General / Can Rover Come Over?
love our pets, and our attachment to them varies from
one individual to another. In cases of the infirm
or elderly, the attachment to a pet may be much more
intense. Individuals with memory loss may not
understand why they have to move to assisted living, or
in with a relative, let alone any problems that might
come with bringing Fido along.
Caregivers may swing from one extreme to another in
their own emotions. The part-time caregiver who
can tolerate animals during short-term visits may balk
at full-time pet and person caregiving. Although
it is essential to acknowledge how you feel about animal
caretaking, it may be best to keep it to yourself until
you explore options. “Preparing” a family member
to give up a pet may take many weeks (or longer). There is emotional strain on the loved one and caregiver
during this process, as well as on the animal.
and Things Change
hard-nosed parent who made the decision to give up a
child’s beloved pet may now be the one who is attached. It may stun a caregiver to find that the parent now
exhibits the same sense of loss when approached with
having their pet taken away. Caregivers in this
type of situation would benefit by counseling to find
closure in making a decision that does not access any
hidden feelings from the past. Keeping or giving
up a pet with such an event coloring the situation will
add to stress for everyone in the long haul.
age and/or our health changes, our sense of connection
to people, places, and furry creatures may enhance our
connections. Children who are happy go lucky one
year may have terminal diagnoses placed upon them, and
change their receptivity, too.
There’s a Wag, There’s A Way
case of dogs and cats, an option for individuals who may
be forced to surrender the pet is to have it qualified
as a therapy animal. This is different than a
“work dog,” which can help perform tasks.
Local humane societies offer classes
in pet therapy. The animal must pass certain tests
for social behavior. If Rover is able to complete
the program successfully, it becomes a gold star on his
“doggie resume.” This may make facilities more
agreeable to allowing Mom to bring him in as a roommate.