Help with process of adopting a dog (for 73 year old MIL)

(37 Posts)
HepburnKNotA Tue 26-Nov-19 14:48:04

MIL has been living alone for a long time and is (finally!) thinking about adding a dog to her life for companionship.

She has owned a dog before (Labrador) but not for 25+ years.

She is in ok physical health but not great mental health (depression/anxiety, which we all feel a dog would really help her with as it would give her structure, companionship etc)

She doesn’t feel she can take on a puppy and we all think an older dog would suit her best.

If we approach a good rescue centre will they give her/us genuine honest advice about a dog she can take on? She really couldn’t take on a dog with any ‘emotional’ issues; she needs a gentle older dog that requires little to no training and only moderate exercise.

Our DD (age 7) visits her a lot so we are all keen too to make sure any dog can cope with a young child at times. We have started to look on rescue sites but so many of the dogs on there seem to be recommended only for teens or older. Obviously our 7yo DD would only see the dog every few weeks but still my MIL wants to be sure that she doesn’t end up more isolated with a dog that can’t cope with a child. Would a good rescue centre be diligent about this?

She is in London; any advice about rescue centres to avoid or to approach?

I think she could give a Middle Aged or elderly dog a really good home. We all want this to work out!!

OP’s posts: |
GalactiCat Tue 26-Nov-19 14:50:30
Try these. We had a client at the vets who adopted the most gorgeous 12 year old retriever.

noitsachicken Tue 26-Nov-19 14:51:18

Most rescues need to know the dog would be cared for for the duration of its life, so would only consider an older dog for your MIL.
It’s great you are considering rescue, there are loads in London. Battersea is the obvious one, there is also Mayhew in NW10 which is a small but excellent rescue

GalactiCat Tue 26-Nov-19 14:52:50

GrannyBags Tue 26-Nov-19 14:53:42

I don’t know anything g about animal shelters in London so cant help there, although I believe home visits and advice are fairly standard these days.
However, please have a clear plan in place for what happens to the dog if your MIL should be hospitalised or similar. We had such issues with my MIL and the dog she had had for six years when she started to have health issues.

HepburnKNotA Tue 26-Nov-19 14:55:24

Wow such fast responses!!! Thank you so much.

Will check out the links now!

I’m quite excited myself as we are all dog lovers; hoping to get a dog of our own in the near ish future but thrilled that MIL is now considering this as DH/BIL have been advising her to follow her instincts on this for YEARS!!

OP’s posts: |
HepburnKNotA Tue 26-Nov-19 14:56:22

Grannybags good point; we would take on the dog ourselves if MIL became ill. It’s one of the reasons we want to be sure it’s a dog that could cope with a child.

OP’s posts: |


79andnotout Tue 26-Nov-19 14:58:23

I've recently just adopted another retired greyhound. Whilst waiting for him I have seen some come back in to various trusts where their owner has recently died or circumstances have changed. These dogs are usually getting on a bit themselves and just want a bit of company and a comfy sofa.

The one we just adopted is a 2 year old massive hound who has endless amounts of energy but our older greyhound is very small and delicate and walks very gently on the lead and just likes a cuddle (and refuses to go outside during winter). So they do come in all types of personalities and a range of sizes.

My older grey doesn't like noise so would not really like to be around a child, but my younger one is just a cuddly bear who would think kids are great fun.

I would go to a dedicated Greyhound trust though if that sounds of interest, not to a general dogs home. You need to have a wide range of greys to choose from the get the right match.

HepburnKNotA Tue 26-Nov-19 15:01:39

Interesting 79, I had been thinking a greyhound would be a good breed to investigate as I know many are in need and I know they are very gentle dogs. Was talking to DH about it last night! I didn’t know there are specific greyhound rescue centres. Will look into this ASAP thank you

OP’s posts: |
sunshinesupermum Tue 26-Nov-19 15:03:37

Have just looked at the link - adorable dogs!

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 26-Nov-19 15:45:49

All Dogs Matter is a nice rescue in North London, whose dogs are all / mostly fostered.

No rescue will give your MIL a dog that predictably won't work for her - there's nothing worse than seeing the dog bounce back into kennels.

Encourage her to be open to different breeds - I know an elderly lady who has had a succession of sweet older rescue staffies. Lovely dogs that would have been snapped up in moments by a family if they came in non-staffy packaging!

Also have a think about any issues she could deal with - for instance, not liking cats probably won't worry her if she doesn't have a cat of her own; a dog that likes other dogs out and about but needs to be an only dog in the home would also be fine for her; clearly something rather reactive wouldn't work for her!

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 26-Nov-19 15:51:12

This dog looks like it would fit the bill if he could deal with a visiting child of 7 (is your DC sensible / will follow the rules?)

He's up for foster or adoption, so she could foster him with the intention of adopting if it works out.

Flippetydip Tue 26-Nov-19 21:37:24

I would definitely look at a greyhound. I have one and they tend to gravitate towards each other when out walking so I see a fair few hounds and their owners out and about. There are a good number that walk with elderly people. They are brilliant as they are generally very good on lead and require very limited exercise, contrary to popular believe. They are very docile around the house and incredibly lazy.

Definitely look for a greyhound specific rescue; there are loads about. The Greyhound Trust is a good place to start. Where abouts are you in the country?

Floralnomad Tue 26-Nov-19 23:58:08

You could also look at the Cinammon trust as they sometimes have dogs that need permanent foster homes due to their own elderly owner going into care or passing away .

bunnygeek Wed 27-Nov-19 10:14:12

There's also Dogs Trust in West London

There's always loads of older dogs in rescue, an older Staffie, older Greyhound or there are tons of Shih Tzu types that end up in rescue as well which won't mind just a little potter about.

Do visit the actual rescues if you can, don't rely just on what's on the website. Especially with child-friendly dogs, they are often reserved and rehomed very quickly so don't ever hit the website!

Whoops75 Wed 27-Nov-19 10:15:59

Agree a Lurcher or greyhound would be perfect.

Notwiththeseknees Wed 27-Nov-19 10:19:27

Sorry? She's 73 with MH issues and you think that caring 27/7 for a dog would help with that? Walks twice a day, dealing daily with people in London with their dogs- some of whom are aggressive & rude, dog food, insurance and vets bills........ I totally disagree, you should get her a cat.

FLOrenze Wed 27-Nov-19 10:23:49

We got out dog from Rescue Remedies at Gatwick. She is our first dog and we are in our 70s . I would suggest that she registers her interest at Battersea dogs home and looks at older dogs. Ours was 8 when we got her and still very energetic. So I suggest she looks at 10 years and upwards.

HepburnKNotA Wed 27-Nov-19 10:43:02

Notwiththeseknees: the cost of a dog isn’t an issue for her.

She’s physically fit, walks each day by herself.

Most important of all, she hates (is terrified of) cats!! No chance at all she would get a cat.

She adores dogs; I can’t see the clear downsides to her adopting one? Yes she has ‘MH’ issues but they’re almost entirely caused by her feeling alone/lonely.

Not saying a dog would cure the problem but wouldn’t it help???

OP’s posts: |
79andnotout Wed 27-Nov-19 10:59:51

Not all dogs needs walking twice a day. One of my greyhounds needs four walks a day, the other one refuses to walk at all in winter and just goes to the toilet in the garden and sits on the sofa the rest of the time.

79andnotout Wed 27-Nov-19 11:02:51

Like this:

Having a dog has made my life at least 25% happier and if I was mildly depressed and lonely I would definitely want a dog to walk and talk to.

FLOrenze Wed 27-Nov-19 11:37:27

My dog has been amazing for my mental health. I did not want to go outside and became very isolated. Having her to care for and love is the best thing in the world. Older dogs, where the owner has become unable to look after them generally will settle in quicker than other rescues.

Notwiththeseknees Wed 27-Nov-19 11:51:32

HepburnKNotA I think owning a dog in most situations is without doubt one of life's greatest pleasures. But with that ownership comes responsibility too and depending on her degree of anxiety may not be an ideal situation for your mum, living alone, at her age, in London, with an adopted dog. I'm on a few 'doggy' FB pages and the amount of dognapping & attacks that happen is staggering. The image of the elderly lady (not that 73 is elderly) with the sweet tempered dog by her knees is just that - an image. Popping into a shop you cannot leave a dog tied up outside - there is a good chance it would be stolen, so that option of a pop to the shops and the dog can come is removed. Interacting with people that are aggressive due to some perceived slight her dog has caused - she is 73, how will she cope with that? The anti-dog voice are much louder now. I really don't mean to sound negative - I absolutely adore dogs and in 99% of cases I would recommend dog ownership, but from your initial post, I would think very, very carefully before permanently adopting.

What do you think of the option of her 'fostering' a dog until she knows that she can definitely cope with the permanent care of one? Lots of rescues need foster homes for dogs that don't cope in the rescue centre itself. The back up is superb and if she copes well and non of those scenarios I have given occur, then she can adopt it permanently.

Alternatively, move her down here to the coast and she can join all us lovely ladies here who walk their dogs without let or hinderance grin

HepburnKNotA Wed 27-Nov-19 13:16:03

That’s really good advice knees, hugely appreciated.

Hadn’t considered suggesting the fostering angle to her but it’s sensible.

I dearly wish she would move to the coast, she has few friends left here and we would visit her regularly! She could start a new(ish) life with the dog in a fresh new place, not cooped up in london which she does hate these days. Another angle to consider...!!

OP’s posts: |
FLOrenze Wed 27-Nov-19 14:07:17

I live in London, and have never encountered those negative feelings. Quite the reverse. I speak to more people now that I have the dog.

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