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My mother lives alone and has dementia but she is high functioning in that she takes care of her personal needs and is mobile. She had a gastric bleed 15 months ago which led to 10 days in ICU and 6 months in an ALF before being allowed to go home with help. In July she shattered her elbow due to a fall requiring a cast and 8 weeks of OT. Last month she had a complete hysterectomy. She believes all health issues are now behind her and is unaware of the level of her mental decline in the past 15 months. I don’t believe she can take care of a dog, even an older dog since she can’t even remember each day if she fed her fish. The dog she had when she had the gastric bleed was put down after living at the vet for 6 months and $6,000 later. He was a biter and had bitten 8 people prior to being housed at the vet, no rescue, his former ‘trainer’ nor anyone at the vet’s office would take him. In order for her to return to live at home she couldn’t keep a biting dog since she needed people to come into her home to provide light care and transportation so she made the decision to put him down.


Should I ignore the subject of another dog? Discuss my concerns with her? It is a touchy subject and I don’t want to upset her. I know another dog would give her purpose and keep her company but it is unfair to the dog. Thank you for your suggestions.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to help me. I do not want her to get another dog but am concerned with how to handle the subject each time it comes up, she tends to fixate on certain subjects. I like the 'blame it on the doctor' idea, she seems to do everything the doctor says even if she doesn't like it. For those that asked, she dislikes people and therefore HATED living in an ALF, even though it was THE top of the line facility in the area. Maybe I can get her neighbor to let her walk her dog more frequently and in the meantime I'll ignore the subject when she brings it up and if she pushes I'll revert to my favorite word "perhaps". Thanks again, you all are the best!!!
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Reply to Veronica33
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I wouldn't get another dog..that's just abusive to a poor animal that has needs and wants and someone who simply can't take care of them.

My mother would love to have a little dog, but there is no room in her apt for one, and she lives in an attached apt with brother, who owns between 3-7 dogs at any given time. And probably 10 cats, but they're all upstairs. The smell in the house is pretty rank, w./o the addition of yet another animal. Most are not housebroken and that's---well, gross.

My mom can barely, and I mean BARELY take care of herself--it would be beyond cruel to introduce a dog into her life.

She has 2 cockatiels (feral) that some idiot at the Sr Center gave her. She can't even see them, as they are in a high cage and she can't "look up" due to back issues. They stink to high heaven, nobody washes their cage and she gets my niece to feed them occasionally. I'm amazed they've lived this long!

They are mistreated simply from neglect and I can't see how she feels they are "companions" she can't even see them. I have developed a serious allergy to the dander and feathers and have to "dose up" with antihistamines and cortisone eyedrops before I venture up there. Every surface in her apt is covered in a fine mix of dust, bird dander and cooking oil. Pretty smelly.

And mother has just enough dementia that she can't remember if she fed and watered the birds or not. It's just sad.
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Reply to Midkid58
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Your Mom has been thru a lot in the last 15 months. Under anesthesia it seems like at least twice. For a person already experience Dementia, this only makes it worse. And spending time away from what is familiar. I would not get her a dog. She wouldn't care for it properly. Not fair to the animal. You may want to watch her closely. Maybe time for an AL or NH.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Does she still have helpers coming in? If yes, could you ask if any of them have a friendly dog that could visit with Mum while they are helping her?

Do your Mum's neighbours have kids that could be paid to walk the dog on a daily basis? The dog walker could be tasked with checking the food and water dishes when they brought the dog back from the walk.

The thing with a dog as opposed to fish, is that a dog will let you know it is hungry. You can get hoppers for kibble, so you are not daily filling the bowl.

In my family the situation is a bit different. Mum, step Mum, fil and fil and step mil all have pets, cats or dogs or both. All but step mil are in their upper 80's, but luckily none have dementia. The pets do give them an extra purpose, companionship and a reason to get up in the morning.

Mum's current dog is a delightful big dog who is 8. She and I have an agreement that I will take any dog she has if she gets to the point she can no longer look after it.
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Reply to Tothill
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While your Mom is "high functioning" now it will be a short time when she sill need full time care or for safety reasons can not be left alone. Now might be a good time to look into AL facilities that have Memory Care within the building. Most of the facilities have "house dogs" or at least visiting Therapy dogs so she can pet and interact with a dog but not have to care for it.
I would also say that the doctor said that now is not a good time to get a dog, maybe later. Usually someone will go along with that "the doctor" says.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Oh how I do feel for all of you - you, mother and the late dog.

My mother felt like this about cats. The selection and acquisition of a cat was under discussion for about a year; but I think the major difference is that, living with my mother, I did fully intend to find her the right cat. Events overtook us and it didn't happen; but I wonder if you could talk to your mother about a hypothetical dog and keep the subject at bay that way?

But I'm dissatisfied with any answer that's just about the dog. Why was your mother so determined to leave the ALF? I ask mainly because she if she now feels that she lacks stimulation and companionship... maybe that's the decision that wants revisiting, don't you think?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Veronica33, time to start using "theraputic fibs" to answer your Mom. Such as when the next time Mom asks about getting a dog, you could say "I spoke with your doctor, he/she said now is not a good time, maybe later".
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Reply to freqflyer
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