Skip to content

You are using an outdated browser

Internet Explorer is not supported by this site and Microsfot has stopped releasing updates, therefore you may encounter issues whilst visiting this site and we strongly recommend that you upgrade your browser for modern web functionality, a better user experience and improved security.

Upgrade my browser

See the transformation in this Alzheimer’s Grandma when a borrowed dog comes to visit

See the transformation in this Alzheimer’s Grandma when a borrowed dog comes to visit
Source: BrightVibes

Pictures of a grandmother stricken with Alzheimer’s having fun with a visiting ‘Borrowed’ dog went viral on Twitter recently. Her family are members of an initiative in the U.K. and Ireland that pairs pets with people part-time.

The heartwarming images have now been shared and liked on Twitter thousands of times

On the last day of February, Richard Dawson Tweeted some pictures of his Nan enjoying a visit from "Orla" a borrowed 9-month-old Dachshund puppy. Winifred Lowe is 95 years old and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She receives regular twice-weekly visits from the little dog and they clearly both enjoy each other’s company. The initiative is called BorrowMyDoggy, and it aims to match the right dog with the right person.

“My 95-year-old Nan has Alzheimer’s, so she cries a lot and gets very angry and confused. We started borrowing a dog and now this happens.” Source: Twitter/RichardDawson

‘Our aim is to make a positive impact on the lives of dogs and people’ – BorrowMyDoggy

Richard Dawson and his brother recently discovered a service, BorrowMyDoggy, which pairs dog owners in the United Kingdom and Ireland with people who could use a little canine affection.

The mission statement on their Facebook page says–

‘Our aim is to make a positive impact on the lives of dogs and people by building local dog loving communities. BorrowMyDoggy members have shared how their lives have improved, including the lives of their dogs, since joining BorrowMyDoggy, as they now enjoy extra love, attention and exercise when they may otherwise be alone at home.’

Source: earthables.com

9-month-old Dachshund puppy
“In your face!” 9-month-old Dachshund puppy “Orla” gets up close and personal with Winifred Lowe, 95. Source: Twitter/RichardDawson

How Can Pets Benefit Alzheimer’s Patients?

Alzheimers.net blogged recently – Anyone who owns a cat or dog can attest to the beauty of their unconditional love, and animals often forge a special connection with people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

While companionship is an obvious benefit, a well-timed pet visit may also help with anxiety and depression. It’s not uncommon to watch someone transition from emotionless to joyful when a pet enters the room, especially if it triggers pleasant memories.

However, it is important to also keep in mind that the opposite reaction could occur as well.

Researchers have long suggested that pets are good for us, even offering health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate, reducing the stress hormone cortisol, and boosting levels of the feel-good hormone, serotonin

The following video uploaded to Youtube shows Lisa Abeyta’s father interacting with the family dog. Ordinarily the Alzheimer’s had affected his ability to speak, but in the company of the dog he became more like his old self.

‘My dad with our dog’ Lisa Abeyta uploaded this touching video to her Youtube channel. She said at the time, “My father had Alzheimers. This is what happened when he was with our dog.” Source: Youtube/LisaAbeyta
Dawson told The Dodo,
“Being able to borrow a dog like this is a great opportunity, especially if the person with Alzheimer’s had dogs when they were younger Dawson told The Dodo, “[Orla’s owner] brings her over every Tuesday and Thursday for a few hours for Nan to play with. As soon as the dog is put in front of her, she stops and just plays. It makes her forget her worries and pain.” Source: Twitter/RichardDawson

If you’re considering taking your pet for a visit, here are some points to bear in mind.

  • Be mindful of the pet’s temperament and energy level. Too much jumping and/or excessive barking may do more harm than good.Consider time of day. Morning or early afternoon visits are probably better choices than late afternoon and evening when Sundowner’s is setting in.
  • Don’t wear out Fido’s welcome. Always stay tuned in to your loved one’s demeanor, as they can quickly reach a point of overstimulation. If they begin to show signs of agitation, simply know that it might be time to end the visit.
  • Realise that Alzheimer’s and dementia patients are unpredictable when it comes to pets. Sometimes they will be delighted to see the animal, other times they may not be interested.

Source: alzheimers.net

Make an Impact

Learn more about how contact with pets can benefit Alzheimer's sufferers and their families.

alzheimers.net is a one-stop resource for all your questions about the condition. This link takes you to the page on pets, but many other questions are answered there.