PART 3: GIVE YOUR DOG A PURPOSE
Our dog, Cotton, had always felt that he was the protector of the castle and the family. But as he got older, he didn’t do his usual bravado when greeting guests and didn’t walk the perimeter to check for intruders.
About that same time, my father entered his 80’s and I found that if I gave him something to look forward to, he was so happy! We all like to have a purpose and another purpose besides sitting around the house. For my father, I would plan excursions, events, or activities and planned them months in advance so that he could plan, think and get excited about whatever it was that we were doing.
Just like us, dogs love to feel like they have a purpose, a job and like to feel needed.
There are many ways that you can help your older dog feel important and needed and loved. These can occur in a formal or informal way, but older dogs make the best companions, friends, and teachers.
Just taking your dog to work with you from time to time is a great way to give them a change of pace and interaction with other people outside the home and the yard.
Several formal ways of letting your older dog serve a “purpose” and give them a job and something to look forward to are:
1. Story Dogs – http://storydogs.org.au/
An excellent organization that uses dogs to allow students to read to a non-judgmental listener!
2. Therapy Dogs
An example of one of these kinds of programs is the Delta Society http://www.deltasociety.com.au/pages/delta-therapy-dogs.html
Their world class program is the largest of its kind in Australia with over 1000+ volunteers and their special dogs making regular visits to health care facilities to offer the wonderful benefits of pet therapy, spend time with patients and offer a chat, a floppy ear to listen and a paw to shake.
This website is the Australia Directory of Human Animal Interaction Programs: http://www.humananimalinteraction.org.au/category/therapy
3. Assisted Living Dogs
Dogs that visit assisted living centers are a welcome treat to the residents.
Here is a recent video posted about just such a little dog. The joy on these older people’s faces is priceless!
So give your old friend a purpose – a reason to get up from his bed – and he/she will be happier and healthier for it.
In addition, don’t forget to order Get Up and Go by calling 1800 33 88 22 or by ordering online at www.getupandgodog.com.au