Why Pet Loss Is Especially Devastating to Seniors or Homebound People

Pet dog drinking waterIn my work with Hospice and Quality at Life End Institute, as part of the Montana StoryKeepers, I have witnessed the love affair many elderly have with their pets.  Pets force them to get up each morning, to get exercise, to focus on something outside their own problems and pain, and are a wonderful companion.

It is no wonder so many who need hospitalization or assisted living refuse to go for help, for fear of leaving their pet.  I have heard of people who are ill, but who downplay their illness to the doctor rather than take a chance of being separated from their pet.

“A dog wags his tail with his heart.

Heidi Eklund, a skydiver from New York , shares a story of Marley. This is just one little part, you will want to Click Here to get the rest of the story.


“On June 9, 2008, my little Pug, Marley, just didn’t wake up.  He was a sensational being with an amazing personality.  He was a big dog in a little body and very much a clown.  A couple of years ago I changed my lifestyle completely taking on two jobs so I gave Mr. Marley to my Mom, a retiree, who had all day to dote on his every move.  She cared for him like he was her grandchild spoiling him rotten.  All the neighbors in her retirement community loved him too.  He was a love and everyone loved him.


I decided I would skydive his ashes with a bunch of my skydiver friends.  Since my partner and I are in the video production business, I will video the event and make a short video tribute to Marley calling it Marley’s First Jump.  Part of his remains will stay with Mom, part will go in my garden, and some in a piece of jewelry.”

A pet becomes the focus of attention, affection and routine for many elderly or retired people.  The pet listens to the stories over and over again, never tiring or complaining.  The love of a pet, especially to a housebound person, is unconditional and the companionship priceless.