There are countless research papers written about the benefits for older people having pets, some of which are linked at the bottom of this page.
This is the story of one dog – Muffin and my grandfather, Jack Immegart.
Muffin was a surprise for my grandfather on Father’s Day 1988 from my aunt, Mary Catherine. Grandpa was instantly smitten with this little furry ball of energy. My grandfather would be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the next year. Muffin brought companionship, comfort, and purpose to my grandfather’s life. Grandpa doted on Muffin. He would sneak her tidbits from the table even as Grandma scolded him. They would sit in the easy chair together as Grandpa read the paper. They were always together. Later when his health declined, she was a constant presence by his side. Comforting and calming him as his illness worsened.
My grandfather was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels until he was no longer able to drive. It’s in his and Muffin’s honor that Bandit’s Biscuits donates dog and cat food to the Meals on Wheels Animeals program.
“AniMeals is a pet food program that provides pet food to seniors served by Meals on Wheels. These seniors are unable to provide a healthy meal for themselves and sometimes they are not able to provide food for their beloved pet, or they choose between food for themselves and food for their pet. Like with most pet owners, their pet is a member of their family and they choose to feed them before they feed themselves. Many of these seniors also live alone and their pet is their only constant companion. If they are unable to feed or take care of their pet, then they have to decide to give it up. With this program, we strive to make that a decision that they never have to make.”
Below are resources where you can learn more about the benefits of pets and the elderly.