Would A New Pup Be Good For Dad?
Gretchen Heuring for ElderThink
Deciding to give a pet to an older person needs some careful thought. It's true that the right animal can be a great comfort, a source of exercise, and a defense against loneliness.
It's important to think this decision through. Are there allergies? Is your older person able to manage pet hair on everything? If the senior wants to travel or becomes ill are there resources for caring for the pet? There's a lot to consider.
To get started, you might take your older person to an animal shelter to visit and perhaps to volunteer there. Older people can get set in their ways and slow progress toward a change might be best.
Generally, we think of pets as either dogs or cats. Let's think of the possibility of a dog first.
Puppies are adorable but your older person might do better with an older dog. Older dogs who have once known appreciation, love and attention will quickly learn what's expected of them to gain and keep that love and attention. Older dogs know how to let you finish the newspaper, sitting calmly next to you. They are also instant companions, ready for hiking, riding in the car, walking on leash, fetching, and generally playing.
Kittens are cute and playful but they need to be housebroken, can hide in strange places and can knock over precious things. A full-grown cat is probably better for an older person. A shelter is a great place to begin.
One more thing to take into account. For some seniors, change is really hard. Your pet gift may bring about a negative response. Firmly encourage a trial period. That should do the trick.