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Pets and seniors

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#1 la di dah

Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:52 PM

So we've been staying with my DH's Nan, who needs a full-time carer.

It has been amazing to watch her with my cats, who of course we had to bring. They are very gentle, I don't know if they know she is sick or what. But she laughs watching them play chase-y and wrestle, and they hop up next to her on her chair and bounce around, and she seems to really like them, though she does tell me what "silly buggers" they are. It's funny though, because she'll call me and say "these silly bastards are keeping me up."

"Nan, if they're bothering you I'll put them in the laundry right now."

"No, leave them be. I think Blackie is just about to beat up Snowy."


Oh, and no, neither of them is actually named Blackie or Snowy, she just thinks they're more sensible/easily recalled names. roll2.gif

She went to hospital this last week and the cats SULKED. My female cat especially, actively would go from Nan's bed to her chair that only she sits in, look for her in it, see it empty, and glare at me and meow. Because really, I had one job, HOW ON EARTH did I misplace NAN? She's only just forgiven me today because Nan came home.

I told Nan while she was in hospital the cats missed her, and she was so happy. And when she came home the cats bounced right up to her and it was cute. They've only been here since the end of January.

Do you have any pets/seniors experiences?

#2 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:06 PM

You lost your NAN?

LDD, how could you?

I'm with the cats on that one. Very careless, very careless indeed.

roll2.gif  roll2.gif

I don't have any seniors and pets stories to share, but I totally loved yours. They sound like they're getting on famously. wub.gif

#3 Paddlepop

Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:13 PM

Aww, how sweet!

Maybe the cats love having a constant lap available, and more pats and cuddles?

How are Brad and Angie the budgies going? I was stalking that thread. ph34r.gif

I don't have any warm and fuzzy pets and seniors experiences like that. My late grandad was completely against me getting a staffy when I was a teenager and thought that she would be vicious. After about 8 years he finally realised that she was just a big sook and he would say "Come here dog" and scratch her back with his walking stick. After he died my dog would wander around his yard and house (right next door to my parents) and look a bit lost and like she was trying to find him.

#4 chickendrumstick

Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

I remember when I was 9 or 10 getting really excited that we were having steak for dinner at my grandfather's house, and I watched him chop it up and put it on the bbq, carefully turn it and cook it to perfection before passing it directly into the mouth of his overweight labrador.
Later on we ate chops (which I hate).

#5 la di dah

Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

They really are getting along, better than I expected.

Grue (Blackie, lawlz) is a creature of habit. She is very fond of the way Nan is pretty much always either in her bed or in her chair and easy to supervise. Making my DERELICTION OF DUTY all the more shocking.

Nimbus (Snowy) absolutely adores this house, because it has way, way more furniture than our unit, and also loves that now I'm getting up and down in the night. On the long nights where I'm up the most, he gets progressively happier. 1:00 AM - minor purring. 2:00 AM - buzzing around my ankles. 3:00 AM gleeful hopping. He has no idea why I didn't start doing this sooner, its so entertaining. I have literally no idea why he loves it so much but he's gotten 2x as cuddly as he used to be, it's like the night-time stuff is the most fun he's ever had. My DH has noticed it, too, how friendly and outgoing Nimbus is now, so it's not just me losing my mind. biggrin.gif

Nimbus flirts with all the aides and physios and stuff who come to work with Nan, and honestly probably is just getting more used to visitors, we never had that many at home. Grue still hides from everyone but DH, Nan, and I, so Nimbus sucks up all the attention and tries to convince people I starve him. (Despite the fact he's going all pudgy).

Brad and Angie are going pretty well. They were Nan's budgies, actually, just really too much for her. And now they're back on the veranda they started on, but Nan doesn't have to work up to doing anything for them. She's happy they're okay but also sort of not her problem, honestly. And I like the budgies. I've been feeding them spinach and bits of grass stems and they seem to enjoy it.

I do suspect from speaking with some of the aides that used to come and visit they were doing much of the budgie care which was a) sort of outside their focus and b) only a couple days a week, which was probably part of their issues. They are using their natural branches more now. I don't think they'll EVER be tame - they still think I'm a despicable thing every time I put my hands in the cage even though they see me everyday - but they are singing and making more noise than they used to and I choose to believe that means they're happy.

Edited by la di dah, 22 February 2013 - 10:28 PM.

#6 chevbrock

Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:46 PM

Not a senior person, but a senior dog - my aunty had a corgi that was the most spoiled dog in the world. One time, Aunty and the dog came to stay with us for a week or so, which was fine - except Mum was working and all the people in the house that could cook were ... somewhere, I can't remember, so we had to have baked beans on toast for dinner that night. Not too bad, except this was the third night that week we'd had it. And the dog got a tin of RED SOCKEYE SALMON for dinner!

#7 kadoodle

Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

My MIL was the carer for her mother, who had two very devoted moggies.  When she bathed GMIL, MIL used to lock the cats out of the bathroom so that she wouldn't trip over them.  They'd wait at the bathroom door and cry, then try to lick her hair dry afterwards.  They both stopped eating and faded very fast after GMIL died - they were older cats, in their teens -  and were cremated and their ashes sprinkled on her grave.

Morphine killed my grandmother's appetite towards the end. She used to give her meals from meals on wheels to her lab x.  Both her lab x and her cat only left her bedside in the last few weeks to eat, poop and pee.

#8 la di dah

Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

Haha so many spoiled chubby pets.

Kadoodle, those cats so sweet I nearly cried.

Grue camps out by the bathroom door but she does that no matter who's in there (if its one of the family) because she's just offended by shut doors. laughing2.gif As soon as you open it she's all "oh, you came back!" and relaxes completely.

#9 *Ker*

Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:51 PM

My nan and pop have never really "got" why I do dog rescue...until Anja and Kari came.

I took Anja to Easter at Nan's house, out of the blue - warned no one. My auntie immediately fell in love, as did my nephew and my Nan was besotted. Pop was having a rest in the lounge, so I carried Anja in, plopped her on his lap and left. She went to sleep and stayed there until Nan came in and stole her. Nan was sitting on the lounge with Anja on her lap facing her - I got some gorgeous photos which I posted in the thread at the time. Both Nan and Pop thought she was adorable. It was good for Anja to be out and about and meet more people too.

#10 BenevolentDictator

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:15 PM

My father has always liked dogs but my mother feared them so we never had one when I was growing up.  I have tried and tried to persuade him to get a dog as he walks every morning, is always home, and the companionship would do him so much good.  But, to no avail.

So I take my Bernese Mountain Dog to visit Grandad.  She knows the house and bounds up his driveway nearly knocking him flying in the process.  He lets her inside the house (my mother would be turning in her grave if she had one) and dotes on her.  She seems to sense that he needs that socially acceptable outlet for all his affection; he's quite a reserved and formal old fashioned Aussie bloke but it's ok to be soppy with a dog original.gif

#11 yodie86

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:25 PM

Thats gorgeous LDD.

There are 2 cats in the Hospice that mum is in and they come around for cuddles when ever they want. They are especially more affectionate when it's dinner time original.gif

#12 Cacti

Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:54 PM

QUOTE (*~Lisa~* @ 21/02/2013, 08:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nimbus (Snowy) absolutely adores this house, because it has way, way more furniture than our unit, and also loves that now I'm getting up and down in the night. On the long nights where I'm up the most, he gets progressively happier. 1:00 AM - minor purring. 2:00 AM - buzzing around my ankles. 3:00 AM gleeful hopping. He has no idea why I didn't start doing this sooner, its so entertaining. I have literally no idea why he loves it so much but he's gotten 2x as cuddly as he used to be, it's like the night-time stuff is the most fun he's ever had. My DH has noticed it, too, how friendly and outgoing Nimbus is now, so it's not just me losing my mind. biggrin.gif

My cats loved it when I was pregnant and getting up at all hours to go to the toilet. They were thrilled. And then when the baby was tiny and I'd wake up at random times to spend hours on the couch, that was pretty awesome too.

When I was around 12, we'd go to visit a friend from school. His Grandma lived with them, she had dementia and was slowly forgetting who everyone was. We'd bring our chihuahua, who would go to anyone happily. He'd bound into the house, hop up on to Mavis's lap, lick her hands and settle in for the visit of being patted and fussed over. "Oh, he remembers me!" she'd say every week. Just before she went into a nursing home, she wasn't always sure who her own daughter was, but she remembered our dog and was always thrilled to see him.

#13 Epitome

Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:52 PM

When I was about 10 my mum was still a Cav breeder and she had a girl she was very proud of.  Bed from her foundation stock, she acheived her title very quickly and mum was planning on a litter before retiring her to a life of luxury - she had lots of offers from people looking to mate with her or buy puppies.

We went on our annual beach holiday and most of the dogs stayed home with a teenager neighbour who loved animals hired to look after them.

Because this girl was special, Mum sent her to stay with her older cousin who had never married and still lived with her elderly mother (my mums aunt)

Aunt was in early stages of alzheimers and failing health, but found having this dog around brightened her considerably.  She was happier, more willing to cooperate and always remembered to feed her etc.  

When we came home from our holiday Mum decided to let her stay on.  She was a wonderful comfort to my great Aunt who died about 18 months later and then to her daughter who had never been by herself.  They were together for 10 years and she was treated like a queen.  This dog gave both these ladies something to look forward to when they were going through tough times and after her mother died it gave my mums cousin a reason to get out of bed in the morning

#14 niggles

Posted 25 February 2013 - 05:54 PM

Mine is sad. My Dad who used to break horses in another time - edging into senior territory - temporarily adopted two Shetland ponies, with a view to buying them if they adjusted well to the setting and the grandchildren. He never admits these things but he loved those ponies. They went from skinny, frightened, dusty ponies to plump, shiny, beautiful and sweet ponies. He had them responding to his whistles and calls and body language. It was lovely to see. But sadly, after 6 months, they still startled far too easily for him to trust them to have children on their backs and he had to return them to their owner. We don't mention them to him. It makes him sad to think of them.

He has a beautiful big black dog to console him now though.

#15 9ferals

Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:14 PM

I have a senior pet story - a friend's wife inherited a ancient dog when her mum passed away.
The dog was overweight, matted coat, dodgy joints, generally unhealthy and (they guess) a gazillion pack a day passive smoker.  He had been the constant companion of this lady though sadly in the last few years her ability to look after him declined.
My friends thought they would only have him for a little while and that he would follow her mum pretty quickly.  To their surprise once they cleaned him up and he had to go cold turkey on the passive smoking, he was like a new dog - it was just like one of those reality shows where they give people a makeover and a lifestyle change and they look 10 years younger and feel 100% better!

I also remember, many years ago when I worked in a rehab ward for older people, we had visiting golden retrievers.  One of them was an older dog and very sedate and gentle and lovely with the oldies, especially the ones who were frail or very unwell. The other dog was younger and more boisterous though still very well behaved considering he was a bundle of energy. One of the funniest things I've ever seen was when he rushed into one of the rooms where they had just waxed the floor and he pedalled his feet, slipping all over the place, just like a cartoon dog.  Everyone felt better that day, we all had such a good laugh!

#16 la di dah

Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:01 AM

QUOTE (Ferdinand @ 25/02/2013, 06:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have no pets and seniors stories, but this

is how Arthur has been behaving at 9.10 each morning when he realises I have once again 'lost' his small child. He then spends an hour screaming at me and walking around the house looking for said small child. Miraculously the small child is 'found' again at 3.20 each day... it's going to be a looooooooooooooong 13 years if this keeps up.

How's Arthur going now?  wub.gif

Today Nan was rather disoriented and Grue has spent the day running around the living room scolding me. I'm not silly enough to believe the cat truly understands what's going but she knows when Nan is especially sick, and she's also sure it's my responsibility to sort out.

A couple days ago Nan had a really bad turn (we didn't think she'd pull through) and Grue sat silently by her feet watching her and not moving - for hours - even with Nan's daughter/My MIL here, and Grue normally hates strangers looking at her.  When Nan started getting better and her feet stopped being blue, Grue just walked off.

Today's very different - Nan wasn't sleeping, she was just not making a lot of sense, and Grue went completely hyper. Now Nan is resting and Grue is asleep next to me.

It's very strange. I don't want to over-read it, but animals are fascinating in a bizarre way.

#17 mewsings

Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:12 AM

I work for a large aged care organisation, and we have one nursing home that has always had cats that come in with the residents and stay on even after the resident has died.  I have seen many a time at this particular centre three lovely residents squished on to half a three seater lounge in the tv room while a big brown tabby neuter takes up a seat and a half, and if any carer attempts to move him they get told off loudly  biggrin.gif

We have two other dementia facilities that have resident dogs, one had to have an enforced holiday at a carers home for a few months because he cadged so many scotch finger biscuits he was becoming obese.

#18 kpingitquiet

Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:57 PM

Husband's Nana is a bit different. She's very active, works at a zoo part-time, walks miles upon miles most days, travels out to her caravan in the outback, regularly...real firecracker! But she was in a car accident and had a broken pelvis which put her way off her game for a long time. I swear her little black cat (and the random strays she looks out for) kept her going. It looked, awhile back, like her cat might be ready to pass on but, through luck and her constant care, he rallied. We were all very grateful he did original.gif

My aunt runs an assisted living/dementia-care luxury type joint. They always have a House Dog. One such dog was a lab named Sandy. When Sandy started getting a bit old for the job she retired to become my uncle's kids' dog biggrin.gif The old folks sent Sandy off to retirement with a big party and a giant homemade card.

I think pets are wonderful for the morale of older folk. The routine, the companionship, the lack of demands, the feeling of being needed, and actually having the time to give the animals the attention/care many of us younger types (with jobs and/or kids) don't always manage.

#19 Cranky Kitten

Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:26 PM

This thread reminds me of my grandfather. He moved into a home when I was 15, as we simply couldn't look after him at home with my aunty any more. Most afternoons and every Saturday I would rollerblade up to the nursing home with the two dogs to visit him, he'd forget who I was half the time, calling me by my aunt's name or his late wife's name etc, but he always remembered the dogs. Within all of about 5 minutes of my arrival, I would be surrounded by old gents all patting the dogs and remarking on how well trained they were. Of course, they lapped it up original.gif

Pop passed away when I was away at boarding school.

#20 la di dah

Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:01 PM

Update: Nan had to go to hospital (possibly long-term) yesterday, and my female cat especially has been watching her a lot, especially if it looks like she's having trouble.

Anyway I had to get Nan out to my MIL's car and then come back inside.

My sweet ****! The cat flipped out! She's seen me take Nan to the doctor before but go with or whatever, or my DH takes her and goes with her and comes back with her. Since I just went out to the car and came back without her...! Grue cussed me for five straight minutes of yowling and chirping and running around like a loon. I've never seen her that insistent.

We told Nan yesterday when I was dropped down to spend the night so she could acclimate... she's a bit needy in general, and extremely gratified the cat noticed she was gone.  roll2.gif

#21 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:15 PM

Clearly you aren't following instructions properly.

But how sweet is Grue?

#22 tenar

Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:39 AM

When I was living overseas I used to take my little dog to visit a nursing home for elderly people.  

It was a completely depressing place.  Just awful.  The ones who could be got there sat all day in their sitting room together, chatting or not.  The others stayed in their rooms.  Pretty much everyone was waiting to die.  

My dog and I were always welcome visitors, and we made the rounds of the whole place.  Many people had had dogs in the past and mine was, in those days, agile enough to leap onto people's laps for a pat, if they wanted.  The old people just wanted to chat, mostly.  

One old lady had dementia or something and couldn't do anything for herself at all.  She was almost completely unresponsive to anything.  She was just lying in her bed.  When I lifted doggy up to say hello, tears started running down her face and she managed to move her hand to stroke my dog's head.  The nurse was astonished and said that she had never seen such a response from her.   The next time we visited she had died.  I hope that seeing us had brought back some happy memories for her.  

It was amazing and so, so sad.

#23 la di dah

Posted 22 March 2013 - 11:33 AM

That is amazing tenar. That was such a blessing you gave them.

Spikey, Grue is a very sweet, people-oriented cat. And she loves routine. She's shy with visitors but if she's decided you're part of the household she wants you doing what you're supposed to be doing - and for Nan, that seems to involve sitting in your chair and laughing at the cats.

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