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Should I get a dog!

Littlebear

Registered User
Jan 6, 2017
82
Our 15 year old Dalmatian died earlier this year and we didn't replace her as we were in the middle of a house renovation. It's just about finished now & I'm ready for another dog. I miss the company, walks & cuddles. I'm just a bit concerned about my OH. He says he wants another dog (we're looking at a puppy) but I'm just concerned that my husband does have rages (much better & fewer than before due to medication) & tends to slam doors when he's angry. I'm worried about the impact this might have on a puppy. Our old dog would hide when he kicked off but his behaviour is much better controlled now but still not perfect.

My heart says yes but my head is not so sure. Does anyone have any experience of bringing a puppy into a dementia houshold?
 

cobden 28

Registered User
Dec 15, 2017
45
Our 15 year old Dalmatian died earlier this year and we didn't replace her as we were in the middle of a house renovation. It's just about finished now & I'm ready for another dog. I miss the company, walks & cuddles. I'm just a bit concerned about my OH. He says he wants another dog (we're looking at a puppy) but I'm just concerned that my husband does have rages (much better & fewer than before due to medication) & tends to slam doors when he's angry. I'm worried about the impact this might have on a puppy. Our old dog would hide when he kicked off but his behaviour is much better controlled now but still not perfect.

My heart says yes but my head is not so sure. Does anyone have any experience of bringing a puppy into a dementia houshold?

If you must get a dog, I wouldn't imagine a young puppy would settle in well to a household where one of t he humans is subject to 'rages' whatever the reason for said rages. Perhaps it would be better if you considered adopting a slightly older dog that is known to have lived with older people in the past. Animal rescue shelters sometimes have dogs brought in for rehoming because they've been owned by an elderly person who has died and nobody is willing or able to take on the dog. Such a dog would be more used to living with older people and would be of a more settled nature and even temperament. Depending on the breed and size of dog you are thinking of looking for, I'm sure there's the right dog for you languishing in a shelter somewhere. Do please consider adopting a dog whose previous owner has died, or maybe gone into care where pets aren't allowed.
 
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reedysue

Registered User
Nov 4, 2014
4,748
Scotland
If you must have a dog I would go for an older calm dog if possible. We got my dog as a puppy about a year before mum was diagnosed and he is quite a nervous nelly, I spend so much time keeping mum and dog separated as she used to try and grab at him which would probably resulted in her getting nipped. I have a baby gate with a locking bolt on my utility room so that I have a safe place to put the dog where mum can't get to him.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,130
I think it might be difficult - for the reason you give, the occasional rages, but also because your husband might not recognise the puppy. He may see it as an invader and let it out because it doesn't 'belong' there. Or he may be impatient with things like toilet training. I'm just guessing - my mother is an animal lover but I know how she was with anything new she didn't recognise. So I think you'd have to put some thought into possible issues and how you could resolve them. Alternatively, he may love the puppy on sight - there is no way of knowing.

If you go through a rescue centre there may be the possibility of fostering a dog/puppy, so you could see how it goes and either go on to adopt the dog, or return it if it all went horribly wrong.
 

Hair Twiddler

Registered User
Aug 14, 2012
892
Middle England
@Littlebear, I think you've had some really good and solid advice from all the respondants.

I would add two other considerations. My mum became very jealous of our dog... though she did love him much more than any of us humans.... on a good day.

Mum was resentful of time I spent away from her walking our dog. Logic and understanding that he needed exercise disappeared..mum wanted me there and 'he' was the imposter.

Snacks and treats were her way of showing love and solidarity with Bud, but the feeding went way beyond what was good for him.Overfeeding and forgetfulness became a difficult and stressful source of everyday living.

I totally understand your wish for a dog and the company he/she would bring ..all best wishes.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,060
Victoria, Australia
The last puppy I had was in 1972. Since then, I have had several rescue dogs and they have been wonderful. I am not sure that you need puddles and poo and all the training that goes with puppyhood but dogs or other pets are very good for PWD. Our dog is a very reassuring presence for my husband and snuggles up to him all night. He talks to her a lot and tells her how much he loves her.

If you are not sure, perhaps you could try fostering to see if it would work out. Otherwise, there are lots of breed groups that are looking for people to rehome particular dogs. Greyhounds are supposed to be very gentle and don't require a lot of exercise and owners all think they are wonderful.
 

Littlebear

Registered User
Jan 6, 2017
82
Thank you all for your advice & guidance. It's a heart vs head situation but having had a difficult evening with my husband - lots of door slamming & shouting - I realise it wouldn't be fair to bring a puppy into this environment. My husband says he wants another dog & I certainly do but I am worried he might get jealous of the time I'd need to spend with it. The idea of fostering is a good one which I'll investigate. We have been looking for a rescue dog - we've nearly always had rescues but there aren't many rescue dalmatians about. It's a breed we know & love & I wouldn't want to change.
 

Andrew_McP

Registered User
Mar 2, 2016
247
South Northwest
I love my mother's dog, and I'll do my very best to look after her. But there are lots of times -- not least when she may have been the reason Mum fell and broke her leg -- when I could absolutely 100% do without the extra hassle of having two to look after.

Ok, the dog gives as well as takes, but if I never see another bit of dog poo it'll be too soon. :) And it's very hard to know how much food Mum's rejecting if the dog's constantly on the prowl. I could definitely do without the vet's bills as well, now she's older and creakier. I don't begrudge budgeting for deterioration, but getting from one day to the next gets harder and harder with dementia and I -- as carer for both -- sometimes long for life to be a little less hairy and muddy and sometimes smelly.

I feel bad even typing this though. It feels so selfish to analyse pet ownership so coldly, but you have to be rational sometimes. The other day our dog went nosing around a pile of washing I brought back from the hospital. I thought it was lovely; she clearly missed Mum.

Then I realised she was licking the dried on custard Mum had spat out onto the towel. Dogs are survivalists... those big eyes and waggy tails look like one thing, but it's just an elaborate way of getting fed and looked after. They sacrifice the freedom their wolfy ancestors had and gain the life of Riley. :)

"We have got a doggy with a very sniffy nose,
No crumb is missed, no bum unsniffed, wherever our dog goes,
Her nose is into everything, inhaling every whiff,
Each scent is the equivalent, of a doggy hieroglyph!

Oh, everybody knows that a dog's nose goes, in many unsavoury places,
Inside your shoes, in piles of poos, and then in people's faces,
So you might want to think, what kind of stink, a doggy's been involved in,
Before you let that doggy lick, the child that you are holdin'!"
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,198
cornwall
Thank you all for your advice & guidance. It's a heart vs head situation but having had a difficult evening with my husband - lots of door slamming & shouting - I realise it wouldn't be fair to bring a puppy into this environment. My husband says he wants another dog & I certainly do but I am worried he might get jealous of the time I'd need to spend with it. The idea of fostering is a good one which I'll investigate. We have been looking for a rescue dog - we've nearly always had rescues but there aren't many rescue dalmatians about. It's a breed we know & love & I wouldn't want to change.
I have been in dog rescue for a while but not so much now.
Personally I think a pup would be too much ,especially with a PWD to look after.
Greyhounds are lovely and only require 20 mins a day to walk.
But an older dog would probably be more calm and chilled.

But I’m not sure I would be taking on more responsibility.But I’m not you .. I already have 2 dogs (Romanian and Grecian) . Plus I don’t live with my dad so my situation is different.. Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

northumbrian_k

Registered User
Mar 2, 2017
963
Newcastle
I'm a greyhound owner. We adopted him 4.5 years ago after his racing career finished. My wife's dementia was far less advanced then. He fitted in straightaway, was great with her and she got pleasure from walking him (at first on her own but then later either with me or a carer). He repaid her with love and loyalty. But, even with my vigilance there were a number of incidents where she overfed the dog - with salmon meant for us, with 3 weeks' worth of dental sticks and so on - and gradually my wife's input to his daily needs became less. She stopped wanting to walk him but became obsessed with the idea that we had to take him out for a toilet break even if we had just been out - typical dementia-related behaviour due to lack of short-term memory. She became unable to read the signs that he just wanted to be left alone and would disturb him. She forgot about him and locked him in the bedroom unintentionally. She stopped seeing him, even if he was on his bed in the kitchen or standing right next to her. She began to ask where he was dozens of times a day. When she moved into residential care I took him to see her a few times. I soon stopped, though, as it just seemed to give her things to complain about - why had I not fed him, taken him out and so on - and she no longer asks about him.

This is all about how the progress of dementia altered my wife's attitudes and behaviour. Throughout it all - and despite several provocations - our wonderful hound bore everything with his customary gentle grace. For me he has provided company at the bleakest of times, both when my wife was here and following her move into residential care. Just hearing him gently snoring or watching him chase dream rabbits as he sleeps the hours away gives me pleasure and purpose. In ordinary circumstances I would not hesitate to recommend adopting one of these beautiful creatures (or a breed of your own choice). But with dementia in the mix, I am not so sure.
 
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sarahsea

Registered User
Dec 19, 2017
66
Hi Littlebear, I went through this dilemma last year when my 16 year old dog died. I've always had dogs and I was desperate to get another one, but my husband has early onset Alzheimer's and I knew it could be difficult. In the end, I decided to take the risk and we got a puppy. My husband adored her, but I won't pretend it was easy. The worst part was the first 3 months when I was woken up in the night to take the puppy out for a wee, and then just as I was getting back to sleep, my husband would wake me up because he thought the Police were on their way, or we had to go outside to let off fireworks, or many other fears / issues. It would take over an hour of reassurance to get him back to sleep. I was seriously sleep deprived for weeks. I also had to be very careful to keep the dog safe as sometimes my husband would leave doors open (on one occasion the she ran straight out the front door and across the road - fortunately there was no traffic at the time.)
Things have moved on and my husband has been in hospital now for 6 months (under section 3) and he will at some point in the future move to a care home. Mollie the dog is now my only companion as I rattle about in this house alone. My husband's dementia has left me with depression which I am struggling to deal with and there are many days when I simply don't want to get out of bed. Of course, when you have a dog to walk and feed, you have to get up and strangely, she now provides me with the routine I need. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I think I probably made the wrong decision last year, but now, I wouldn't be without her.
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
108
I am not in the same situation as you since it's my dad with VD and he lives with mum. He loves our 12 year lab and talks to him non stop if they come to ours or we visit. We have just got a little puppy who is only 4 months old. He's not so enthused with her. I think he feels she has too much energy and never sits still..... unlike his old companion, who is happy to sit by his feet and be patted. I agree that dogs can give great companionship to PWD, but fear that getting a puppy may just be too much like hard work. Like many have already said, adoption/fostering may be the way to go. Good luck. x
 

andreasss86

Registered User
Dec 10, 2019
17
I think it might be difficult - for the reason you give, the occasional rages, but also because your husband might not recognise the puppy. He may see it as an invader and let it out because it doesn't 'belong' there. Or he may be impatient with things like toilet training. I'm just guessing - my mother is an animal lover but I know how she was with anything new she didn't recognise. So I think you'd have to put some thought into possible issues and how you could resolve them. Alternatively, he may love the puppy on sight - there is no way of knowing.

If you go through a rescue centre there may be the possibility of fostering a dog/puppy, so you could see how it goes and either go on to adopt the dog, or return it if it all went horribly wrong.
I completely agree. Given the situation
I think it might be difficult - for the reason you give, the occasional rages, but also because your husband might not recognise the puppy. He may see it as an invader and let it out because it doesn't 'belong' there. Or he may be impatient with things like toilet training. I'm just guessing - my mother is an animal lover but I know how she was with anything new she didn't recognise. So I think you'd have to put some thought into possible issues and how you could resolve them. Alternatively, he may love the puppy on sight - there is no way of knowing.

If you go through a rescue centre there may be the possibility of fostering a dog/puppy, so you could see how it goes and either go on to adopt the dog, or return it if it all went horribly wrong.
I think that is the best option. Fostering may be the best thing, because you get to see how it goes. I have a friend who used to do this a long time ago. She would foster dogs all the time from this shelter and help them recover. She did this for quite a long time too.
 

Jale

Registered User
Jul 9, 2018
410
I think that to bring a puppy into the household might be a problem, especially with door slamming, it wouldn't take much for a pup to be injured. An older dog may be better, if you knew the background of it. Dogs that go into rescue centres can be stray, in which case you wouldn't know a lot about it and if it was a handover then you would need to know the reason why - people don't always tell the truth when they want to give up a dog for rehoming - I know because I have worked in rescue.

We have always had dogs, as did Mum and Dad, but Mum (now in a nursing home) doesn't really interact with our dogs when I take them in for a visit, unless other residents want to talk to them or make a fuss of them and then she gets jealous and will talk to them. Before she went into the home she came to stay with us for medical reasons and there were a few times that she did kick out at the dogs saying they were hurting her (they weren't, they only walked past her chair).

Good luck with whatever you decide to do - not an easy decision to have to make
 

Littlebear

Registered User
Jan 6, 2017
82
In tears I contacted the breeder this morning to say we won't be taking a puppy. I really had set my heart on one in particular but it wouldn't be fair on the puppy. It's traumatic enought to be leaving mum but to come into a volatile household would make that a whole lot worse. In my heart I know it's the right decision but it doesn't make it any easier. We've had dogs most of our life & the house doesn't seem like a home without one. Another thing sacrificed to dementia...... so sad.
 

Jale

Registered User
Jul 9, 2018
410
Sending hugs to you Littlebear. I'm sad for you, but I think at the moment you have made the right decision but that doesn't make it any easier.
 

imthedaughter

Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
188
In tears I contacted the breeder this morning to say we won't be taking a puppy. I really had set my heart on one in particular but it wouldn't be fair on the puppy. It's traumatic enought to be leaving mum but to come into a volatile household would make that a whole lot worse. In my heart I know it's the right decision but it doesn't make it any easier. We've had dogs most of our life & the house doesn't seem like a home without one. Another thing sacrificed to dementia...... so sad.
I'm so sorry but I'm sure you've made the right decision. We tried fostering earlier this year and it didn't work out and I was distraught. I'd done everything as best as I could but it wasn't right and to be honest I'm not sure now I ever want a dog. And that was without living with a PWD!

Would a rescue Dalmatian which was older work? I couldn't resist looking at all the beautiful spotty dogs here https://www.dalmatianwelfare.co.uk/welcome/ .

Whatever you decide I hope you can open your heart and your home to another dog some day when the circumstances are right. I hope I will too.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
1,813
I had a rescue dalmatian for 9 years, long time ago now. He was a total nut case to start with but gentle as a lamb. Not a bad bone in him but he run rings around me for a long time.

Not a breed I would recommend for a first time dog owner due to the exercise needed but once you get the hang of them they are the loveliest of dogs. Kind, gentle and too clever to blindly obey. They weigh it it up first and decide whether it is to their advantage first.

I won't have another now but they are lovely dogs.
 

Fishgirl

Registered User
Sep 9, 2019
134
My OH loves our dog to bits, he’s much nicer to her than he is to me sometimes! She’s a rescue dog that we got 5 years ago and she’s lovely, but if I’d known then what was to come, I definitely wouldn’t have got a dog! At 4 this morning he woke up ranting about something, ( not sure what) and she scooted off into the spare room out of the way, he would never hurt her but it must be very confusing for them. And she’s not been well recently and that’s more stress to cope with! All quiet now so hopefully we can all get back to sleep :rolleyes: