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Dogs died


Registered User
Dec 7, 2015
My mum was in hospital as you might see from previous posts she's here with us.

My dad said he couldn't cope or my sister, so she's here. Two weeks ago their old dog Stanley had a fit and lost the use of his legs, he was 14 nothing the vets could do she he was put to sleep.

Mum keeps asking how the dog is I don't know if I should tell her I know she will be upset and blame my dad.

Should I tell her or keep up the pretence?

Thank you


Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
The same happened when our lovely dog died. My husband kept asking how she was and I just said fine. Sometimes he thought she was in the back of the car and I just said, yes. He was quite content about that but would have been distraught had I told him the truth.

White lies are permissible when dementia is involved.


Registered User
Jan 20, 2011
Mum keeps asking how the dog is I don't know if I should tell her I know she will be upset and blame my dad.
It sounds as if your mum has had so much upheaval recently that it might be best to let her settle a bit longer before you share the sad news. She is asking to be reassured, IMO. It will only destabilise her to discover that the dog has died. She might feel that he would have been OK if she had been there, hence potentially blaming your dad.

On the other hand, PWD have a right to be treated as the adults they still are. Although being told of the death of an animal, or indeed a person, is a shock, sometimes the PWD appreciates the opportunity to experience their grief, rather than being sheltered from it as if they were a child.

This is a matter of judgment, as to whether they will 'benefit' from some kind of closure on the relationship. The tricky bit comes later when they forget and ask again. In some cases a gentle prompt allows the person to place the deceased individual in their past. In other cases they cannot do this and the sad news is re-experienced each time as fresh grief.

My advice is to stall for now, but to consider whether your mum might be told at a later time. The chances are that her grasp on time isn't very good by now. Thus talking about Stanley in the past tense, say in January, might be a way of allowing her to pick up on the news, but there would be no need to tell her exactly when he had died. If she asked, you could say "It was last year. We miss him but he was a very old dog."

Some people might think this is a mean trick, suggesting to someone with memory loss that they already knew something but have forgotten it. Only you know if this would be the kindest approach. Inevitably, however you tell her (if you do) there will be a later conversation where she has forgotten again. At that stage she might like a photograph of Stanley, but only if it doesn't upset her.

It really is a tricky judgment call. I hope you find the right path. Katrine x
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Registered User
Oct 10, 2015
Sorry I'm going to be controversial now and say I would tell her. There is such a strong bond with a dog and I feel she has a right to know. It will be worse later if she detects the deception. Dog owners are realists- we know they don't last forever unfortunately. Just explain the dog is at peace , running free over the rainbow bridge - whatever is appropriate . She may well feel anger at not being there or not the one who made the decision but that is all part of grieving which she has a right to do.


Registered User
Nov 5, 2014
When Dad's cat died

I thought I'd share the experience of when my Dad's cat died.

My Dad (88) has mixed dementia which - touch wood - has remained relatively static since diagnosis early last year. He still lives at home with support.

He was devoted to his cat of 13+ years and my sisters and I often said that we hoped Dad passed before the cat did, as we weren't sure how he'd handle it.

But a few months ago, one Sunday morning when I was staying over, Dad shot into my bedroom in the morning, distressed because he'd found the cat on the floor and she couldn't move properly. We nursed her all day - she spent most of the day on dad's lap and there were lots of tears.

Come Monday, I contacted a vet - explaining the situation, including telling them about Dad's dementia. The vet couldn't come to the house - we had to go to the surgery. I asked Dad if he wanted me to take puss on my own, but no, he wanted to come too. So off we went, puss on Dad's lap. At the vet's, he stayed in the car with puss until the vet was ready to see us.

As expected, the vet felt the best option was to put puss to sleep. She talked to Dad all the way through, and he made the decisions. I was confident that, in the moment, he knew exactly what was happening and it was right that he was able to make the choices - not being there when she was put to sleep, cremation, no return of ashes, etc

Dad was very upset - not surprisingly. (Me too!) But, looking back, his involvement really helped the grieving process and the memory that his beloved cat was no more. He only once 'forgot' - and that was when he woke up from a sleep after we got back from the vet.

I was worried that Dad wouldn't remember longer term and would be out looking for his cat - but no, he's always retained the core memory of what happened i.e. puss is no more, even if all the detail has gone. He has a lovely photo of her beside his chair and will still talk about her, 'tho less so in recent months.

Obviously, every PWD is different - but thought I'd share how we ended up handling the death of a beloved pet. I didn't plan it, just took one step at a time depending on how Dad was.
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Registered User
Dec 7, 2015
Thank you all for your advise and help.

I think I will wait until after Christmas then tell her I have seven dogs and lost one recently.which she knows and is OK about. I know it will be more difficult with her own dog but I done feel like I should keep it from her and treat her any differently from anyone else she still has her own mind it whatever capacity that is and don't want to patronise her.

So sorry Amelie thank you for telling me your experience xxxx
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