For many elderly people living with a medical condition, it is a constant challenge and a roller coaster of ups and downs.
My husband Warren has Stage 3 Dementia and as his wife and carer, I would like to share a few words about how we felt when we learned that we were accepted to take part in the Dogs 4 Dementia program.
Having never been a pet owner, and with Warren having good and bad days, I was initially a little hesitant as to how it would work.
I wondered if I would be able to cope with having an assistance dog living as part of the family, I must admit with encouragement from family and friends, I soon came to the realisation that it was no longer about me.
I could see my husband of 55 years was drifting away into a different world, maybe the Dogs 4 Dementia program would not only supply a pet and companion for Warren, but add to the care and friendship that we were already receiving from our close knit family and friends.
After a few meetings with representatives like Deb from Dogs 4 Dementia and Alberto from Assistance Dogs Australia, we found ourselves preparing our home, making room for a newest family member to arrive, much like we did many years ago when we were bringing our newborn children into the family home. Warren would make me smile when he would ask ‘When is my dog coming? ‘Do I need to build a kennel and what will I call him?’
Our day finally arrived, on May 1st 2016 when Alberto from Assistance Dogs Australia pulled into our driveway with Lucky, a beautiful Golden Labrador on board. Now Warren has a reason to get up in the morning, caring for his new companion and mate takes up a good part of his day and also allows me a little bit of breathing space.
Many things can be squeezed out of life when an illness comes in, but thanks to the dedicated and caring people at Assistance Dogs Australia and Dogs 4 Dementia, Warren now gets to enjoy his new friendship and all of the support and care that comes along with it.
“Warren and Lucky – end of day one in my new home.”
Story by Margaret Stoddart
The views expressed in these blogs are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily the views of HammondCare or the Australian Government.