1. eve67

    eve67 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2015
    After talking to my stepdaughter today she came up with the idea that a dog, not a puppy might be a good idea for us to have especially for OH who has got alzheimers.
    We both like dogs and I have had them before in my first marriage but am just sounding out the idea as am not sure if the benefits would outweigh any extra stress having a dog would cause.
    Need something else to take OH's mind off the fact he cannot drive any more and the vintage railway he loves has said he cannot work there any more due to health and safety.
    any comments or ideas would be welcome

  2. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    West Midlands
    Bearing in mind I'm not a dog person......

    I still don't think it would necessarily be a good idea, but only through reading some threads on here where the dog has been "over loved" with food, or neglected due to lack of food.

    I know you will be around, and having a dog will give you an "escape" sometimes when it needs a walk, but if your husband declines, thought is needed to work out how to walk the dog etc when perhaps you are tied to the house

    I'm sure others who are dog friendly will have their own ideas :)

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  3. daisydi

    daisydi Registered User

    Feb 25, 2015
    Hi, I have a 13 year old springer spaniel and a mother with dementia who is now in a care home. They were very close and had a strong bond but now when I take the dog into the care home my mum really isnt that interested. I would only do it if you really want a dog and all the ties that go with it. On the other hand going out for a walk with the dog is a nice release from pressures of home. Do you think a dog would give your husband some pleasure. The right dog may be very therapeutic for him but maybe it will just give you an extra portion of stress. Sorry I am not being very helpful. I thought taking my dog in to see my mum would give her real pleasure but it didn't .......I would say get a dog if you want one but not in the hope that it will make a difference to your husband as it may not.
  4. rhubarbtree

    rhubarbtree Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    North West
    2jays. Am in much the same position as you. We always had dogs while the children were at home but have been footloose for last few years having many holidays.

    We do sometimes look after family dogs when owners on holiday and OH really loves having one around. A walk, with me, every day and the dogs antics to watch. He finds it amazing that the dogs can find their way back to our house.

    But on the other hand. They are a tie. Most especially if you want to go out for more than a couple of hours. Also I hated leaving mine in kennels. (Family can't reciprocate as they work). And the extra housework involved.

    We have been dogless for about ten years now. Always going to get one after next holiday. If/when we do it will be a small rescue dog well past puppyhood. Not much help, was I, but will follow this with interest.
  5. Hellyg

    Hellyg Registered User

    Nov 18, 2014
    We got a dog after my husband was diagnosed with Dementia. For me it was the best thing I ever did, as the dog keeps me sane, hopefully good for the dog too, as she was a rescue dog.

    My husband despite having had dogs before struggled for the first 2 weeks with the change, but now loves having her. In saying that all the planning, flea, worming etc is down to me, also my husband is still able to walk her and find his way round, so that makes it easier.

    My dog is my best friend so no matter what I will make sure I find time to walk and look after her, indeed already it is my time walking her. However as others have said get the dog if you want one, not for the person with dementia as long term it wil be your dog not theirs.
  6. tigerlady

    tigerlady Registered User

    Nov 29, 2015
    #6 tigerlady, Feb 13, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    I am a dog person, so is my husband, but as the alzheimers got worse, our dog got overweight as he was always giving her food - he used to throw toast and marmalade on the floor for her at breakfast, give her food from his lunch and dinner, biscuits if he had some with his coffee, sweets. When I tried to prevent him he got really angry and denied that he's given her any food previously as he could not remember. When I tried to shut her in another room when we were eating, he got even angrier. He loves our dog but I despaired as I saw her put on too much weight. He is in a care home now, and I take our dog in to see him on almost every visit, and thankfully now the dog is the correct weight, as I put her on a diet given by the vet to get her right again.

    I am not saying this would happen in your case, but I would say that if you have been with your OH for quite a while without getting a dog, you probably dont have a big enough desire to have one, and it does restrict your freedom. If you personally really want a dog, and not expect it to be beneficial to your husband,( which, of course, it could be) then that is a different scenario. I echo daisydi's remarks

    Some dogs homes want foster carers for dogs until they can be rehomed properly and it might be a good way to start if you still want to give it a go. I think there is also a charity which takes in dogs where owners have to go into residential care, and these dogs wouldnt have the issues that some rescue dogs have.

    I will say though that our dog has been of enormous comfort to me, especially now I am on my own - I couldnt bear to come home to an empty house after visiting my husband.

    edited to give the link to the charity

  7. Bambini

    Bambini Registered User

    Sep 8, 2014
    My mum has had AZ for around 3 years now. We already had a dog at that time, but last year we got a puppy, or little git, or nutter.......he goes by many names. However, when we got him mum almost went back to how she was years ago. Engaged, interested and seemed much better. 10 months on things have slowly slipped again but Alfie, now 10 months has kept me sane and mum loves cuddling him. She seems really happy when she has the dogs. I had forgotten that first week of sleepless nights but worth it. Good luck!

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  8. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Are you prepared to take full responsibility for a dog, on top of all you do now?

  9. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    #9 CJinUSA, Feb 13, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    I am a dog person. We rescue cocker spaniels. We had two at the time my mother moved in with us. We were able to direct the older of the two to become (sort of) her dog. We gave him treats if he'd go to the bed beside her chair. As he grew more feeble, I brought him back out with me and we trained the next oldest one to go in with her. It worked brilliantly. It takes knowing how to train them, finding cues that work for them, and so forth, but if you work with a dog shelter that offers dogs that have already been fostered, you will find that the foster parent of the dog will be able to indicate to you the dog's personality, needs, and so forth.

    For four of the years she has been with us, we had three dogs. I lost my favorite last summer to cancer, and we found another sweet boy to replace him and have two dogs again.

    Dogs are very adaptable, and they offer unconditional love. We take in senior dogs, dogs that have problems, and dogs that can manage to get on with other dogs. As long as I am able, we'll always take in rescue dogs.

    I choose cockers because they don't shed. It's true that they require more grooming (trimming of their hair) as a result, but I think I would choose, were it me, a dog that sheds little or doesn't shed period. The cleaning could be troublesome with a hairy dog.

    If you find a rescue dog that came from a home of an elderly person, you will find the dog will have companionability and compassion for your OH.

    I think it's worth a try. The dogs get *me* by when the going gets rough here, and the going *is* rough right now. I don't know what I'd do without them.
  10. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    #10 CJinUSA, Feb 13, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    Oscar and my mother in 2009, Oscar aged maybe 11 and my mother aged 91.

    I offer the photo to show how having a dog can bring happiness and confidence to the person with dementia.

    Attached Files:

  11. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    I feel the same and believe me, I am a dog LOVER.

    A previous poster mentioned that you haven't had a dog recently.

    I think that's a very pertinent point to make.

    A dog has needs too, they're not just a sticking plaster or a prop.

    As tempting as it seems to find an easy distraction and to rescue a kennelled dog (poor souls, I would never kennel my pet, ever!)I would say, please don't.

    Dementia introduces instability and emergencies into people's lives, only with great thought and potential support should we inflict it on animals too.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  12. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    I would say if YOU want a dog and all the responsibility that goes with it then go for it. If getting an older rescue dog make sure that the dog and you OH get along before going for it.
    It's a bit like getting a dog for the children. You will end up with all the expense and responsibility. Make sure you choose the right dog. If you can't leave OH at home when exercising it you will need to work that out.
    Personally I am a dog person and would do it, but that is me not anyone else. It has to be a personal decision.
    Good luck xxxx
  13. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    A little over 3 years ago, our old dog had to be put down as he had cancer. This was prior to OH's diagnosis. We had time to discuss the issue of getting another dog and decided to do so as OH has major cardiac problems and we thought that a dog would encourage him to exercise.

    So we adopted a 2 year old Staffie cross who is the biggest explosion of personality and energy you could ever meet. OH was diagnosed a few months later but our dog has been a real blessing as she demands to be the center of attention and keeps him occupied.

    He can no longer take her for walks so I now do and that's good for me anyway. He does sneak her food, anything from cheese to watermelon but I know that and adjust how much I give her in her meals.

    The best thing is that OH likes the dog to sleep with him and I believe that she reassures him during the night. I sometimes hear him talking to her and he rarely bothers me though that might come as his dementia worsens.

    I don't know how things will go in the future but I am really glad that we have her.

    Many care homes have pets - dogs, cats, birds so they must see some benefit for their residents in having them.
  14. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    8 years ago I adopted a 5 months mixed breed from a rescue centre to help with my mother. The dog became my mother's favourite daughter. Of course that mean more work for me. But as I sometime was not able to be compassionate to mom, dog gave unconditional love to mother and me.

    Mom is on CH for a long time, dog still living on my home.

    If you are willing to have a dog for more than 10 year and accept the extra work I would say go for it.
  15. Livveywills

    Livveywills Registered User

    Jul 11, 2015
    Mum got a dog nearly 2 years ago. It is a struggle for her as she doesn't always remember to let him in the garden and over feeding is something we have to keep addressing. But for someone who has spent her whe life looking after children as a foster carer this little dog provides her with something to care for. Mum can't go out at all on her own now except to walk the well rehearsed dog route . He is a completely badly behaved pain in the neck and I am so grateful for the joy he brings mum.
  16. maryw

    maryw Registered User

    Nov 16, 2008
    We lost our dog aged 6 to cancer 3 years ago. The house was empty, our lifestyle gone so friends helped us track down a puppy. 3 weeks after our dog died my husband had a major stroke, which paralysed him to the extent he eventually came out of hospital in a wheelchair. I was left wondering what to do about the puppy. "She's coming" my husband insisted time and again. The whole situation was life-changing for me as I realised I would have to give up my school teaching job to be able to cope with the changed situation at home AND a puppy!! I talked it over with my husband's consultant who insisted having a puppy would be the best therapy ever and I began to see the benefits for myself as well. So one week after coming out of hospital we made a 2 hr journey (when hubby could hardly walk) to visit this adorable puppy and 2-3 weeks later we collected her!

    It was full on!! You don't get a moment to spare with a little one but the laughter and smiles she brought with her were worth their weight in gold. And what a distraction from worry ....

    Hubby also has SVD so mood swings are much in evidence and he can get very irritated if the dog does not obey the first time. I try to protect our dog from his agitation and keep things calm as the golden rule of dog training is to ignore the bad and praise the good. I take full responsibility for the feeding of the dog and the training. Hubby never takes the dog out alone.

    Of course you think how things might change, and everyone's circumstances are different, but in our case our little dog has brought nothing but joy, love and laughter and enriched both our lives. And having a dog is a wonderful way of meeting people. Good luck with your decision.
  17. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Fab picture CJ. Your Ma looks so happy x
  18. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    My mother has enriched my life immeasurably. And I know my little doggieboy Oscar deeply enriched her life. Butler has a permanent bed in her room and would rather be with her than anywhere. And she will still reach down to pet him, when she is aware he is there. I think having rescue dogs is a win-win, a win for the dog and def a win for us. When she was as she was in the photo, my mother's task in the evening was to feed Oscar. She loved him deeply.
  19. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    She does indeed.

    Oscar looks like me.

    On the brink of action, grey around the gills...just waiting for someone to say 'Fetch!'. :)

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  20. CJinUSA

    CJinUSA Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    eastern USA
    I called Oscar my playboy. I have a photo of him somewhere with three tennis balls in his mouth. He was full of zip. May we all who are grey around the gills have such zip!

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