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    • #19501

      This week I had the pleasure of recording a flash briefing for an article written by our very own Mary Beth Skylis! Listen to it here.

      In her column, Mary Beth talks about the differences between service dogs, emotional support dogs and dogs who provide companionship. Like Mary Beth, I’m an animal lover and encourage everyone to get a pet, but it really depends on whether or not it makes sense for your lifestyle and needs.

      Do you have a pet? Are they a service or emotional support animal? Have you thought about getting a service animal since you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s?

    • #19567

      I recall taking quizz in a magazine about introverts. One of the questions asked “Do you like your dog better than most people?” After a moment of laughter, I pawsed (sp?) and answered YES, I do. Having a dog is what gets me up in the morning, a) because of the joy she brings, and b) because of her aging canine bladder.

      Over the past 30 years, we have had Labs and Goldens, all rescues from violent households, and each one of them taught me how to be a better person. A few years ago, my father fell ill and had to move into a facility that did not accommodate his companion. “Scottish terriers are not my thing” I told him, but the thought of putting her down …. Its a good thing she is cute because 10 minutes later she was in the car and headed north to cottage country. That little being has never been further than 2 ft from my two feet. I would be devastated if anything ever happened to her.

      I often think that seniors would make great companions for dogs, because they are home,  experienced at care giving, and could benefit from the perks that most dogs will offer. Ironically, it is because of their sense of responsibility that they decline the idea of it in the first place.

      I have been thinking about approaching the Humane Society, and suggesting a plan for a 2 or 3 senior co-parenting plan.     “Dog-Share” if you will. Covit 19 has intensified an existing problem with lonliness. Pets are most certainly the answer.

    • #19571

      <p style=”text-align: center;”>Rob, I enjoyed reading your response & love the dog-share idea though I’m not certain if a dog would love it. I’m not interested in getting a pet but that could change. We had a sweet Bichon Frise for 17.75 years. Nellie was a great companion but most of her life was during my pre-PD years. Shortly after I was diagnosed, my daughter called to chat & to tell me that she had read that pets were great therapy for people with Parkinson’s. Nellie was about 17 at that point & when I took the call from my daughter, I was mopping the carpet due to a pee accident by Nellie. My response to her, which is still my response today, was that it’s tough enough to navigate PD without having to deal with mopping up soiled carpets and getting up during the night or in the wee hours of the morning to go outside (especially when there’s snow or ice, as we have today in Minnesota!). That being said, I do miss Nellie curling up next to my feet and the unconditional companionship that she provided. I’m just not ready to devote a lot of time & energy to a dog or other pet when it feels like I need every minute of time & every ounce of energy that I have to try to live well with PD.</p>

    • #19578
      Jacque Walston

      I’ve had a succession of dogs my whole life. Currently, I have Maxie, part poodle, part Shiz shu as a companion dog. I have not considered a service dog, but understand how they could be helpful with balance. Maxie is very smart, doesn’t shed but does require grooming. I had an older terrier and acquired Maxie after I became a widow and the beloved terrier died. Maxie is a good companion. If it were not for Maxie I would certainly succumb to depression!

      We have aged together (she was an adult when I got her). I’ve had her 15 years, so she is approaching the end. Although she is still healthy and spry, I am decreasing in my activities as PD symptoms increase. It’s harder for me to groom her properly. But she is a devoted companion who is my reason for getting out of bed most mornings. I don’t know if I will replace her when she goes. By then I may be in a facility and it will be a moot point.

    • #19584
      Mary Beth Skylis

      I’ve been trying to convince my Dad (diagnosed in 2013) to get a dog. My Mom and toying with some funny dog names. There’s “Mookie” after a baseball player that my Mom likes. “Kiki” is another baseball player.

      In all seriousness, I’ve considered getting a dog for myself and training it to support my Dad too. Do any of you have experience with service animals? Do your pets help you in physical ways as well as emotional ones?

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