Dogs have always been faithful companions for us humans. We enjoy their presence as playmates in childhood, as a source of delight (and challenge) in adulthood and as precious parts of the family. This becomes even more true when the children have left and the parents feel alone at home. Pets are some substitute for the aliveness which they had experienced before.
This is even more important for elderly people who live alone. The company of an animal is often live saving. Especially dogs who require the owner to go out of the house every day are a precious means to keep older people mobile and healthy. They might find it hard sometimes to take carefor the needs of the dog, but the creature actually gives a meaning to their lives and a reason for getting up in the morning – especially if they are lacking other meaningful things to do in their lives.
Cats don’t need their owners to go out with them, but they still need some maintenance, some occasion for the owner to get out of sleepiness or even depression and to do what needs to be done. And all animals regularly give their thanks to the owner by being close to them and to allow physical contact – which often is missing for people in older years of their lives.
Our dogs have always shown such love toward us, as we do toward them. Most of the dogs we have loved were a little large to be lap-dogs, but a miniature poodle early on and now our Jack Russell terrier love to spend time cuddling in our lap. One large Golden Retriever mix that was part of our family before Suzie, tried to sit on my husband’s lap from time to time. She was as big, or maybe bigger, than he was, so it was really laughable.
Most of our dogs were rescued from the shelter or from individuals who either no longer wanted them or just couldn’t care for them. Each dog has its own distinct personality. Many of them love to entertain, which is a fun activity for both them and us. Running, playing with toys, or having us throw a ball or squeaky toy as they chase it — can be great entertainment for them and us.