Growing old can be an isolating experience. As men often die younger than women, elderly men can feel particularly lonely in care homes. If men put more emphasis on work than family, their sense of loneliness in retirement can be exacerbated. The loneliness some men and women experience in their latter years can be alleviated by dogs.
An example of dog therapy, recently reported in the Sunday Mercury, is the case of Sydney Glossop. A retired solicitor, Sydney was based in Norwich, but at the age of 90 moved to a care home in the Midlands to be in closer proximity to his sister. Sadly, his sister died soon after Sydney’s move and Sydney was left without any significant local connections. Norwich and his friends seemed very distant.
Fortunately, Sydney was soon visited by Dino. Dino is a retired greyhound who frequently visits Sydney in the company of his owner Pam Dewar. Ms Dewar is a super volunteer for the important charity Pets as Therapy. For the last year, Sydney has been receiving a visit from Dino every fortnight. This may seem quite a little thing, but it really has changed Sydney’s life in a significant fashion.
Dino’s my contact with the outside world. I look on the calendar to see when he’s coming next and look forward to his visits…I could go back to Norwich but I would miss Dino.
Care homes can be depressing places for some residents. However, if society gets its act together this should not be the case. Many of us will grow old and we will then want dignity and attention; dogs can help.
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