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I saw an ad on Craigslist today that made me stop and think. Someone was looking for a small breed puppy or young dog for their 4-year old daughter with cancer. They said you're welcome to bring the dog to the little girl at the hospital so I don't think it's a scam. The little girl had specifically requested a small, female dog so she could "cuddle and play dress-up."

I also often see people looking for dogs or puppies, often small breed, as companions for very elderly or sick people.

I can see why someone who is facing a serious illness and even their own mortality might want a dog. I can also see many ways that this set-up would NOT be in the dog's best interest.

Just curious about what your thoughts are on this? Whose needs/wants come first? The child who is going through chemo and radiation therapy and just wants a little dog to love and snuggle and play dress-up? The lonely elderly person who may not have much longer and just wants a dog for a companion? Or the dog who probably doesn't want to snuggle and play dress-up with a 4-year old and may become unwanted when its elderly or terminally ill owner passes on?
 

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I think a lot of them are scams aren't they? They get these small breed dogs for someone who is "sick" then sell or breed them?

I am sure when it came down to it, the hospital would not allow the dog in so you would meet them with Fluffy, crying, handing the dog over to these scam artists...

And also in general do not think it's a great idea, and if they do this, would be best to go through a rescue or breeder that would make sure the dog and family had a safety net.
 

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What might work better for patient and dog is a hospice dog. A few years ago there was a guy on the radio talking about his hospice dog. He would take his dog to see hospice patients and he said many (especially adult men) would talk to the dog and say things that he couldn't to his family/loved ones. His dog seem to know what was going on with these patients and was wonderfu with them. It was a very moving story. I had never heard of hospice dogs prior to that. I don't think it is well known.
 

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I know someone with a therapy dog and she has clearance to visit the childrens hospital in town (they have strict requirements for therapy dogs). To me this makes much more sense. The families I've known with very sick children barely have time to keep up with all the medical procedures and take care of their other children and themselves, let alone raise a dog.
 

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I agree with Liesje....Dayna is a therapy dog and we visit a couple of local hospitals and a hospice. I cannot imagine those families having the time or energy to deal with a puppy of any breed.
 

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How about a Peruvian long haired guinea pig?


They have great personalities, love to be dressed up (literally scream for attention), cost $30 and live 3ish years. Dirt cheap to feed them, no huge commitment, like to be brushed and cuddled and they'll never poop in your lap :)
 

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I am sure when it came down to it, the hospital would not allow the dog in so you would meet them with Fluffy, crying, handing the dog over to these scam artists...
I had a very good friend who died from breast cancer. She had a tiny yorkie at the time. I would place the dog in my purse and carry it with me daily when I visited. The hospital knew it - but I didn't make it an issue, neither did they. It was against the rules, but sometimes they turn their heads when it comes to the dieing.

When she died, I had to find the dog a home. I couldn't keep her, she was far too small and I had a house full of Aussies at the time. I took my time and found her a home with 2 other yorkies. She was well loved and pampered for the rest of her life.
 

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When you have a family member who is dying, you do anything and everything you can do for them. I would get the dog and I would make it work.
 

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If my son was dying and wanted a dog, I would get him his dog and do everything in my power to make the situation work. When and if he did die, that dog would be cherished, after all, it was my baby's dog and bought him comfort, peace and a distraction from the horror he was going threw. If you like the dog is all most a last link/piece of my little boys happiness.
 

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My local Children's Hospital has a huge pet room, so that families can bring in family pets for the kids to play and visit with their animals. They also have a very busy therapy dog program. I work in the major trauma hospital for the region and quite often I see people bringing dogs in to visit patients (usually small dogs). I used to work in an full care/Alzheimer's facility, and we had a dog, 2 cats, and a miniature goat that were there daily, and you wouldn't believe the effect they had on everyone. Everyone here would, I'm sure, agree with the therapeutic effect of animals. We also agree with how much work they can be. However, there are a lot of very quiet, small, senior dogs out there that just want a lap to sit on, who would otherwise sit in a shelter, and I think they do quite well with the sick and elderly - it encourages them to get up and move, even if it is just to do a lap in the yard a few times a day, it can have a drastic impact on health and recovery and the dogs get a home where they are loved. I think in these situations, if the family can actually meet the needs of the dog, and the dog is carefully selected (I wouldn't think a puppy would be at all suitable in this kind of situation), then it could help both the individual and the dog.
 

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I think as long as there is a quiet plan in place amongst the rest of the family about caring for the dog once their beloved one has passed on, it's ok.

If some dying 4 yr old wants a dog to dress up, give the child a dog to dress up. The puppy will get used to it and grow up into a dog that's used to being dressed up and cuddled with. If the elderly person wants a dog for the last few years of their life, get them an appropriate pet they can care for (not a young puppy that will drive them bonkers). Some of the shelters here have senior programs that have reduced adoption rates for older and calmer dogs that would make excellent companions for the elderly. As long as the family understands they will ultimately be responsible for the dog once grandma/grandpa pass on, why shouldn't they be permitted to have one?
 

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My grandpa(my mom's dad) has Dementia and had to be put into a nursing home because it was becoming to stressful and we did all we could to keep him from being put into a nursing as a last resort. He is doing a little better now. But he is slowly dying.

My parents asked if we could bring Tanner to come visit him, but they only allow little dogs.:mad: I still want to make Tanner a therapy dog. He loves people and loves the attention and would make a great therapy dog. Hopefully soon I will be able to do that.

Therapy dogs are great for the elderly and the ill. They see these dogs and their faces light up and it brings tears to my eyes. Just knowing this beautiful animal is there loving them and not judging them, not bugging them about their health or anything. Being with dogs gives them a chance to get away from all their troubles whether its physical, emotional, or mental.It brings happiness and joy.
 

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I think as long as there is a quiet plan in place amongst the rest of the family about caring for the dog once their beloved one has passed on, it's ok.
Thats my thought, as long as there is a plan for the dog and its not going to be dumped at a shelter once the patient passes. But if the family isn't willing to care for the dog after, then no they shouldn't get a dog for the person.
 

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My mom was recovering from colon cancer surgery when I gave her Cujo. Cujo has been a bright spot and a spark for my mom. My dad says he wished she treated him as good as she does Cujo.

My brothers and sisters were skeptical about it and my dad did not want the dog. But mom put her foot down, and dad would do anything for mom, so they have Cujo. And everyone loves him, now. My sister's adopted kids call him their dog.

We are dog lovers on this site, but I am not sure we all understand the power, the healing power of dogs, if not healing the body, they certainly heal the emotions/heart/soul. It does not have to be a lose lose situation for the dog. The dog becomes attached to a dying person, and provides that person some joy, something to wake up for. When the person passes, the dog will likely grieve, but they can generally move on to another person.

My brother and his friend had Jazzy. His friend had bad RA, and needed both hips replaced, and was dying so they could not do the surgery. Jazzy was a hyperactive young shepherd bitch -- I took care of her for two years after he died.

Anyhow, watching that pup, who could have easily dragged this very weak and light young man down the steps and down the street, wait patiently for him to navigate so very slowly and painfully every step off my parents' porch, it was something to witness. Dogs are wonderful with sick and even dying people. It is something they have a gift for.

I would not hesitate to get a dog for someone in such a situation. And as for selling one to someone in this situation, I would stress that I would take the dog back at any time. I do this anyway, but that way I would not have to say, "and when your mom passes, what happens to the dog?"
 

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This topic reminds me of what happened when my grandmother died... She had an older mixed-breed dog who was not very well behaved/socialized. There was no plan for the dog, and he ended up being passed around from one of her childrens (my aunts/uncles) families to the next, poor thing. I don't remember it that well as I was about 7 at the time, but I think he started out at our house temporarily, then went with one aunt and uncle and they could not deal with him so he went to another and so on. He eventually ended up back with us and that was where he spent his remaining years. I guess since we already had one grumpy and badly behaved dog(the dog my family had when I was growing up was never really socialized as a puppy and did not like kids or strangers), what's one more?
 
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