In late May 2021 my grandson, who lives with me got a new puppy. My daughter and grandson were working/schooling from home so it seemed like a good time. 8/3/21 My strokes occurred, the kids went back to school in person, daughter to work in office 3 days per week, then to visit me in hospital after work as well as take care of the grandie. Poor puppy was left alone most of the time, and learned bad habits of destroying everything in sight…bedding, flooring, doors and trim…Healthworkers and extended family said the dog had to go before I came home. I would not allow them to take away my grandie’s first pet of his own. I regretted that many times as I was training the dog to behave in a proper manner, but she never hurt me. It is as if she knew I was frail and took care of me. She started listening to me, learned to be very gentle. My cat missed me terribly and to this day has become very protective of me. Animals just know. The dog most especially has increased her amount of ‘roughness’ with me, as if to say, “C’mon, you can take it”. She is correct, And when I get tired, she gentles. I learned to bend over because the cats and dog needed fed. The dog stengthened my arms and legs because I take her out on a leash and sit in my rolling walker, but I must walk to get there and hold on to her. She will only pull until I tell her to stop. I have fallen twice with her, but not her fault. I was distracted once and tripped over my walker the second time. I really do not think I would have done as well without the help of the animals to care for.
Regarding young children, my grandson keeps me on my toes, literally. We could not afford sitters for him so he stayed home with me over the summer, once I was home, and since. He has often been right there to steady me, or keep me company. His friends all come over…a band of seven usually…they would make me try to play a dance game or Mario Party which helped me, ask me to fix them Ramen or Pizza, or drinks. Make much noise and movement around me to help get used to it, and keep me walking around outside to see where they had gotten off to.
The kids are all in the 7-10 age range. Care workers and family were very concerned about that as well but I wanted my grandson to be able to be a kid. Sometimes the noise would get to me and I would sleep in the chair to shut it out. Thankfully the age group made that okay.
I just wanted to share my experience, that things that may seem too much for a frail person are just the thing to help them get stronger. I know the kids and animals truly helped emotionally, mentally and physically.