Nothing brings a smile to dad more than a warm and furry critter. Fortunately, we have 5 of them! Alzheimer’s moods change as the wind blows, and the pets always bring his smiles back. Some days I just plop a cat in his lap and he calms down and smiles away. But most days, it is our poor dumb dog, Chulo, who has proven himself! Dad has been with us for three months now and Chulo (the Stupor Dog) has proved he is not as dumb as we all thought! As soon as Dad arrived, Chulo started sitting right below dad’s feet, near his walker, and was never far from him (unless one of the kids lured him away). Seems he just has that sense that this is someone that needs protecting and his companionship. He can even be seen following dad into the bathroom or sitting outside the door waiting for him.
Chulo always walked a mile every day with me. Not sure how, but somehow he immediately figured out how to manage walking to the left of the wheelchair. Of course, there is the occasional squirrel incident where his instincts take off – but for the most part he gets it. He even weaves in and out of the walker without tripping dad. Dad now refers to Chulo as “My Baby” and gets quite worried if he does not see him. Fortunately, he is never far when called and dad is pleased upon his return.
For the record, I can understand why most long term care facilities and residential homes do not allow pets. I am thankful that therapy dogs often visit the elderly. My Grandfather lives at a V.A. Hospital in MA and visiting dogs are always a big hit. Many thanks to those owners who make that happen and to those who train dogs to assist others as well. I never thought Chulo would prove himself a good “Therapy Dog,” but he has!