He doesn't remember the dog is dead...

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by littlelins, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. littlelins

    littlelins Registered User

    Apr 26, 2008
    16
    Stockport
    Just over 3 weeks ago my dad's dog had to be put to sleep because he had stomach cancer. He was, in my dad's words 'his only friend'! Not true, but you know dogs are a man's best friend and he had been dad's main companion for a long time.

    Anyway, at first I was amazed at how well dad seemed to accept it....but then I discovered he has been out searching for the dog on a few occasions - not ideal to be wandering the streets at any time, never mind now winter is on its way! He has called me a few times to ask where he is too. I just tell him the same story again and again in the most sympathetic way I can muster.

    My dad is not too bad - his memory is very poor, but he is managing at home with carers going in 4 x daily. He still goes out locally, so I'm not concerned he'll get lost looking for the dog - not yet anyway - but wonder does anyone have any ideas on anything I can do to help him remember?

    Dad himself wrote on his calander the dog had died and it has helped on some occasions, but hasn't stopped all the calls to me or the wandering the streets.

    I suspect there is nothing I can do but hope for the best, but any suggestions would be gratefully received :)
     
  2. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    When my Mum's 17 year old dog became very ill and died, I bought her a soft toy dog, which she enjoyed holding and stroking all the time in the Nursing Home, a few years later. Although she knew it was only a toy, she talked to it and made up stories about it. Mum also had two teddy bears and she spent hours with her friend in the Nursing Home, playing with them and talking about them.

    One of the carers gave the two friends a pair of identical toy dogs and their conversations would become quite involved and they also remembered things which had happened in the past. My Mum knew the animals were only toys, but I think her friend believed they were real and alive.

    I used to take my Golden Retrievers into the Nursing Home to see Mum, but the problem was that some of the nurses were terrified of dogs and I felt awkward, even though the dogs love people and are very gentle. There also came a time, when Mum didn't really respond properly to the dogs and they began to ignore her.

    Mum always remembered her dog from photographs that I showed her, even if she wasn't always sure who members of the family were!

    I think that Care and Nursing Homes could make far more use of animals in getting people interested and involved in the natural world. The other residents seemed to look forward to seeing dogs around. It would be good to have a fish tank or an aviary for people to look at, or perhaps a cat or some rabbits to stroke.

    Kayla
     
  3. lesmisralbles

    lesmisralbles Account Closed

    Nov 23, 2007
    5,543
    I agree

    I think that Care and Nursing Homes could make far more use of animals in getting people interested and involved in the natural world. The other residents seemed to look forward to seeing dogs around. It would be good to have a fish tank or an aviary for people to look at, or perhaps a cat or some rabbits to stroke.


    What a good idea:)

    Barb X
     
  4. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    1,213
    south lanarkshire
    Hi

    When I lived next door to a nursing home (quite a few years ago) I took my calmest Saint Bernard in to visit.

    Big though she was, the residents loved her. Only problem was they fed her biscuits, broken into very small pieces, unfortunately lost in the jowls of a Saint,result was lots of biscuity slobs on residents knees.

    This nursing home also arranged visits from Glasgow Zoo with young lions, tiger cubs?.

    The residents throughly enjoyed these visits.

    Alfjess
     
  5. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    1,213
    south lanarkshire
    Hi

    Forgot to add to my last reply, that Dad's home has a budgie (Sylvia) Some of the more aware residents are very attached to the bird.
    I have provided the budgie with a bigger more appropiate cage and "Sylvia" appears to be enjoying the new accomodation

    Alfjess
     
  6. DianeB

    DianeB Registered User

    May 29, 2008
    765
    nottinghamshire
    littlelins, from what you have written Dads still at home so you need some ideas with regards to that. Has Dads dog been buried at all ...eg. in the garden? either way could you buy something for the garden as a memorial and a photo attached?

    With regards to nursing homes, animals can always bring a sence of calm. We are fortunate in that Mums home has 2 budgies, 2 tanks of fish and a resident cat called Smokey who loves to sit on Mums knee.
     
  7. heartbroken

    heartbroken Registered User

    Feb 17, 2008
    747
    derbyshire
    can't say much more it is so hard as what ever you say is forgotton could a photo with a message on, gone to the heaven above or something like be placed where he can see it easy to remind him, just a thought, sorry for his loss.


    the nursing home we are hoping that Edna is going to has 2 cats we have also thought about one of her cats joining her if its posible we would pay for its keep.
     
  8. littlelins

    littlelins Registered User

    Apr 26, 2008
    16
    Stockport
    Thanks

    Thanks for all the replies and DianeB and heartbroken for your suggestions. The dog was cremated - pre-dementia, my no nonsense dad would never have wanted a memorial, but in hindsight, I think I should have at least collected his ashes..I think a spot in the garden would've helped. Ah well, hindsight is a wonderful thing!

    I am going to print off some pictures with a message as to what has happened to place round the house, so hopefully that will help.

    If not, then I think I will make some kind of grave in the garden...
     
  9. mica123

    mica123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2008
    47
    england
    a little white lie

    hi Littlins,I am by no means spouting off about my dementia training,i am merely offering advice,that i have tried and tested.When your parent asks about their pet,ask them what they liked about it,ask them to remember good times,reminisce yourself about the pet,and am sure by the end of the conversation you will have cheered them up whereby they think of the good times with their pet.leave the conversation still talking about it and tel them you will talk again next time you visit.please let me know if you choose this route,it will help in my research.thanks
     
  10. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    3,725
    North Derbyshire
    I am sure that animals are a great comfort. After having dogs, cats and pigeons, my mum and dad settled on a budgie. In fact they had two budgies, both called Billy. The last one died about 5 years ago. When mum entered the Care Home, I was delighted to see that they had two budgies. I have tried to interest mum in them, but she is not the slightest bit interested. As far as she is concerned, they are someone else's budgies, not hers. It is a real disappointment to me, I thought she would be having them on her hand and talking to them. Zilch.

    Margaret
     
  11. rose_of_york

    rose_of_york Registered User

    Mar 22, 2008
    94
    York
    Pets as Therapy

    When my Labrador was alive she was registered as a PAT dog and we used to visit in a local old people's home. The residents loved her and we could never pass the place without the dog trying to go in.

    If care homes would like a canine (or feline) visitor please see http://www.petsastherapy.org/
     

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