October is officially Adopt a Dog Month. But it's never a bad time to think about adopting a dog for your aging parents. The benefits can be enormous. Just make sure you carefully consider a few things. Time, space, finances, health will all come into play. But the outcome could be delightful for both of them.
Who really wants your Mom to have this pet? Be honest. Did she ask for it, have you ever talked about it, or do you just think it would be good for her. If you're the one that really wants the new dog, how about adopting a dog yourself and take it over for frequent visits!
Why do you want Mom to have a pet? To combat loneliness and provide companionship? For the exercise? To fulfill a purpose and have something to care for? The mental and psychological engagement of adopting a pet can work wonders in an otherwise empty house.
Has she ever had a pet before, or is this going to be something brand new? Having the chance to go to obedience school or training classes might be a great chance to socialize. Adopt a Dog Month can be the beginning of a whole new life! Learning from other dog owners in the park is another way to make some new friends.
Are her living arrangements proper for a pet? Is her apartment big enough? Is there a yard for exercise? Is the neighborhood safe for your mom to walk a dog? You'll want to consider the noise level of the breed as well. A dog known for loud barking will not be the best for a small apartment complex.
How's her health? Good enough for daily walks? Good enough for lifting and changing cat litter? Good enough to play and provide the mental and physical stimulation that a pet will need? Or will Mom be better off adopting a cat that likes to curl up on her lap and have a good belly rub and a nap.
What's Mom's energy level? Make sure you match the pet's needs with your mom's. A dog that needs to run and play and jump for extended periods every day may not be the one best suited for your Mom right now. But keep looking, Adopt a Dog Month doesn't have to end. If your mom is pretty mellow, there is a dog or cat out there that may just fit the bill.
Would the idea of a puppy or kitten scare the heck out of her? She can't imagine getting up several times in the night or doing everything involved to get a puppy housebroken and trained. You don't have to deprive your mom or dad of the joy of a pet just because they don't have the energy to start from scratch. Consider one possible solution: adopt an older pet.
Here's a quiz you can take about lifestyle and to help you make some decisions about the best dog breeds for you to adopt.