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Just wanted to hear everyone's opinions about having pets in the home.Do you think they help or hurt your elderly loved ones.What are the advantages /disadvantages in having them in the house with your loved one..Do you think it helps with their emotional well being, exercising, overall mental/physical wellbeing.I start this discussion because of a post that was made to me by someone that thought. it was "disgusting" to have pets in the home with your elderly loved one. What do you guys think?

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The 2 dogs have been outside to pee and gone back to bed. The cats are waiting to go out but it's not totally light yet so, even though I have yard lights and deck lights, they'll have to wait as there are coyotes around here. All is quiet. Dawn is such as lovely time of day.
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Animals really have an impact on us dont they? Aww, your Rotty sounds like she was wonderful! How sweet :)
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I found a kitten in a tree in a state forest near my home. Carried it under my shirt to keep it warm and away from dogs. The vet said it had all kinds of problems including ringworm and would have to be bathed daily. The cat did not go home with me and didn't leave the vet alive. For my part, I got ringworm on my stomach from where I carried him.
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Ugh Ashlynne, so glad she found you! My giant dog found a 10 day old kit in the brush a few months ago and picked her up in her mouth and dumped the kit on my feet. Bottle fed baby for 5 weeks! LOL Now my son and DIL adopted her...lucky kitty too! What dumb ass would drop a 10 day old kit in a wooded park?????
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I would never expect an elder to take care of a pet that was beyond their physical capabilities. When my mother came to live with me she already had the 2 dogs, she just wasn' t able to physically able to care for them properly. I didn't mind them coming with her, I already had 6 of my own. I love them both, the dogs that is. I clean up after them, take them to the groomers, vet etc. All she has to do is let them lay in her lap ,pet them, throw toys to them and food on the floor , I clean that up to. They help her mentally, also gets her off my back. I had a Rottweiler once, beautiful girl, took her to a rehab/NH, those old folks loved her, She was 110lb and very loving. People in wheel chairs were just about fighting with each other to get close to her. She would just lay that big old head in their lap and let them love on her.Their behavior brightened up,even for some became very talkative, it was just magical to see how their behavior opened up with that big dog.
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Texarkana... This topic is definitely a great one, in my opinion. I must say there are pro's and cons. on the subject. My dog actually saved my mother's life, the dog stayed by mom's side whenever I was not there. A fire started in the house and my dog alerted Mom. Well I guess you could say they saved each other, Mom left the house with the dog, unfortunately my cat ran away and hid inside, lost her life. Then....As my Mom got diagnosed a few years after, I cared for her in my home, My cat (the one in my profile pic) played fetch every night with Mom. What a blessing to me and Mom, that was. That same cat would alert me whenever Mom wandered off alone. On that note, I would never leave a person who needs care themselves alone with a pet. I adopted a 10 year old dog because her master passed away. This dog is loving BUT...hyper, does not listen, barks at sneezes, airplanes, thunder BUT I take her to the Bark park she hangs out with the people not the dogs, when she's done socializing with humans she sits by the exit and can't wait to leave. I take her to the Nursing Home, she fights me when I want to leave, she is gentle and loving and calming to the residents. The oddest thing is, the Dementia residents who yell repeated words all day, they can have a very normal type conversation with the dog and I.
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My mother was never a pet person. She tried many times , but it never worked out. Now that she is living with me, she is exposed to my 3 cats and loves it. She talks to them and likes to have them sit in her lap. I think for my mom she didn't like pets before because she really didn't get it. By that I mean she never looked deep enough to see how unique each dog or cat is so she never saw their personalities. Now that she is exposed to my cats and we've explained what they like and their personalities , she seems to get it. It's been a wonderful outlet for her to show love to them and to get love back. When my youngest cat gets on her lap she gets excited because he chose her to be with. She was one of those types who would have called a pet loving home "gross".
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The pets are good for the caregiver too. They like me even when my LO doesn't. We have 2 dogs and 4 birds, plus right now we are cage sitting another bird. The birds add a nice cheerful sound to the house. The dogs have different needs and add their own variety to daily life. Having the birds where you can see them from wherever you spend a lot of time is entertaining as they fuss around their cages. Pets are a plus, plus, plus
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Freq madam likes meat. She'll come out to play for a bit but keeps running back to her "house" to check her bowl. I have top quality kitten dry food but she's too young to handle it. Right now she's happy to eat 3 or 4 meat meals a day and sleep bless her heart.

The rest of the crew, all rescues over the years, know there's "someone" in the other room but they're not bothered at all. My big male, Charlie (Charles T. Cat, off the street when I lived in the city), loves kittens, especially the ladies though he doesn't remember why lol

The cat I inherited from my mother came from rescue and had kittens before that. Of course she's spayed and about 5, I wonder if she'll remember and take Lucy under her wing. We'll see. Whatever, she's home here furever.
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I think pet therapy is terrific if the loved one likes pets. That said, I do not support bringing a pet into the home of elder who may have cognitive or physical limitations and expect them to care for the pet on their own.

This is cruel to the pet and could be dangerous to both the pet and elder.

If you have a pet and you want to visit with the pet with the elder, then by all means do so.

I think elders respond to animals positively and enjoy the company and companionship a pet can bring.
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Ashlynne, over a decade ago I took in 2 kittens that were about 4-5 weeks old, what I did with the kitten chow was add water to it to make a mush. The kittens were able to eat it that way. I still have those rascals :)
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My wee rescue "starving off a back road" kitten, Lucy, has been here a week now and she's doing well. Loaded with fleas, worms and lice, she's in a huge dog crate in my sun room, quarantined from the rest of the crew (2 dogs, four adult cats) but, though she's had a flea treatment, they get on me when I handle her so now I'm spraying and fighting with fleas in the main house, I took her to my vet before bringing her home and she'll go for a check again in another week or so.

I'm by no means a hoarder but she was a special case. If she hadn't been found, , in the middle of a back road desperately trying to eat a dead bird, she didn't have much longer to live. Never gone looking for animals, they just find me :) She's so very tiny she can't manage dry food and gets 3 meat meals a day.

She's one of the very lucky ones. So many get dumped out here in the country and left to die. Some days I loathe humans!
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Mom loved her little dog so much and the first several years she was in the NH we brought the dog in several times a week to visit. In March I was up to see her and asked if she wanted me to bring the dog and she said NO! Very adamant about it. She passed in April.
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texarkana,, some people even say things about a person only having one pet, even if its a fish tank! I grew up with animals, mainly dogs and cats, but over the years, I have had various rodents, fish, dogs, cats, reptiles... so on! I do not think we have as many as we did before but I get all the" another one" or get rid of some!!!

We have two dogs, reptiles,one rodent and fish as of right now. Your keeping them clean, you all are clean, and everyone goes to the Drs/Vets. Same with us!!! You and your mom know your limits physically and financially as do we ( we are at our limit). Im glad they are helping your mom and you!!! Your both helping them as well! Enjoy your fur- babies and just tell that person it's everyone's own decisions,capabilities,happiness and life!

I personally could not live in a home if there wasn't at least a fish tank!! I feel animals of all sorts help us ( at least me) feel like me. Yes, I wanted to work with animals growing up, now I volunteer at the animal shelter, so Im half there!

Good luck to you and your mom, oh, and I love they bathe with your mom, but its just on her lap so I dont even see elder abuse. Plus its your moms choice! My sisters cat used to bathe with her!!!! He jumped in there!( Of course she got out at that point lol)
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Tex.... I don't care how many pets you have..... it's a home with pets and the idea of mom and the dogs getting their bath together is awesome....mom feels useful and everyone smells nice afterward..... yes, pets are great for folks that love them..... as long as they know to stay out of the way when someone is walking.... but we also know an elder will fall for no reason at all.... so ya, upvote for pets in the home...... and do we care what that person said about your house..... that would be a great big NOPE !!!!
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Tex pay no attention to the person who suggested your house was nasty - you're not the a**hole whisperer! I have one big dog, one little dog, four adult cats, all with dubious backgrounds, and a tiny kitten rescued off the road (Lucy) who is currently quarantined in the sun room until she gets clear of worms, fleas and lice, along with an old goldfish called Ralph. The little dog, a minpin x jack russell terrorist inherited from my mother sleeps in my bed as she did with her. My house isn't spotless but everyone is well cared for and happy. It's called "home".

Seniors can certainly benefit from contact with pets. If it's not possible to have their own there are visiting pet programs here in Canada with volunteers and their dogs visiting nursing homes each week. Many NHs have a resident dog or cat and a lot of them have fish tanks.
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Pets are good therapy for anyone who likes them, but especially for elders. They give so much and ask for little in return. They do require care, but it's for basic needs.

They don't play noisy video games, don't need the latest wireless devices, don't play loud music, don't watch tv, don't sponge off their parents if they don't feel like working, don't make excuses why they can't visit ....they just give and give.

I've read research that just the act of petting a furry critter (domesticized, of course!) has a calming effect for a person, but the pet also benefits from lower blood pressure through the act of being petted by a human.

Animals are so forgiving; they've been domesticated (with the exception of some breeds which require training) so they're perfect companions.

I've also read of animal therapy being used for veterans with PTSD. The vets have said that the animals accept them unconditionally, don't judge whether or not they've had to kill in combat, don't condemn them for their service or profession, and have opened new avenues of healing for them.

I'm sure everyone is aware of pets that are also trained to alert for specific medical conditions, such as seizures.

The problem with an elderly person having a pet though can be mobility. My father loves dogs and would love to have one but in his current situation it would be difficult to care for a dog.

So we ask neighbors to bring their dogs over for visits.

I've made some inquiries how to get more animal interaction, besides going to dog parks, but it seems that most opportunities would involve volunteering at shelters, which would probably be challenging for someone who uses a walker.


Prisons are also using animals to rehabilitate and provide careers for certain categories of offenders. Caring for the dogs apparently gives them a direction as well as new purpose in life.

If I had the time, I'd like to start a visiting pet therapy program whereby folks with dogs brought them to visit seniors, kind of like Meals on Wheels but it would be Dogs on Wheels.

Nursing homes have pet therapy programs; one assisted living facility even had a resident dog, or maybe it was a cat...I don't remember. I think that's one of the best ideas I've heard for facilities. Now, if only hospitals would adopt the idea...
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I guess I forgot to hit submit. Anyway, my mother and I aren't close but the one thing we can relate to is our love of our fur babies. I believe that her love of her dogs keeps her mind clicking along and motivates her to be more mobile.I know this may sound strange, but I can quickly get her to take a shower if I tell her one of her dogs needs a bath. I get her into the tub on her shower bench, she bathes herself first,great physical activity for her arms. lay a towel over her lap and place which ever dog, the 4lb yorkie or 10 lb. shi Tzu and put doggy shampoo on them and she does all the washing( I am standing right there to assist) she gets them washed off and then I take over. Mother is very clean by this time and definitely doesn' have fleas or ticks and less itchy skin as we use the sensitive skin dog shampoo.I told her some might think this was elder abuse washing the dog with my mother but she said (I won't use the actual language she used) it wasn't anyone ;s business and she felt better about being able to take care of her dog.In fact this business of her washing the dog while she was in the shower was her idea and I thought well kill 2 birds with one stone, everybody is clean.
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I started this discussion because "someone" intimated that my house was nasty and I couldn't be taking care of my mother because of all the 8 dogs, they are little ones,.Actually, I take even more care to have the house clean because of the dogs, and they do keep us active. I really believe if it weren't for my mom's little dogs she would be very miserable, she doesn't have dementia.She had to sell her home and belongings before she moved in with me but the one thing she could bring from her old life were her "babies" and that was fine with me . Of course now all she can do is hold them , fuss over them, I do all the cleaning up after them, take them to vet and groomers but I don't care, I have 6 of my own little "monsters".After my surgery on my neck I was having a pity party for myself when one of my little jack russel terrorists had a seizure,he has them occasionally, I immediately forgot about myself and was totally focused on him ,he is okay, but my depression was gone and for the rest of the day my mental aspect was much more positive, I moved around more, was more sociable with husband and mother(mother and I are not close but the one thing we relate to each other is our love for our little fur babies).
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I agree with freqflyer. I think a pet is wonderful for the elderly and they do help in keeping them active. It also does depend though on the activity of the animal and to be careful the elderly cant/doesn't trip over them. But most animals esp if they had them a while are already calm.

Plus there are many dogs and even some cases cats, who are trained to help the elderly or the disabled. They are wonderful companions too :)
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Even though my parents [in their 90's] live in their own home without pets, they enjoy visiting me and seeing my cats. Mom just loves petting them. Always has through out the years. Dad enjoys their antics, makes him laugh. My MIL [88] has a cat that she adores, he's an older mostly out-door cat.

I wish my parents would have continued to have had pets, it would have given them something to do doing the day, and something new to talk about. I know dogs are wonderful to have, and give people great exercise for walking.

In my neighborhood there is an older woman who walks her large dog twice a day... and it's not a slow pace, but a brisk walk.... it really helped her after she had hip surgery, she recovered quickly, and she is able to clean up after him during the walks.

If an elder would like a pet, one has to consider the life span of that pet, such as will the pet outlive the pet parent and will there be someone to bring that pet into their own home. If there is a back-up plan in case the owner passes on, great, I think an older person would greatly benefit from having a mild mannered pet to care for on a daily basis.
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