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Is a dog for an 84 year old out of the question?

(33 Posts)
stonecircle Thu 16-Jun-16 11:57:06

I know it is really but just thought I'd see what others think.

FIL died last week. MIL lives in a big bungalow with a huge amount of land. She lives 250 miles away from us and DH is currently with her. He's taken our two dogs who are providing MIL with some distraction from her sadness. She loves dogs - used to have springers but their last dog died a couple of years ago.

The thought of leaving MIL alone is horrible and I'm 99% certain she won't move.

A dog companion would be wonderful for her but she wouldn't be able to take it for long walks. As I said the garden is huge, on various levels and full of interest for dogs (so our two tell us wink).

I'm wondering if there are any breeds which don't require much exercise. Obviously would need to be an older dog too. And we would be willing to take it on should MIL's circumstances change.

Grateful for any advice or suggestions.

CMOTDibbler Thu 16-Jun-16 12:02:56

How about an older cat instead? It would be cuddly company, but not the same amount of looking after and issues if mil was going into hospital for a few days etc

Artandco Thu 16-Jun-16 12:04:26

I think it would be fine. There will be many dogs who have to be regimes also due to living with just one elderly person who has died so quite a few used to living with someone elderly.

This was the situation my grandparents regimes a dog ( and two cats). They are between 75-80 now. Dog they rehomed two years ago. It was a 3 year old dog so not too old but old enough it was already well trained and not bouncy. Previous owner had Alzheimer's and had to go into a care home. It's a corgi cross ( mutt basically).

It's legs are small and it's happy to just have walks daily around locally and in their large garden.

If affordable maybe a dog walker twice a week could help also later if needed?

Artandco Thu 16-Jun-16 12:04:58

Yes but a cat as mentioned above might be even better

Ouriana Thu 16-Jun-16 12:06:52

Would an older rescue dog be suitable?
It may be worth your DH contacting local rescue centres and explaining the situation amd see what they say but it sounds like a lovely idea!
The only big problem I could see would be cleaning up the mess in the garen, would she be able to go out and pick the poo up? After only a few days my small dog can make a mess of the garden.

stonecircle Thu 16-Jun-16 12:08:58

She did also have cats but I wouldn't be prepared to take on a cat I'm afraid if her circumstances changed so then she'd be worried about what would happen to it if she had to go into care or became too ill to look after a pet.

We're also worried about her living in such an isolated place and a dog might raise the alarm if it heard anyone outside.

PaintedDrivesAndPolishedGrass Thu 16-Jun-16 12:12:10

An older rescue Whippet would be very deserving of all the love, care and attention your MIL could offer and in return I'm sure having all a dog gives back would help your MIL.

Artandco Thu 16-Jun-16 12:15:03

In that's case a dog is possible still. Maybe go and talk to local animal rescue and see what they suggest?

Ideally a dog between 2-5 years ( not a puppy), but not too old it will likely die in 2-3 years.

One that is used to quiet homes

One that requires little excericse. Just two local walks a day at 80+ year old speed

Nothing that's tiny and runs fast that could trip her over

ThePartyArtist Thu 16-Jun-16 12:16:58

Check out - would be a good solution.

Artandco Thu 16-Jun-16 12:17:34

Google suggests a Maltese or pomerian

Lilmisskittykat Thu 16-Jun-16 12:46:39

Pugs are very sedate cuddly dogs 'couch potatoes' is the description used by Google.

My granny had a toy poodle and a pom with just a little garden and they are got along marvellously

Emptynestx2 Thu 16-Jun-16 12:54:34

How about a Bichon, they love to be with people, are good company and don't need much walking. They do need grooming though. There is a Bichon rescue so you could register for an older dog.

frostyfingers Thu 16-Jun-16 13:30:01

My mother had 2 dogs when she had a massive stroke several years ago. The spaniel went to a friend but the lab stayed with her and has been an absolute god send. Mum lives on her own in a rural area and has carers in several times a day but with the dog is never totally alone. The dog gives her the reason to get up and about, although she can't walk far (the carers do the proper walking) and someone else to talk to when she's alone. Have a look at the Cinnamon Trust and may be give them a ring to see what they suggest.

Cunties Thu 16-Jun-16 13:32:56


Molecule Thu 16-Jun-16 13:37:44

Not a pomeranian. They are very lively, feisty little dogs and can become very difficult if not handled correctly, though they do like to cuddle up on the sofa. Chances are if your MIL requires care in the future the pomeranian will guard her with its life and not let a carer anywhere near. At least this is what ours is like and he is very like another I know.

Our whippet though would be absolutely perfect, providing the garden had an area he could occasionally run in etc. You may have to contact quite a few breed rescues though as my active/always owned dogs eighty year old aunt was refused another dog when her last rescue whippet died.

pigsDOfly Thu 16-Jun-16 13:50:05

I think it's a lovely idea as pp said it'll give her a reason to get up in the morning and the need for walks will help keep her mobile.

There must be hundreds of lovely dogs in rescues that have come from loving homes after their owners have died or had to give them up for health reasons. I'd start ringing around.

Cats are not the same imo - have owned cats. With a dog she'll need to keep up a routine, get out of the house daily, and keep up with it's training. As lovely as cats are, they can pretty much look after themselves as long as you feed them and make sure they're healthy.

pigsDOfly Thu 16-Jun-16 13:52:13

Agree with pp, not a pom, they can be very lively despite their small size and get difficult if not exercised enough.

CMOTDibbler Thu 16-Jun-16 13:53:12

The problem is that walking a dog isn't just about exercise, its also about socialisation. A dog that stayed in your MILs home/garden all the time could end up terrified of cars/men/normal everyday things.

If she adopted an oldie, and took them out on by using a mobility scooter if she couldnt walk anywhere, or had a regular dog walker booked so the dog got social interaction then it might work

confusedandemployed Thu 16-Jun-16 13:54:11

I was going to say not unreasonable at all. My 85 year old MIL took on a Shih Tzu and had many happy years before she passed away. I second whippets though, and contacting the Cinnamon Trust.

SendARavenToRiverrun Thu 16-Jun-16 14:01:37

A whippet or a retired greyhound would be good for her to have I think. Maybe employ a dog walker once or twice a week, then the doggie will get some socialisation and a good run to blow away the cobwebs. Though from what I know of our lurcher/whippet/greyhound breeds they love nothing more than a snooze in front of the fire and the occasional pigs ear treat!

pigsDOfly Thu 16-Jun-16 14:07:03

Yes agree, mobility scooter or wheelchair is a brilliant way to exercise a dog, see people doing it all the time locally. It makes no difference to the dog whether their owner is walking or riding; dog can still run after his ball in the park.

Bubble2bubble Thu 16-Jun-16 14:37:37

I would suggest contacting rescues about an older dog in need of longterm foster. There are quite often dogs who are elderly enough to be happy with a potter round the garden and a bit of company and who desperately need out of a kennel situation.
Cinnamon Trust would also be a very good option.

BagelGoesWalking Thu 16-Jun-16 15:08:15

You could also ask at her local vet practice. I'm sure they come across cases where dog is looking for a new home because of owner illness/death. Such a dog would be used to the kind of home your MIL could offer.

Otherwise, long term foster via the Cinnamon Trust etc a others have suggested. Any local dog rescue is bound to have some older dogs that keep being overlooked because of their age.

mrssmith79 Thu 16-Jun-16 15:31:28

Have a look at
They have older dogs all over the country looking for homes and you can filter by age / activity level etc.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 16-Jun-16 15:57:16

I have a 92 year old client with a chihuahua. There is no danger of her pulling or knocking him over. At 2Kg he can still easily pick her up. He has Parkinson's, but she copes with travel in his hands at a shake. A really super little dog. She is one of my favourite patients grin.

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