In our soon to be released New York Times Best Seller* (*this may not be true but we have wishful thinking), Happiness is Dog Shaped, we share the story of Whisper and Latte – a Yorkshire Terrier and Toy Poodle – who, along with their loving owner Jill (human), brighten up the lives of residents at an aged care home in Victoria, Australia by making weekly visits. On their visits the furry volunteers bring senior citizens love, tail-wags and many, many laughs to some of the residents of Bupa Donvale.
We love the tail of Whisper, Latte and Jill, and it got us thinking, while there are beyond many benefits of bringing a four-legged friend into your family, there are even more reasons why an elderly person could benefit from having a furry friend of their own. Here are a few reasons why we think it’s awesome for a senior citizen to bring a dog into the family!
To Offer Love and Companionship
Living alone or in a retirement village can sometimes be lonely. Having a four-legged furry friend to talk to (yes, I talk to my dog, doesn’t everyone?) or someone to snuggle up to on the couch of an evening can be just what our senior citizens need to feel companionship and love. Plus, dogs are great at responding to emotions, they know when you’re sick or feeling down and manage to just ‘be there’ for you.
To Keep Them Active and Get Outdoors
Having a dog in your life encourages anyone to keep their body moving. Whether it’s just getting outdoors and breathing fresh air when your pupperino needs to do ‘dog business’ or grabbing out the leash and going for an afternoon walk. For an elderly person, having a dog in their life can encourage them to keep active, keep moving and get outdoors to enjoy the sunshine!
A Sense of Protection and Security
While we don’t want to think of our furry friends having to be in this situation, the truth is that some elderly people, especially ones who live alone, can be the ideal target for a home invasions or robbery. With a furry friend by their side, it can be a sense of protection, or even deter some criminals from entering the property – even if your Jack Russell thinks their bark sounds like a German Shepard!
To Mingle and Be Socially Active
Having a pupperino usually means connecting with other dog-lovers. I was recently in Bunnings buying a baby-gate to quarter off my dog from the staircase and I got talking to a lovely elderly lady who was telling me about her cheeky pup who liked to wee on one table in the house. We bonded over our dogs being our children and we both walked away with a new friend.
While these are beneficial reasons why senior citizens should bring a dog into their family, we must stress it’s essential to make sure they have a good level of health to care for their loving pupperino, or someone who can help out every day. Do your research and find a breed to best suit their living arrangements, you never know, perhaps a senior dog looking for a new home may be the perfect fit.
Do you know a senior citizen with a furry friend? We’d love to hear your stories below.