Jenny M

Registered User
Sep 15, 2003
I'd be grateful if anyone can help me with my predicament. We recently adopted a dog for my Mum from an RSPCA rescue centre. At the time, we thought Mum was just depressed, and that a dog would be good company for her, as she lives alone although I and my family are nearby. She has since been diagnosed as having Alzheimer's, and is displaying all the symptoms. The problem is that although she adores the dog, she forgets to let it out often enough, and it has started to mess on the carpet. This is happening more and more frequently, and the house is starting to smell! I don't really think that my Mum is able to give the dog the care it needs (she can't really look after herself) and my husband says that we should return the dog to the RSPCA for re-homing. We would love to keep the dog as she is adorable, and Mum loves her. However, I think that it is probably in the dog's best interests to be placed with an owner who can exercise it regularly and be aware of its needs. I would take the dog myself, but I work as well. I'm so afraid that losing her pet will make Mum worse. Any thoughts would be most welcome.


Registered User
Jul 9, 2003
South Coast
My husband adores dogs, but when our old dog died about 18 months ago, he was a bit upset for a short while but soon forgot to be sad, although we still sometimes talk about the dog and look at photos. I would dearly have liked to have another dog, but didn't know whether to get one as I realised that I had enough to do taking care of my husband, and that he was no longer able to go out on his own with a dog, which he would have expected to do, as he would get lost. I also realised that things would deteriorate, and didn't want to take on any more responsibilities.

My husband stops in the street and talks to every dog he meets, which he enjoys, and even if the owners are a bit amazed they are usually pleased. He sometimes says "shall we have another dog>", but I just remind him of some of the down sides to dogs and he agrees with me.

If you do decide that the dog must go back (and I suspect that this may prove to be the only sensible course of action) you will have to explain it to your mum in such a way that she doesn't feel it's her fault - perhaps you could say that it hasn't been housetrained properly and will have to go back for training - it may be that your mum will forget about it fairly soon, and you don't know - she may be secretly worried about the problems and mess.

I had even thought of offering to look after friends' dogs when they go away for a few days, but felt that it might cause more confusion to my husband, so rejected that idea.

My husband has now been admitted to hospital after a series of crises, so this issue has slipped well down my list of concerns now, but it has just occurred to me that you have to consider that your mum may pick up an illness if there is dog's mess about and she isn't up to dealing with it properly, or she may slip on it and injure herself.

These are just some of my thoughts on the matter, rather rambling I'm afraid, but it is something I have given quite a lot of thought to, and right now I'm relieved that I decided not to get another dog, much as I love them. But - it's your decision in the end, and not an easy one to make, so you have my sympathy, and hope that whatever you decide it works out OK for you and for your mum.

Best Wishes



Registered User
Sep 11, 2003

My mother is also in the same situation, she has a dog,she loves it to bits, however, we know she cannot be trusted to look after it un-supervised.

The dog is fine,

I do feel that the dog is both good for her mind, and also for her personal freedom

I would suggest that, an amount of supervision on feeding the dog etc would be benifitial on your behalf

good luck

Adi (Lumpy one)


Registered User
Sep 8, 2003
Hi Jenny

I know how you feel as my mum in law also has Alzheimers, and a dog that we don't feel she could look after unsupervised..

You said that your mum adores the dog.....How does the dog feel???? That may sound like a really stupid question but the benefits of her owning a dog have to be balanced by the quality of life that the dog receives.

When my mum in law came to live with us, her dog at first was so nervous and 'skittish'. Initially we put it down to a change in the dogs surroundings...but having witnessed odd and inconsistent behavoiur from my mum in law, we now genuinely believe the dog was becoming so confused that it basically didn't know where to turn.......After 8 months she is a different dog!!

There is no doubt that a pet of any kind can have an immensely rewarding benefit to the owner. But you must accept that if the dog is not receiving the care and attention that is appropriate, to it's needs, you must encourage your mum to 'let him/her go'. You have all got enough to do without cleaning up after a dog.

There is no easy solution, and I wish you the best of luck.

Hope this has helped.


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Jenny M

Registered User
Sep 15, 2003
Thanks to those who shared their experiences with me. The decision won't be easy, whatever we decide to do, but it does help to know that others have had to deal with the same problems!
Jenny M


Registered User
Sep 3, 2003
Sadly the motto "a dog is for life not just for christmas" comes to mind.. I am unable to understand why you are unable to look after the dog? My mum is very unstable with Alzheimers and yet i have 3 dogs a horse, 2 children and work as well... a happy dog gives great pleasure and should not just be returned to the dogs home to an unknown future.. unless of course you don't want it.


Registered User
Jun 28, 2003
South coast, UK
I can see why you wouldn't be able to take the dog on yourself! I've considered doing something similar but as I'm away from the house for at least 12 hours every day (working) it would be completely unfair to leave a dog alone for that amount of time.

One thing that may help is doing a search for local dog-walking charities. This is something we're looking into for my mum as her dog is suffering in the same way, not being taken out as often as he needs and therefore he messes in the communal areas of the sheltered accommodation that mum lives in. That's not to mention the problems now arising for postyman, paperboy and milkman!

One such charity I've found is The Cinnamon Trust, The National Charity for the elderly and their pets.
Telephone: (01736) 757900 Fax: (01736) 757010


I havent' had a chance to call them yet but it's worth a try. Another option, depending on your mum's health would be to pay a youngster to walk the dog regularly but I know this isn't always practical.

Good luck!