Dogs and Seniors

Merry and Fulton

Merry and Fulton

Yesterday I had a chance encounter which is worth writing about; it involves some dogs and a lovely senior at a local off-leash park on a very hot day.

I noticed off to the side that a senior with two younger people (probably family members) were going to stand on the outside of the fence that runs the perimeter of the park to view the dogs at play. When people stand watching the dogs I often go over and say hello, if they are showing signs of enthusiasm as observers of course. I know that they are out of patting distance and obviously receive joy from the canines there. Sometimes there is a group of special needs children, or a mother with kids, or park users who choose to take in the dog antics.

On this day the senior caught my eye, as a senior in the dog park is sort of unusual. They were standing in the shade so it was the perfect reason to go and have a meet and greet. As soon as we got to them the woman was delighted and I introduced myself. When she inquired about the dogs’ names and ages, I told her.

I said that she must have owned a dog at one time since her ease and joy around them was obvious. I was told that she had owned a Cocker Spaniel and I mentioned that was my family’s first dog, too. I then proceeded to ask if she would like to give them some dog cookies. This was fun as she wanted to and I filled her hands with treats from my dog walking pouch.

Fulton, a large Goldie-poo, was thrilled and he popped up onto the fence for easy retrieval of the goods and to get some pats. His owner Janine, told me today, that he gets treats at her bank and her local convenience store. At these locations he is encouraged to go up on the counter for a hello. Fulton is also a senior at the age of nine, which made the fence greeting even more poignant.

I was told by her daughter that the woman’s name was Merry and that she will be ninety-four next March. This amazed me as she was in great shape and certainly very bright during our conversation.

Merry gave the two smaller dogs with me treats through the lower part of the fence and I picked them up so that she could pat them, too. Cassy, a Poodle-Bichon mix was also a hit. I told Merry that Cassy is like my little lamb with her colouring and soft wavy fur.

I asked if I could take her picture with Fulton and she was thrilled. I showed her the picture and said that I would forward it to her family members by email. At that moment I felt that this picture had something magical in it. I had a busy afternoon and forgot to post it until later that night.

Within an hour of posting the picture I knew that my gut instinct had been right; there was a huge increase of traffic sharing and looking at it. It surpassed my highest record from another post a few months back in just a matter of hours.

I know from my interactions with dogs that they are loved dearly by most seniors. I am often told of a beloved pooch from years gone by or a funny story. Dogs can help with the loneliness of a spouse that is gone for the remaining partner; I have seen this personally. They give a reason to get up in the morning and wonderfully provide someone to chat with throughout the day. The added perks are some exercise and reduced blood pressure, as well.

Dogs that visit at K-Wing, a Veteran’s Residence at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto, are enthusiastically welcomed by the seniors there. Family dogs are even allowed to come and have time with a loved one who misses them.

I became close to a couple when walking their dog Danny for a few years. Hal recently died at ninety-four; he adored Danny, their adorable terrier. I used to see the two of them out for their walks before Hal’s health declined and he was moved to K-Wing. Wendy, his wife, would visit Hal daily and would take Danny on  occasional visits.

When Danny died it was terribly sad for both of them as he was very much like their child that they never had together. I went to Hal’s funeral and was told Danny’s collar was placed in Hal’s pocket as a sentimental gesture. I would like to think they are enjoying their walks once again in heaven.

In the months I have been writing for my blog I have discovered many organizations that place senior dogs with seniors. This video describes a wonderful organization that does exactly that. In four years 700 dogs have been placed with seniors, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bus-52/senior-dogs-4-seniors-video_b_1548429.html. This organization is located in different countries.

Senior Pooch, http://www.seniorpooch.com, is another favorite organization of mine and is dear to my heart. Older dogs in shelters are in huge need of adoption, and Senior Pooch assists in finding a forever home for them.

Check your local area for similarly run programmes that match a senior to the perfect senior dog. This is a win-win relationship. I hope I never lose my love of all things canine and at a ripe old age will have opportunities to be around dogs. Take the time to say hello to a senior when out with your dog. A couple of minutes of a “dog fix” can brighten any day.

Please feel free to post any special pictures of a dog with a senior on my dogstwentyfourseven Facebook page for others to enjoy! I welcome any links to any charities or organizations that provide dogs with seniors. Simply add them in the comments section.

Dogstwentyfourseven has a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/#!/dogstwentyfourseven. Interesting articles and links are posted every week. Please click on “Like” if you are enjoying my posts and page.

If you would like to receive my blog posts by email as soon as they are published, click on “Follow” on my main page. You will automatically receive them immediately after publication. Thank you for your support! Becky White

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About dogstwentyfourseven

Becky White is a dog walker.She and her husband live in Toronto with their two daughters.Becky has been a dog lover all of her life and feels now is the right time to share her stories, experiences and adventures!
This entry was posted in Dog Walker Helping others, Mixed Breed Dogs, People at the Off Leash Park, Senior Dogs and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Dogs and Seniors

  1. Marla Noble says:

    This was beautiful! What an amazing and well written article, Becky! I must share on my Facebook Wall. 🙂

  2. Jenny L. says:

    Great story. Gotta love those doodles. My niece has a labradoodle named Cosby and we just love her – she is wicked smart!

  3. Lora Rossi says:

    Lovely post Becky! Love the pics…brightened my day! Smiles….Lora

  4. Jenny L. says:

    I found your blog from Schoep and John on Facebook. I love your writing and your subject (dogs). We have always had labs and then when the last one passed my son talked us into getting a dog with shepherd in it. We went to the worst humane society I have ever seen and got Lucy. She is part shepherd and part catahoula leopard hound. I could tell she was very sick at the pound but the kids were already in love. We brought her home and she cost us $1000 the first month we had her. She had coccidia, giardia, intestinal virus, double dew claws that had to be removed on her back legs, etc., etc. I asked the vet where she got all this and he said she brought it from the pound. It wasn’t the money that made me so mad, it was the fact that Lucy really suffered from all those illnesses. To this day, she still has a very sensitive digestive system. Since we always had labs, what a difference it was having Lucy. We have since come to love her beyond reason but it was quite an adjustment. She is incredibly intuitive and has a nose like a blood hound. She could very easily be a seizure detection dog or a drug dog if she weren’t so scared of loud noises. She knows people are at the end of the street long before anyone else does, even if they are not making any noise. I always tell people one day she is going to look up at me and say, “I see dead people.” I am kidding of course. If I was a little younger and had the money and the space, I would have a whole yard full of catahoulas and shepherds now. It is definitely a testimony for people to make sure they can handle a different breed of dog. We would not have given her back for anything but a lot of people would. Anyway, keep up the good work we all enjoy so much! I hope you have gotten more traffic from the John and Schoep site.

  5. Deb H. says:

    I loved your article! Found it on the Life With Dogs website–actually, on the email list of articles I get from them…I went over to your blog then and of course had to read more, and sign up to follow! I just lost my husky mix two weeks ago and it is still a little raw…I had her for fourteen and a half years and she was worth every drop of sadness that comes (and is till coming) when they have to go. My next dog, when I am ready, will definitely be a shelter dog. Thouroughly enjoying what you are sharing and am looking forward to reading more 🙂

    • Thanks Deb, welcome aboard 🙂 So sorry to hear of your loss especially after 14 and a half years together. We got a new dog almost three months ago. Ember a lab was one week shy of her eighth Birthday. We are totally in love with her, and she seems so grateful to be with us. She does a complete body wag quite often to show her happiness.She had three litters previously and is going to enjoy her retirement now. check out my story on we are now a two dog family. It will be in my May posts or on my topic list on the main page. I was delighted to get on the Life with dogs site, a little dream of mine 🙂 Becky

  6. Pingback: A Senior Encounter | A Place to Love Dogs

  7. Pingback: A Senior Encounter | Pet Care Articles

  8. rmc512 says:

    Reblogged this on roccosphere and commented:
    awesome story!

  9. Catherine Bryson says:

    Thanks Becky for your moving article. As I shared with you at dinner with your mother, my parents have a rescue dog Z who is just an angel. As my parents Are in their eighties, having a dog like Z gives them endless joy and what is more, vital exercise. Also, having a dog gives them love and brings them out of the isolation many seniors can feel.

    Best of luck with all your endeavours and I very much look forward to your children’s books. Write on!

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