Animals of all types, especially dogs and cats, help not only the elderly overcome the pain of loneliness, but pets show companionship and affection. For anyone who is consistently left alone, pets can also supply a sense of security and protection. Pets can make one laugh and divert the mind away from troubles. In my job not only do I have to regret the decision to place my elderly peeps in an upper level of care but sometimes I have to find a loving new home for their pet. This ultimately means that the peep and animal are separated. However, usually if the peep has to be placed in an upper level of care the pet has suffered the consequences of being neglected. They have probably been neglected because the owner is no longer able to take care of themselves; let alone a pet. But our pets are so loyal to us. Some of these pets know their owners have lost the capacity to take care of them. However, they are there to protect and serve. I have a few stories that I have to share about the pets I have had to deal with.
I have pets of my own and I love them to death. They are very protective of me and I’m very grateful. In this particular guardianship I had to deal with an over protective cat. I have never been a cat owner so I thought I would be able to gather the cuddly ball of fur and take her to her new home. She was a very old and spoiled cat. Peep 911 fed her cat real tuna. Every time, I would go visit Peep 911 the cat would hide and never come out while I was there. I went to the house after I placed Peep 911 in the Assisted Living and the cat wasn’t a very happy kitty. I couldn’t catch her. She would hide under the bed and hiss. So I decided to round up a co-worker and try some cat wrangling. Jody and I went into the house and chased the cat around the house for a few minutes. The cat hid everywhere we couldn’t get to. She would spit, hiss and snarl. I decided we were stressing the cat out as much as the cat was stressing us out. So I decided to call animal control and let them catch the cat. I called the dispatch number for animal control and explained who I was and I asked someone to help me get this fuzzy ball of fur caught. I heard over the dispatch call unit the dispatcher say "we have an upset cat at such and such street", "REPEAT" "we have an upset cat at such and such street. In about 10 minutes two animal control officers were at the apartment and walked up to the cat and caught it in about 30 seconds. I guess they were the cat whisperer.
On another occasion Peep Late Night had some sort of small collie. I went over to Peep Late Nights one day to prepare her for her move to the nursing home and her collie was smoking a cigarette. Apparently, the dog smoked all of the time. I was lucky and a family member took the collie home. However, it was only on the terms that the collie quit smoking.
Still on another occasion this animal wasn't alive anymore. I was cleaning a car of Peep Motel and I found a box under the seat. It was a wooden box with a nice latch on it and the box was inside of a Ziploc bag. I opened the box and there was a powder in it with a few chunks too. Nothing that reminded me of anything I was familiar with. However, my first assumption was that it was drugs. I call dispatch and they sent over a police officer to investigate. The officer got prepared; he put on his rubber gloves and carefully slipped the Ziploc bag off of the wooden box and then strategically opened the latch on the wooden box. He examines it carefully and looks at me in a very serious police officer face. He says "it looks like you have the cremation remains of someone’s animal here". He further says, "That is probably why it says Charley on the box". I felt like I was about 2 feet high and I can imagine the stories he told in the police department break room.
I did on one occasion try to keep united Peep La Fiesta and Peep Budweiser (dog) together in the move to the nursing home. I not only had the responsibility to take care of Peep La Fiesta but now I had a dog to take care of. I was very fortunate that I had a nursing home Administrator that was willing to keep them united. However, it seemed Peep La Fiesta really didn't want the dog’s companionship as much as I wanted to keep them companions. The staff was taking care of Peep Budweiser more than Peep La Fiesta was paying attention to him. At one time, two of the residents thought Peep Budweiser were theirs and they each had a leg of Peep Budweiser’s and were trying to see how long he would stretch. Unfortunately, Peep Budweiser ended up incontinent and a family member had to come and get him.
I had Mr. and Mrs. Peep Mummy and their dog that they carried around inside a suitcase. Yes…the dog was no longer alive but the dog went everywhere with them.....in a suitcase. I won’t go any further with this story.
My own mom was in a nursing home and my sister’s dog kept her company almost every day. My sister would drop her dog off at the door and he knew exactly where my mom’s room was. Somehow that dog knew my mom needed his affection. Of course, it couldn’t be the fact that my mom saved part of her lunch for him every day.
I breaks my heart when I have to separate my peeps from their most cherished companions. They do add a quality of life. Whenever you take an animal or a baby into a nursing home they will get undivided attention. Everyone should understand the power of a cold wet nose. Our bonds with our animals bring deep joy to our lives -- and that bond is so amazing we should be compelled to share it with the world. If your furry friend is something special, share them with an elderly person.