Dog for an elderly person

(34 Posts)
hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 20:56:18

My mum is planning to move to a v nice retirement village which supports older people with pets. They have 30 acres of their own woods and fields for dog walking and they offer dog sitting/walking service in case of need plus will transport people and their pets to the vet if needed.

Mum is in her mid eighties. She would love a dog but has been in a city centre for years now and hasn't had one. She's extremely fit and agile, walks everywhere, but her eyes aren't brilliant. She's quite slight and has some osteoporosis.

She likes short/smooth haired breeds. She has had setters in the long distant past, but they are maybe too big for her now. She doesn't obviously want a puppy but would probably love a 'senior' dog. She's not a miniture/lapdog person though.

My questions are - would a shelter be likely to rehouse an older dog to someone of mum's age?

What sort of dog might be the best for her? Staff types have such great temperaments in my experience but can be bad pullers on the lead.

Any suggestions welcome - thanks!

stirrupleathers Sun 10-Jan-16 21:05:47

Hi I was wondering where you were in the UK as my parents are looking after an elderly uncle's dog who is looking for a home. He's a Jack Russell, 5 years old and enjoys walks then curling up in front of the fire. He's really lovely but mum just doesn't want a dog. My uncle is quite poorly and won't be able to look after him anymore. If interested in knowing more then PM me. smile

stirrupleathers Sun 10-Jan-16 21:12:43

Actually he's a Parsons Terrier, I stand corrected!! But I've just 're-read your post your mum may not want a small dog. Oh and we're in Warwickshire/Leicestershire

hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 21:14:21

That's so kind of you. She's not ready yet as she has a move to negotiate (a big thing for her) so the plan for a dog would be after she had sold and bought and moved. I could pm you then to see if you were still looking to rehome. It's West Country and we're in London and North East.

hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 21:16:28

I don't think she's against a small dog as such at all, but is not mad on toy type breeds. I think a big dog would be hard for her at that age though. But maybe it all just depends on the temperament of the dog.

stirrupleathers Sun 10-Jan-16 21:20:09

Ok you never know they may still have him as they're taking their time to find him a good home!! Good luck to your mum on her big move!!

lastnightiwenttomanderley Sun 10-Jan-16 21:23:42

We have a dachshund...yes he's small but very much a hound...loves bombing off after rabbits! We've taken him on 8 mile walks with no problems but at the same time he's quite happy snuggling up on the sofa if we're having a duvet day. They're a very loyal and accommodating breed so might be worth considering?

hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 21:26:11

Thank you!

StayWithMe Sun 10-Jan-16 21:26:56

If her eye site is not good, then a big, old dog might be best for her. I'm sure the recue centres will have older dogs that are crying out for a new home. Many of them have come from older owners, so may be gentles and used to slow walks. How old is old, to her?

SunnyL Sun 10-Jan-16 21:27:28

Whippet? They only really need a walk a day and the rest of the time they are complete sooks and generally just follow sunspots across the room.

StayWithMe Sun 10-Jan-16 21:28:23

Sorry, I mentioned a big dog as she is less likely to trip over it.

hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 21:28:50

They're my favourite. Such wonderful personalities. I think she'd be able to offer an older dog like that who had maybe lost its owner such a loving and peaceful home. Are dachunds good with other dogs? There seemed to be a few in the village. And what about on the lead?

StayWithMe Sun 10-Jan-16 21:30:09

Oh yes, whippets are great. 20 min spurt of exercise then a lazy day. They're a lovely temperament and love cuddles.

hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 21:30:17

She likes whippets a lot. I thought they needed very fast walks though, and are they ok with cats because there were a few chilling out about the place there too.

hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 21:31:54

She's lonely and would appreciate the companionship of a lazy older dog I think! She would talk to it. A lot.

StayWithMe Sun 10-Jan-16 21:33:06

The only thing about dachshunds is that they're so close to the ground that they have an incredibly strong pull and amazing sense of smell so like to chase a scent. Not ideal for an older person. The standard size are very heavy and have a very loud bark.

hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 21:33:57

Strong pull could be a problem I think.

StayWithMe Sun 10-Jan-16 21:34:56

Regarding whippets and cats, the rescue centre should be able to assess the dog with cats. Any dog will chase a cat that runs, even those that grow up with them.

SunnyL Sun 10-Jan-16 21:36:10

It really depends on the whippet. We had a whippet cross collie who had barely any chase for small furries. But then we had a pure whippet who was an anti social bugger who would have chased anything and everything.

lastnightiwenttomanderley Sun 10-Jan-16 21:37:49

The minis arent as prone to pull - though they still have good noses! Ours isn't too barky but it's definitely the bark of a much larger dog when he does vocalise himself!

I suppose I'm trying to think of breeds that are happy to walk but also, as your mum gets older, wont be too put out by the occasional rest day!

StayWithMe Sun 10-Jan-16 21:39:20

I must say, I'm very fond of miniature schnauzers. They come in all sizes and are big enough to jump on a sofa but small enough for a cuddle. They do like to sniff smells so tend to spend most of their walk pausing to examine scents so shouldn't pull to much. They can be stubborn to move if they're smelling something, but have lovely temperaments. Can have a big dog bark though, which often takes people by surprise. They also cast very little wich is good for an indoor dog.

bimandbam Sun 10-Jan-16 21:43:24

I came on to say a whippet but they can have quite a high prey drive. Maybe a whippet x Bedlington size lurcher? Or maybe even a rescue greyhound if it has been assessed for potential cat eating tendancies?

Greys are bigger but ime not necessarily pullers and loads of retired ones looking for homes. I knew a lovely old girl a few years ago. Very gentle and peaceful.

Veterinari Sun 10-Jan-16 21:44:14

Hi OP you sound very sensible - I'd suggest getting in touch with dogs trust and asking about some of their older dogs

Also I don't want to upset you but do you have a longterm plan for the dog if your mum's health deteriorates and she's no longer able to care for it?

TheTigerIsOut Sun 10-Jan-16 21:44:24

Once she is ready, she may like to have a look at www.oldies.org.uk, a charity that especialises in rehoming older dogs.

The advantages of an oldie, from the point of view of an elderly person us that they are often happy with shotter walks, may have been very well trained already and would be happy to spend the time relaxing next to your mum.

So worth a look.

hesterton Sun 10-Jan-16 21:49:34

I really appreciate this help. Oldies sounds wonderful - and you don't really want a dog who is going to live for another ten years when you're 86. I would have the dog if something happened to her, or my brother, or her dog mad sister might. We all love dogs. I could foster it for a while if she had a shorter term illness but to be honest I think she will be fairly fit and mobile for a good few years yet. She lives a very healthy lifestyle and beat me up a huge broken escalator recently!

Like whippets, she adores greyhounds. They are big though! We need to find out more about the breed - maybe they're more suitable than I thought.

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