How do I handle my Mom wanting a dog?

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My mother is 84 years old and very strong willed. She lost her dog about 6 months ago and wants to get another one. She lives in a condo my husband and I own and we cannot really afford to have her live there anymore so we may have to find affordable housing for her. She constantly goes to the doctor/emergency/hospital, etc. She has rheumatoid arthritis and is sometimes in a lot of pain. When she had a dog she had a hard time caring for the dog's needs, not to mention the expense. I don't need another responsibility added to what I already deal with but she's wearing me down. If we need to move her in the future the dog may present a problem if they don't accept pets. She has a bird already but I don't see a problem with that. I know she gets lonely but I don't think a dog is the solution. How do I approach this situation? I've made my case to her over and over again and I let her know that I cannot take care of her dog when she's sick or in the hospital but it doesn't seem to matter to her. I'm afraid she will go out and purchase a dog on her own without my knowledge. She just got out of debt with our help so now she's talking about a dog again and how lonely she is. Like I said, she's very, very strong willed.

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I'm not sure if this would help, but maybe you could try asking her what would happen if she were to walk the dog, and while out walking the dog saw something enticing and just decided to take off pulling her down with it? What if she took it out sometime and it got loose and got hit by a car - how would she feel. If she's a real dog lover, she would probably think more about what would happen to the dog and how would she feel about it. You could also try telling her that if she got a new dog and had to move, they might not accept pets, so the dog may have trouble if it had to be with new owners. I guess I'm trying to say that putting the worries on her may make her think more about it not being a good idea. Just throwing out some more ideas - something will work out eventually. Good luck with this difficult situation.
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It's difficult to lose a pet. I love animals, however I'm not so able to care for a dog anymore. I feel if I can't really afford a pet or care for it the way it should be cared for, then it's better not to have a pet than have a pet that's not taken care of. If she's mobile and able to do small tasks then maybe she can volunteer to some small jobs at a local animal shelter. A memory book of her past pets may be nice to put together for her. I'm not her age but have experienced loss and remembering all the antics and good times with my pet keeps their memories alive. It's not fair to have a pet and expect someone else to help with it. If the pet becomes ill, vet bills can really pile up. At 84, she may not be around for a long time so when she passes the dog would morn for her. It's not fair to the dog or any other pet. Everyone is different and I can understand her desire to have a companion who accepts her the way she is. Maybe she can become active at the local senior center, meet new people which would help with her grieving. Good luck
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Have you checked to see if there are any dog rescue or service dog organizations in her area? Many of these organizations will visit elderly in their homes at no charge to provide a service to the community.
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olmaandme, what a nice idea! If your loved one is able to handle a dog for the day, this could be a great solution all around.
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I can tell you, as a R.N., that those who have an animal (talking in specific on the elderly) live longer, happier life's. Key word there is HAPPY....
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Laureen,
It may not be like this, but it does sound a lot like early dementia. My mother 83 who has now been diagnosed with lewy body dementia (2012) had begun to show changes to her personality since 2002. I thought it was solely because she was older that the "I, I, I" prefacing was coming through instead of her constant self-abnegation which was typical of her previous personality. Now I see that it was early parts of dementia, which can take many forms -- depression, paranoia, loss of different types of memory, etc. As her symptoms were diffuse, for about 10 years I wasn't clear it was anything more than "regular" aging and/or mild-cognitive impairment. Now it is clear her personality issues came from the dementia setting in.

Even if you don't think this is happening to her, you may want to check out American Assoc of Alzheimer's Disease at http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_1973.asp which also talks about dementia in general.

If your mom is lonely, is there any way she can go to a day program for seniors in your city/town? Or are there programs for seniors at any nearby house of worship for instance? That might be another route to pursue rather than a dog if she is willing.

All the best to you and your family.
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Dear Laureen, I hope the situation is solved in the meantime. In case not, I can not but agree to previous comments. I love dogs very very much. I always had a dog until 2 years ago. My dog passed away having 16 years, and while I am suffering for more than 6 years with very bad backpain. Some days I can hardly walk from my bed or sofa to the toilet and back. Staying in the kitchen to prepare myself a little snack is sometimes too difficult. And after having fetched everything together that I need, I have to stop, and make myself just a quick sandwich. As much as I would love to have 1 last dog in my life, I know and realize this is NOT possible. Nowadays neighbors, friends, children aso.. do either not care or do not have time to have a little walk with my dog 3 times a day. And when I have to go to the hospital, what then ? Place him/her in shelter for several days / weeks ??
No, if I can not take care of my dog as it should be, then no more dog for me. As I understand from your question, your mother is not suffering from dementia, but purely and simply very very strong willed and acting like a child of 2 or 3 years. Arguments, discussions, long talks WILL NOT HELP. You will have to stand firm and stay with your standpoint : NO DOG ! Some small dogs easily live up to 15, 16 or 17 years. Can you imagine what problems you will have on top of those you already have. With best wishes for you and your mother and a big hug.
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There are many dogs, well behaved, older,healthy dogs that are left alone while their owners are at work.
They are accustomed to going the day without a pee break and usually eat once in the AM and once in the PM but spend their days alone.Many owners regret this situation but have no alternative.
I tell you this because you might be able to find someone who would welcome dropping their dog off before work and picking it up after work thereby providing company for both mom and part time pet.If you consider this option consider
larger breeds as they are generally quiet in their old age and don't get under foot: Example would be an older lab (quiet,relaxed) a real people dog.
If you explain this to your mom she feel she doing what dog lovers do best; providing care and attention for a living, aging soul.
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Addison, I can't really make that determination. You and your charge are the only ones who can determine that. Every solution will also bring some new problems. There are no easy solutions to any of this. I pray God gives you insight and wisdom in this.

Not all cats are sweet and cuddly either. And they also require vet visits and litter pan cleaning, etc. But yes, they are easier to care for than dogs. Mine is declawed in the front.
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If she didn't have a bird, I would suggest getting her a cat. They are much easier to take care of, my mother and mother in law would be lost without theirs. Would she be better off getting rid of the bird and getting a cat, she would at least have more one on one contact with the cat, and maybe that's what she needs.
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