Dear Grandparenting: My young grandson is dying for a dog. Tim is eight and an only child, so he gets lonely, as you can imagine.
Tim’s parents are against getting a dog because they both work long hours, and it would be cruel to leave the dog alone, especially when Tim heads back to school this fall.
I, on the other hand, have all the time in the world and might like the company. I have never owned a dog and don’t know much about them because my late husband never wanted to bother with animals in the house.
Tim already rides his bike to my house three or four days a week for supper. I have a large fenced yard in the back where they can play together. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Am I missing anything? Louisa Perkins, Everett, Washington
Dear Louisa: Sounds like a splendid idea, provided you understand the basic contract between humans and dogs. Dogs work best when they serve one master, and that means you. Your grandson will be a secondary player in this scheme.
Dogs can greatly enrich the grandparent-grandchild relationship. With a pooch around to entertain them, grandchildren may be more inclined to visit. Research indicates that the presence of a dog often reduces human stress and depression and combats loneliness. Dogs also make superb walking partners, keeping their masters fit.
Dogs can do it all: captivate the grandkids and provide grandparents with companionship, comfort and security. But they do need human care and attention, the more the better. They’re not cheap; many owners spend about $1,000 annually on dog care and feeding. Dogs can trip you up in other ways also. According to U.S. government data, dogs are a leading cause of injuries suffered by tripping or falling.
The web site of AARP (formerly the American Association for Retired Persons) contains a wealth of useful information. Categories include “Aging in Dogs — Companions Teach Us To Age Better,” “Study Highlights Health Benefits of Dog Ownership” and “Dog Breeds Best Suited for 50 Plus Owners.”
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Joy Anderson, from Sidney, Ohio, was having difficulty trying to understand what grandson Michael, 5, was saying on the telephone.
“Slow it down a little,” she told Michael. “And I don’t think you’re speaking loud enough for me to hear you.”
Michael paused and replied, “No, Grandma, you’re just not listening loud enough!”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.