that should be taken seriously.

So if you bring any animal home, be sure that he/she will have a loving home until the end of his/her days.
I loved your story hadenough! My sister suffered with FTD so her ability to care for an animal as your mom did was almost non-existent. But, this is what I did. First, I trained our Bassett to be on the lookout for Alayne as she constantly wandered on (and a little off sometimes) a circular path through the mostly open floor plan of our home. (She had accidentally stepped on our dog, which actually brings up a safety issue to at least be considered if an elder is cognitively and/or vision impaired. One could be startled or thrown off balance and possibly fall.) Then I bought a lightly stuffed baby doll in WalMart. It was covered with a very soft thin yellow terry cloth, with a stitched-in bonnet-- ruffle only, and painted buttons and smiling facial features including big bright eyes. Alayne's doll was very cuddly, and she loved to snuggle with it in bed. (I placed her arm around the baby doll when I tucked Alayne in at night. And often I'd find her still holding onto her "baby" in the morning in exactly the same way.) Because Alayne would forget she was holding onto her baby when she was up walking around, I would gently tuck the doll close to Alayne's breast, and under her t-shirt or sweater with the doll's bonnetted head popping out above Alayne's shirt collar. (The baby rested in a nearby chair or back in bed while Alayne ate.) Alayne loved when we talked about and pretended she/we were taking care of the baby. "Oh my! She's so cute...Do you think she'd like carrots today?...Let's take her for a walk... Oh Look! She needs a hug. Here, she's got a kiss for you!" Meanwhile, I gave our Bassett, Cleveland, a small stuffed puppy dog and told him it was his baby. OMG! Cleveland instantly became a proud parent, mimicking caregiving as if demonstrating to Alayne. I'd announce it was time for bed, and he'd go get his baby and gently take it to bed with him as if it were real! He never showed any resentment towards Alayne, nor her baby. And, here's a first: Though he had previously chewed every stuffed toy in the house, he never once gnawed or chewed his baby nor Alayne's baby doll. At one point shortly before Alayne's passing, I became very saddened and started crying while she laid unresponsive in bed. Cleveland started crying with me. And shortly thereafter while gently carrying his baby in his mouth quietly crawled under her hospital bed (in our home) where he stayed through the majority of her last hours. I've really gotten off the subject here with details about my sister and our dog. But I wanted to show how I think a companion (of some sort) provides purpose, a sense of being needed, meaning, and comfort, a way to share love to and from another....not always just with humans.
Thanks for sharing your posts!
I wasn't quite sure how this would be accepted here, but I guess, my instincts were right. We all have things to share about care.
Anyway all I know is that my Mom smiles every time I mention my cat, she played fetch with him for hours during her repeating stage. Boy Oh Boy was that a blessing for my sanity. When I say I got go now to feed my cat she says "The Black one?" and for some reason she remembers playing fetch with him. Go figure she has no idea where I fit in her life but she remembers him. I asked her if she remembered my friends dog, a puggle, She says "of course I do Jackob, I'm not stupid!" she got attached to him because my friend kept on eye on Mom every other Saturday for a year. They would sit on her couch and he kept her from wandering too. She didn't want to come home with me at the end of the day because of Jacob. So there is definitely a bond with our furry friends.
Oh my I just remembered this too.... my black cat would come in by me when my Mother would wander and "tell on her". I swear he would come to me and meow like it was urgent. The first time he did that I said to him what? what? this was unusual behavior for him, and he got under my feet and I followed him he took me to the open door and MEOW-ED I was like How did that get opened.... OMG MOM!!!!! Sure enough Mom was gone! Somehow that cat new my Mom was in danger alone! Oddly instead of him following her, he came to tell me??? (hes an indoor cat but curious about outside!) If I leave the door open he goes out slowly if I don't stop him.
4LANEY My dog had her favorite stuffy her baby, a stuffed dog. She always ripped the eye balls out of other stuffed toys then mutilated them slowly but never damaged this one. My Pup's been gone for about seven years. but I still have her Baby. I actually forgot exactly why I still have that SPECIAL toy, until I read your post. GROSS but I will not wash it either!!!!
Before we adopted Oso I think he may have been a hearing ear dog, and that is coming in handy with Mom, who is hard of hearing. When she takes her hearing aids off at night, she can't hear a thing. Sometimes, when I go in to wake her, I'll start out gently calling her name. After a few tries, Oso will stretch a paw out to her. If that doesn't work, he'll get up and put a paw on her face. Then he'll get frisky, jump down off the bed, then back up and on her chest - that one usually does the trick lol.

The other thing he has started doing lately is if she has her "tv ears" in and her cell phone rings, he will bark. That is why I thought he might have been a hearing assistance dog. That and the fact that he doesn't seem to know many verbal commands, yet is very well mannered. Obviously well trained, but not in a sit/stay kind of way. My conclusion was that his previous owners died or ended up in a nursing home, and he ended up in a kill shelter within days of being euthanized. Thank goodness Animal Samaritans found him when they did and took him to the adoption event where we found him. He has been a blessing for my Mom, and no matter what happens with Mom, he has a happy home for life. We all love him.
equillot This is a wonderful match made in heaven. I believe everything happens for a reason. Oso sounds like he is just what your Mom needed and fortunately for him you were there to rescue him! WOW this is exactly what I suppose I wanted to do.... Generate a focus on the needs from a situation like this!!!! And how this can be beneficial. See.... I am not religious meaning I am not for or against anyone's choices of faith or non faith but I do believe there is a reason for everything. You may not really know it but if you are doing a good thing, when you least expect it, a piece of the puzzle of life fits perfectly without effort it's just there. Two great things came out of Oso and your Mom's needs.
Our dog is my Mom's life line. That dog is smart and on the ball. If he thinks something's wrong with Mom, he'll wake me up (we sleep about 3 feet apart), he comes and get's me in the shower or kitchen if she wakes up and i'm not in the room, he knows if she's not feeling well etc. If i take her out somewhere, he runs out to the car the minute i open the door to look for her and will not leave her side until she's back in the house. He sleeps under her chair and really has been a godsend for us and for Mom.
Pets can be wonderful companions for the elderly. I would recommend first to foster a cat or dog to make sure your elderly parent is capable of caring for a pet. Adopting a pet comes with a lot of responsibility including financial. It is cruel to return an adopted pet because it didn't work out. My mother wanted a cat for companionship, but knew she could not care for one properly. She is extremely OCD about housekeeping/she is a neat freak and thought cleaning a litterbox once a week was sufficient. She does not drive so emergency vet visits would be impossible. I knew a cat would not last more than two weeks with her before she would want to get rid of it. I have taken my dog over to her house and have to vacuum before I leave because she is so obssessed with dogs hairs on the floor or carpet. Some seniors are better candidates for pet therapy visits than pet owners.
Debralee- I was delighted to read your post. Animals are absolutely wonderful and help with loneliness and depression. However, it is a huge responsibility and must not be taken lightly. The dogs temperment as well as the elderly persons are determental to a successful union and believe me this may be problematic as you have found out. I understand that your mother has OCD but how unfortunate. The rugs do not provide compansionship and pleasure but a furry friend does.

My deceased Maltese and Maltipoo rescue dog have brought so much joy to the elderly both at home and in visits to the nursing home where my father now resides. I also take my two doggie nephews, Haley and Bailey, Maltese brothers, to visit. They are more docile and will sit in peoples laps. These sweet, toy dogs, bring so much joy and laughter and literally entertain the patients in the library.

I had a beautiful Maltese dog, named Sammy that literally kept my elderly parents entertained and engaged for several years. They were in their 80's and he was their baby. Sammy loved to ride in the car with them, they bought him toys, arranged for grooming appointments, cooked him home cooked meals, played with him, talked to him and walked him. The sun set on Sammy and when he died my parents were absolutely devasted. ( Sammy also visited a alzehmers day care center, at the local veterans hospital and would visit bed ridden patients. He created so much happiness for all of us and was truely a little "rock star").

Charlie, is a Maltipoo, rescue that is much more challenging as he was "overtly
neglected", abandoned, malnourished and abused. We have had him for 8 months and although he has made alot of progress he is still fear aggresive and this has created issues with my elderly mother. (I have considered re-homing him to my sister who absolutely adores him). Charlie is adorable, very energetic, playful but mom just cannot leave him alone and at times her behavior is very inappropriate. She uses him to get attention and does not understand boundaries for the dog or anyone else. Any issues that arise are always associated with mother. This creates tension,stress and anger. Charlie gets irritated and so do we. Mother is a master of manipulation and alienates very effectively. She is becoming more attached to Charlie but .... He is also showing her more attention because she is constantly giving him treats (low fat of course). I supervise him closely ("when I can"), he absolutely adores me but in the back of my mind I worry as mom is unpredictable. Charlie's interaction with my Dad is great! He cannot wait to see him and take him out for rides. Charlie is loved and will be taken care of. I pray it will be with us but if it comes to a point where it is determental to my mother or Charlie, I will make the difficult decision to rehome him with my sister. He is pampered and loved and will remain in a loving home environment.

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