My grandad grew up with dogs around him all his life. It wasn’t till his later years he lived without a dog when having to take care of my Granny, who was diagnosed with dementia. However, after granny’s long battle with Dementia, my Granny became a resident at Vida Care Home, near Harrogate with the 24/7 support that she really needed. Grandad’s social life started to fall apart without having Granny by his side and he became very isolated. So, on New Year’s Eve 2015 I set my grandad a New Years Resolution to complete over 2016…to get himself a dog.
Grandad got a lovely pure black Cockapoo, 10 weeks old, whom he named Bonnie. Straight away they bonded and soon Grandad was enjoying training his new puppy, at home, and attending puppy socialisation classes followed by a 10-week dog training course which was great for them both. This provided an opportunity to be in the company with other dogs and meet and chat to their owners. Grandad and Bonnie were delighted to receive award certificates and thrilled when Bonnie won a prize in a dog competition in Thirsk.
Having Bonnie to look after, and care for, gave Grandad a new purpose in life. He would take her with him into the care home, where Granny and other residents and staff enjoyed playing with her (and her zest for licks).
For the first time in his life, particularly when Granny passed away in 2017, Grandad was faced with the prospect of potentially leading a lonely life without Granny in their everyday routine, but Bonnie helped to change all that! They were inseparable in and out of their house! Grandad got a lot of pleasure from the responsibility of caring for his new companion – training, feeding, grooming, exercising and playing together! Walks, particularly in Harrogate’s lovely, and dog friendly, Valley Gardens, at least twice a day, provided plenty of exercise and fun, and helped to keep them both fit and healthy. It also provided Grandad with another opportunity to meet other people and share their “dog experiences”.
Being a little on the deaf side, Grandad could have been vulnerable to unwanted intruders in his home, but with Bonnie in the house he knew he was safe, as she would soon bark whenever someone came to the door or by the garden.
Some people think that having a dog inhibits the owner from enjoying a full social and active life; clearly this is not the case with Grandad. He still enjoys playing a few holes of golf twice a week, knowing that Bonnie can be left in the house, safe and in comfort for a short time. Likewise, on other days he found he was able to go out in the evening to attend various social events and meet up with friends, whilst Bonnie “guarded” their home, happy in her own space. Bonnie would often accompany Grandad in the car for short and even longer journeys, and with an increasing number of dog friendly venues he found having a dog doesn’t stop you from joining in on everyday activities like taking your dog to a café and reading the local paper…in fact having a dog developed Grandad’s social life as more and more people approached Grandad to stroke Bonnie whilst making conversation with grandad.
Grandad has now shared his life with Bonnie for nearly three years; this has ensured he doesn’t become lazy or idle, and has undoubtedly enriched his life and made sure he is never lonely or alone. He now feels safe in his home, keeps fit, and is making new friends all the time. For these, and many other reasons, I am so glad I was able to persuade Grandad to have Bonnie in his life.
Bonnie has undoubtedly enriched grandad’s life, made sure he never feels lonely, but feels safe in his own home, keeps fit and constantly making new friends. For these and many other beneficial reasons I’m glad I was able to set grandad what became a lifestyle enriching goal, to have and enjoy the company of another dog in his life, after many years following on from my Granny’s passing.