Friends Forever — Our Pets
By Beth Pinyerd
Early childhood teachers love to sing the preschool nursery rhyme “Bingo” a Farmer’s Dog. This cute little jingle song is loved by infants, toddlers and preschoolers to learn some of the letters of the alphabet in language arts. The composers are unknown but this children’s song has been passed down from generation to generation with songs and applause. We remember Patti Page’s song, “How Much Is That Doggie in The Window?” “How much is that dog in the window?” The one with the wagging tail. How much is that dog in the window? I hope this pooch is for sale. This song sings the desires of the hearts of young and old alike.
April is “Dog Appreciation Month”. And oh how deeply I appreciate and love my little therapy dog, Cookie Pinyerd. She helps me meet other people by walking the two of us during the day. Cookie is my wake up call in the morning as she pats me on the back to wake me up for her morning run and needs. Also, when I want to shorten the walk, she gently pushes me pulling me to continue walking and exercising in our house. She shares my emotions. When I laugh and am happy, she also shares my joy in a playful way. When I’m sad, she sits on my lap and shares my tears. Cookie is a good meteorologist. She starts running and panting when a storm is brewing. When Cookie sleeps, despite being such a small dog, she snores loudly. But it shows me that she had a good active day and is just plain tired. I really like my “furever” boyfriend.
Pets make people smile. April 11 is National Pet Day. We all love petting a dog, petting a cat, or spending time with an adorable little puppy or kitten. Let me mention that April 6 is National Siamese Cat Day. Whether it’s cute little furry animals or looking at an aquarium with gracefully swimming fish, pets are just plain fun. I served as a volunteer at a retirement village in Spanish Fort, Alabama. I would love to hear the residents I served daily talking about the parrots that were in the birdcages in our hallways. Pets offer great health benefits to seniors. I took the time to observe and talk to residents about how pets made them feel, but I also spoke to medical staff, as well as professional staff, about the benefits for seniors of have pets. Benefits may also apply to young children. Pets are truly loved by young and old.
ANIMALS HELP US
INTERACT WITH OTHERS
Walking or carrying a pet is a natural topic of conversation. Whether it’s a dog, cat, rabbit, or other soft and cute animals, pets are a conversation starter. At an evening with seniors, the resident manager shared her cute little hedgehogs with residents to hold, pet and learn about hedgehog life. Sharing his pets has been a trigger for conversation and interaction between residents to get to know each other.
Man was not destined or made to live alone. Companionship prevents illness, while isolation can cause loneliness which leads to depression in many cases. Caring for a living animal, whether it is dogs, cats or fish, encourages feeling emotionally needed and desired. It gives purpose. The elderly, as well as children, can benefit immensely from the care of a pet.
TAKE CARE OF
AN ADDITIONAL ANIMALS SCHEDULE,
ROUTINE AND STRUCTURE
Pets need to be fed regularly. Sanitary requirements for pets must also be observed. Dogs need a regular exercise program. Having a consistent exercise routine not only keeps your dog calm and balanced, it also keeps us calm, balanced, and less anxious. It is important to us as we age.
HAVING A PET DECREASES
SENSORY, STRESS RELIEF.
Touch and movement are natural ways to deal with stress. In early childhood education, we teachers learn that young children need movement, hugs and pats on the back to encourage them in order to feel safe and stay calm. The same is true as we age. Petting a dog, cat or other pets helps us feel calmer and less stressed. Being less stressed lowers blood pressure.
CARING FOR ANIMALS
BOOST ENERGY AND
I love watching my senior friends have fun, exercise, and be happy with their pets. This increases the energy of the elderly person even if they are seated or in a wheelchair. The simple gestures of stroking, cleaning, brushing and feeding pets provide gentle activity, which leads to more energy and a better mood.
If an older adult is mobile, walking a dog provides immeasurable cardiovascular exercise benefits.
HAVE A PET
The older years can be a lonely time in life. The unconditional love of a dog, cat, parrot, or other pets can mentally stimulate us and renew interest in living life to the fullest in our senior years.
April 8 is Zoo Lovers Day. A few weeks ago, this elderly teacher had a lot of fun with her church children and their families at the Montgomery Zoo. Zoo staff share so many facts about the different animals. We were thrilled to feed the giraffes, see the baby hippo, watch the monkeys climb and swing, entertain in the distance with the elephants, watch the snakes in the reptile house, enjoy the aviary and see different types of marine life. Families, this zoo is so close to our area and it makes for a wonderful day trip. The zoo also has places where families can picnic and play on a playground.