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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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Listen to me: I just had to bury my mom's dog in my garden because her memory loss precluded pet care. It was a long, sad story. Truth be told, we all adored the dog and it was the saddest thing to watch. For years I said, the dog is keeping my mom alive and she is killing him. Well, she finally did.

IF the AL can't help with care, it is not fair to the dog.
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Lucky enough? yes. But willing also. I am so glad for you! You are and will be greatly blessed for your understanding and compassion.
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My mother's old minpin died and she desperately wanted another but with Parkinson and numerous strokes she knew she couldn't care for it. When I moved in to care for her I thought what the heck, the dog would always have a home with me and so came Sue, a minpin x jack russell terrorist.

My mother is now in a nursing home and close to the end but she had four years with Sue always at her side. Sue and mother's cat, Pixie, now live with me, my four cats and old rescue lab on 2 acres out in the country.

I know it wouldn't work for everyone but we were lucky enough to be able to make it happen.
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I have read each and all of the above posted responses to the caregiver whose mom insists on getting a dog. My heart aches for you all for all the burdens and pressures you feel.

I, too, am a dog lover. I have two dogs and an old cat, but am in a home with a fenced in back yard, so I can leave my dogs out into the yard to bark and run safely without having to walk them. Dear ones, the kind of companionship a dog can give goes much deeper that that of providing medical care, a safe place to live, and day to day personal care. I can talk to my dogs, they love to curl up in my lap and receive hugs and petting, their bodies are warm against me and so they comfort me with their presence and "love." I am still able to feed them, and make sure they get the personal and medical care they need. Because they are with me and "love" me, it somewhat lessens my need emotionally for human companionship/fellowship. So I am somewhat less of a burden to my adult children.

May I suggest, as one of you did above, that you find someone with a well-behaved pet who will visit your mom frequently with that pet. It could make a world of difference. If her request is coming from pure obstinacy and is an attempt to demand and control her family, that is another issue as some have suggested. Especially dogs have special gifts, I do believe, to give and receive love. I've often felt that the love of a good dog is akin to the love of God. After all, if you reverse the letters, d-o-g, you have g-o-d. Ultimately, we all crave unconditional love and acceptance.

In this case, it sounds like she is unable to care for a dog, and that is sad. So, do the next best thing. Listen with your heart, pray for divine guidance, and search for another loving person with a suitable dog to visit with her.

I have an older friend whose dog died. She was heartbroken. But now she lives with relatives who also own a dog, and she can enjoy their dog without the responsibilities of caring for it herself. That is a win-win situation. She is 93.

God bless you in your struggles.
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If perfectpetzz doesn't work for you, you can try a stuffed toy animal. I'm not being facetious, it worked for my mother who lived in a building that didn't allow pets and who couldn't have cared for one in any case. Elderly people become child-like in some ways, and a stuffed animal they can cuddle with is sometimes better than nothing.
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I can't offer up any solutions to this situation. However, I can tell you that your not alone in dealing with this dilemma. My mother never was an animal lover and when we had pets growing up, the first instance of them being a nuisance to her she would find a way to get rid of them. "It smells bad, it barks to much, etc.. My Dad loved animals and at one point they had numerous outdoor cats. As long as they were outside my Mother was fine with it. One day our Dad decided he wanted a dog and brought one home. A small Pomeranian he loved this dog and did everything for it. Didn't really have to walk it, as they had a huge yard that he fenced in a running area for it. As time progressed, Mom started claiming it as "her dog". Not surprising as EVERYTHING eventually reverted to becoming hers!
Dad was diagnosed with cancer and was in the hospital for months. His dog was left alone for long periods of time. My oldest brothers son took the dog to live with him in another state and to this day, still has him. The dog is very happy and adjusted well. My mother now lives with my oldest brother and his wife. They have two toy Pomeranians that they have had for years. They take them everywhere with them. My mother gets very upset because she claims one of their dogs is "her" dog. We've done everything we can think,of to get her to understand that she gave up "her" dog to her oldest grandson and that the dog she claims is her's really isn't. The person who stays with her during my brother & his wife's abscense with their dogs get the relentless barraging about how they took her dog without asking and demanding that we contact them to bring it home! It's all part of the dementia! It does get tiresome.. we have got where we tell her that they took the dog to give it some exercise since she can't. This will quiet her down for a couple of hours, but then it will start up again. Just letting you know you're not alone.
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My mom's favorite thing to do on Saturday mornings is to go to the dog park. Do you have a dog park? We go to the one where the dogs are under 30lbs. It's great, she loves it
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My 94 yr old mom moved in with my husband and me 5 1/2 yrs ago . She had a medium size dog come with her. This dog was never trained to come or sit etc . She wasacrazy dog when mom first came she took care of the dog but as time went on did less and less until the dog was completely my responsibility . I did everything with it. Finally the dog started whining and barking every evening and became so disrupt that she even finally agreed it had to go . Luckily someone we knew took it which made it easier for mom to part . But my point is that you will have to care for this dog. Your mom won't be able to do it. Believe me you get very resentful very fast when you have to care for it all the time on top of everything else in life Then you become resentful of mom . Is there any other small pet , less work she might accept ? I know where you are coming from , I just got out of the situation myself
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Hm. I'm a bit puzzled.

We get the picture of a lovely, colourful strong-willed lady, so far so good. What I'm not clear about is whether or not she has capacity. Who is actually in charge of her life, her or you?

If, whether legally or just in practice, it's you, then no dog. But if, both legally and in practice, she makes her own decisions, then you'd better just hope she never gets round to visiting the puppy farm - because I think you'd be on dodgy ground removing a pet that she had legitimately acquired.

Either way, though, you don't have to give her your permission to get a dog. You don't agree it's a good idea, so don't agree to it.

I'm guessing she's not a cat person? Pity...
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Since she is now out of debt and still heartbroken over the loss of her pet, one of the best ways to remedy that is to get another pet (I am assuming dog). Dogs are the best way to lower blood pressure, help with depression, increase sociability and just give unconditional love. We've lost two pets within three months of one another and we have replaced them with two tiny ones. My husband (with dementia) talks to both all the time and loves that they want to jump on his lap and he loves stroking them. It is calming to anyone to pet a soft furry animal. So, I am siding with mom as it really is heartbreaking to lose a pet.
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Go online and search for volunteer groups that bring pets to elderly. There are some great organizations and this may apeaze Your Moms need for a Dog and a need for company. They will make weekly visits and bring the kind of animal she likes.
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You might want to look into "Therapy Dogs"...Those dogs are trained to visit in hospitals, nursing homes etc and you might be able to have a dog visit your mom for some love and some treats several times a week.
I have had three Therapy dogs living with me in my past and they were always gentle, well trained and eager to be petted and loved by the folks ( of any age) where we went to visit. Now that I am 79 I still have two dogs, but am able to take physical care of them with no problem. I think that when I am too old to care for a dog/or cat I will just "fold up my tent and steal away." I understand and sympathize with your Mom's wish to have her own dog, but a visiting dog could solve that problem.
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Let her adopt an OLD dog! NOT a puppy. Seriously, the woman feels all alone and probably hurts in every bone in her body. She will probably die much sooner without something to love. She may be strong willed, but you all sound selfish and put-upon. Your turn will be coming soon...
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HI Laureen, I read through all the suggestions and I think they are awesome. I would like to add one more. I have mentioned it before to others so my apologies for those who already know this. My dog and I belong to a group called Therapy Dogs International. it is a volunteer group of dogs and their owners who visit hospitals, universities, nursing homes etc. They also have a program where they go to libraries so the dogs can "listen" to children read to improve their confidence and skills. I believe they do individual home visits too. In the event that they are not near you, there is a similar group called Pet Partners. All the dogs with these 2 organizations have to pass a test. there are smaller groups too but be aware that some serve different populations depending on your needs. Please post or private message me if you need more info. I have tons! good luck! Lori
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Thank you for the suggestion, Heidi73, I will propose that to her as an alternative. I spoke with her yesterday and she seems to have backed off on the idea a bit. I think she's starting to think it through for herself. I didn't press the issue too much just made some suggestions and that seems to have worked well. I think pressuring too much makes her dig in her heals, if you will. I think she may be coming around. all of you have contributed great solutions and suggestions, and I really appreciate the support. Most grateful to you all! This is the most progress I've had in a long time.
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Can you at least get her to help out at a shelter? Maybe a weekly visit for an hour so she can pet some animals and give them some attention. It'd get her out a bit and the animals might enjoy it, too. Maybe give the argument that she's doing something nice for a bunch of dogs instead of just one, and it's a more manageable way to help? Though, if it's dementia at play, they get hard to reason with!
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I agree, my 19yr old needs constant care and looking after. I'm waiting for her sitter now so I can go out for a bite to eat. She use to not mind being in a stroller but now that she can't see or hear that well she gets rowdy, but she's still my little love
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Senior dogs have enough issues, please don't put them into a situation where they won't be cared for properly. It's not fair to them.
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I don't suppose that rescuing a senior dog, would help?
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I will mention that but I don't think that'll convince her. She has an answer for everything. I think I may be a bit like her myself. I think being firm with her is my best bet.
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