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Companion Dogs for Older Persons

Updated on March 30, 2016

Why are companion dogs recommended for older persons?

Companion dogs offer unconditional love, company, help for disabilities, and so much more. On top of that, there are health and well-being benefits from owning and caring for a companion dog.

Their loyalty is unsurpassed, and they watch out for you each and every day.

While I have had a Rottweiller some years ago, and several mixed breed dogs when my kids were little, our Mini Foxiess are just right for us at our time of life. (Mid sixties.)

What makes a dog a great companion for an older person?

That depends on...

  • Are you mobile? Fit?
  • Not so fit?
  • A few health issues?

Having a lap dog is a great idea. While they still need exercise, as do you, they will curl up on your lap at quiet times and just keep you company.

Our little pals are ready to jump up as soon as we sit on the sofa.

Or perhaps they'll just sleep on you?

Daddy makes a great sleeping spot!

Bob and his two girls
Bob and his two girls

The benefits of pet ownership for older persons are many

Dogs, in particular, make great companions and help older people to live happy healthy lives.

Dogs and other pets help to keep retired people active, and give them a chance to care for and love their pet, receiving nothing but love in return.

Having responsibility for another being helps older persons take an interest in their own well-being also, making it easier to get out of the house (because they need to do it for their dog).

Daisy sleeps on the fire rug
Daisy sleeps on the fire rug

What are the benefits of a companion dog

For an older person?

Dogs are great companions for people who live alone or who see their family very little. They make people feel needed and keep older persons active seeing to the pet's daily care and exercise.

Dogs will love you, no matter what. They won't stop talking to you because they disagree with something you said or did.

Research has proven that touch is very important to a person's health. Patting his/her pup while it is curled up in her/his lap can help an older person feel instantly relaxed.

They can make you giggle at their capers, and we all know that laughter is the best medicine.

People keep active by feeding, grooming and caring for their pets. Dogs get older persons out of their houses and into the fresh air and sunshine. Because they are walking their dog(s), they meet other people who love to chat about their own pet.

Below are some quotes from Pets For The Elderly: Research

"What You Already Knew - Fluffy and Fido Are Good For You"

(Vol. 10, No. 1, Interactions)

It's becoming increasingly evident that pets benefit their owners physically, psychologically and socially. It may sound like a tall order for a small bundle of fur to fill, but there's apparently a lot to be said for the snuggling, laughter and unconditional love that pets provide and while human best friends can be evaluative or judgmental, pets are not.

Pets for the elderly

"Are Companion Animals Good for your Health?"

(Aaron Honori Katcher, M.D., Aging, Nos. 331-332)

When people speak to people, blood pressure almost always rises. Sometimes the rises are quite large, bringing the subject's blood pressure into the hypertensive range. In contrast, when people speak to pets, blood pressure remains the same and can even fall below

Read more on Pets for the elderly

Samantha AKA Sammi
Samantha AKA Sammi

"Rx: Animals"

(Micky Niego, ASPCA Animal Watch)

Canines have been called upon for many years to be trained to help guide the blind and to assist the deaf in their daily interactions in a loud world. Other animals are helpers to individuals in wheelchairs who don't have strong arms.

Read more on Pets for the elderly

"The Power of Pet Therapy"

(Linda Feagler, Senior Living, Avenues, April 1995)

They've been proven to reduce high blood pressure, relieve anxiety and promote longer lives. Is this prescription a magic pill or potion? Neither, says Dr. Susan Jones, professor of nursing at Kent State University. Just the power of pet therapy.

Read more on Pets for the elderly

Daisy watches every move Dad makes

Sammi and Daisy together on the lounge
Sammi and Daisy together on the lounge
Sammi and Daisy together on the lounge
Sammi and Daisy together on the lounge

About Mini Foxies

Information from the Mini Foxie Club of Australia

Although the origins of the breed are English, the breed was developed in and is endemic to Australia.

It is akin to the Toy Fox Terrier, a breed that developed along similar lines in the United States. Some Toy Fox Terrier owners can trace their dogs' pedigrees to "Foiler", the first Fox Terrier registered by the Kennel Club in Britain, circa 1875-6, and although to date no such credentials have turned up for Miniature Fox Terriers in Australia, the similarities between the two breeds support the idea that they had the same source, British fox terriers of the 19th Century.

They are not alone in this; other related breeds include the Jack Russell Terrier, the Rat Terrier, and the Tenterfield Terrier.

Info from Mini Foxie Club of Australia

Sharing a secret
Sharing a secret

Why choose a Mini Foxie?

(Called Toy Terriers in America)

A diminutive, agile, sweet-faced terrier that retains the hunting instincts and tenacity of its larger terrier cousins. The breed is akin to the Toy Fox Terrier and is known colloquially as the 'Mini Foxie' in its native Australia. The Miniature Fox Terrier's noble head is distinctive, with erect ears that may stand straight up or fold just at the tips. Another distinguishing feature is its articulate, oval-shaped foot. The breed standard has always allowed for the dog to be docked or undocked. Natural bobtails are known to occur. There are only three permitted color combinations: black and white, tan and white, and tri-color (black, white and tan).

Temperament is loyal, inquisitive, fearless, active and adaptable. Miniature Fox Terriers have an almost dual personality: at the first sign of suspicion, danger or alarm, the demure, pampered lapdog turns instantly into a fearless watchdog, tenacious vermin killer and intrepid hunter.

Information from The Dog Breed Info Centre

Daisy seems to be sharing a secret with Samantha

Daisy was runt of the litter - so she's quite a dainty lass

Daisy posing for the camera
Daisy posing for the camera

Daisy might grow into those ears - Sammi watches on as the camera flashes

Daisy might grow into those ears
Daisy might grow into those ears

RIP Samantha, faithful companion

Sadly, it was discovered in 2014 that Sammi had a brain tumor, so we had to say goodbye to her.

Daisy was bereft and looked for her in friends' cars when they called, became very dependent, so...

Poppy, born at 20 grams, now 2kg at 10 months

You can't photograph Poppy, she doesn't keep still long enough!
You can't photograph Poppy, she doesn't keep still long enough!

Puppy Chow Is Better Than Prozac - Get your copy from Amazon

Puppy Chow Is Better Than Prozac: The True Story of a Man and the Dog Who Saved His Life
Puppy Chow Is Better Than Prozac: The True Story of a Man and the Dog Who Saved His Life

Meet Ozzy. For the suicidally depressed author, this furry antidepressant came with only one side effect--unconditional, slobbery love.

To Bruce Goldstein--an edgy, twenty-something New Yorker trying to make his mark in advertising--just waking up in the morning was an ordeal. Underemployed and recently dumped, he was well into the downward spiral of bipolar disorder. Even with therapy, lithium, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Prozac, he could not shake his rapid mood swings, his fear of dying, or the voice of Satan, who first visited him one sunny day in Central Park.

Read more

 

What's your take on dogs - as companions for older persons?

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    • JanTUB profile image
      Author

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 4 years ago from Australia

      @Ted Bergman: Thanks for visiting, Ted, and for telling me about your Jack Russells

    • Ted Bergman profile image

      Ted Bergman 4 years ago

      Hi Jan! - I especially enjoyed this lens as I am 73 and live with a JRT named Jake, who keeps me in shape. He has two funny, short videos on my lens, A Funny Dog & Cat TV Show. If you like, you may use either on any of your lenses. Thanks for making me feel smart. - Ted

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      @Gypzeerose: And pinned to my "dogs" board.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      You don't have to convince me - I love service dogs of all kinds.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      They are a great idea for older people.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I it always wonderful to read the stories of pets and how they came to acquire their human partners. Companion dogs (or cats) are indeed wonderful companions for the elderly. We need pets, as much as they need us, we just don't often realize this.

    • profile image

      nicole-young 5 years ago

      Great Lens! I believe dogs are very therapeutic. They seem to take care of their owners. : )