DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My grandmother passed suddenly in March and it is painful to see how my grandfather is still deeply hurting. He gave up on almost all his traveling to visit family, like he did with my grandmother. He came to our house for the Labor Day long weekend, but other than that, he does not travel and said he won’t for Christmas either.
When my grandmother was still alive they would go for a lot of walks, at least once a day, and for an hour or more each time. They were in good shape for people in their late 70s because they were active.
I spoke to my mother and uncle about maybe the family giving Grandpa a dog for Christmas, or at least a cat to keep him company. Neither of them thought it was a very good idea because it would mean not just going for walks once or twice a day with the dog in the good weather, but also when it isn’t so nice out.
My grandfather lives outside Savannah, Georgia, so it isn’t like he will have to go out in really bad weather. He even has a little backyard area behind his condo where I’ve seen other people have their dogs out to do their business.
I want to talk to my grandfather about if he wants a pet or not, not just take the word of my mom and her brother. I know they love my grandfather but I think they think he is not as fit as I think he is, especially if he has a reason to get more active again like when my grandmother was still around.
What do you think I should do, ask him about my idea myself or just go by what my mom and uncle say? --- GRANDPA NEEDS COMPANY
DEAR GRANDPA NEEDS COMPANY: While I agree with you that a pet can be a wonderful companion and, as the saying goes, add life to our years, there may be good reasons for your mom’s and uncle’s not supporting your proposal.
It might be worth it to have a more in-depth conversation with them to see if there are other compelling considerations, such as finances, allergies, or safety concerns that make your grandfather’s having a pet not such a good idea after all.
One question you could consider asking them, if you haven’t already, is if they’ve directly consulted your grandfather regarding his getting a pet. If he’s already nixed it, there’s not much point in your also pressing him on the issue.