Pets as Caregivers

I read a couple of great articles today: Pets as Caregiving Instructors - A Look at the Healing Power of Pets and Animals as Caregivers and it made me think of my grandmother's little dog, Casper.

I never really appreciated little dogs until I became a caregiver for my grandmother. We used to joke that Casper, her dog, was only good for being a lap warmer. But he was much more than that to my granny. He WAS the best lap warmer ever, but he was also her best friend. He knew how to comfort her when no one else could and even when her health really started to decline and she was dealing with a lot of pain, she never forgot about Casper. He made her feel needed when a lot of people would feel helpless. His cute little face and happy little spirit kept her from getting depressed when faced with Leukemia. When she went to bed, he went to bed and snuggled up with her every night and kept her warm and safe and made her feel special. He was my co-caregiver and he took his job seriously. He was always by her side and if he wasn't, I knew to go check on her. He never got tired, irritated, stressed out or overwhelmed. When we knew that she didn't have much longer to live, he never got sad or depressed or looked into her eyes with pity. He knew what she needed. A happy spirit and lots of love.

Dogs, and pets in general, are natural caregivers and we need to give them more credit and more jobs. If you are a caregiver and don't have a pet, consider getting one. They can help you and your loved one more than you can imagine and they are well worth the extra cost and effort. Many shelters now will waive the adoption fees for the elderly.

I started a Pet Caregiver photo gallery and added a picture of Granny and Casper. If you have some pictures of pets who are caregivers, we would love to see them. Click here to see the gallery and upload your photo. Have a great day!

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