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Sharing the diagnosis and a love of dogs

Malcolm and Anne’s story

Malcolm and I have always had pets. Malcolm had two dogs, Whiskey and Tango, he loved to walk. On these walks he often met and chatted with neighbours and other dog owners.

Sheila, one of our dog-owning friends approached me soon after Malcolm’s diagnosis. She was worried because one day Malcolm just walked away mid-conversation. Sheila asked me how Malcolm was doing. I found myself telling Sheila about Malcolm’s diagnosis, then inviting her back home for coffee and a chat. It was such a relief for me to talk about the diagnosis and my feelings and concerns, to someone who wasn’t Malcolm.

Sheila had been through a dementia diagnosis with her own sister. She too had noticed how much her sister had loved being with the dogs! Our supportive friendship continued from that point, we had someone we could talk with who understood what it is like to love someone with dementia as they change. Malcolm continues to walk the dogs, we both observed they were calm and a source of joy for him. So often our pets help us to cope better, they are great company, their love is unconditional, and they have a sense of when to be relaxed.

walking dog
Talking about the diagnosis
Read this article about talking about a dementia diagnosis to move forward with dementia together.