Our 84 year old father has been living 2 hours away he has Alzheimer's, his memory and health have been declining pretty steadily. His small dog that is the love of his life. I know that my father is feeding his dog people food every day off his plate and forgetting to feed him his dog food and the dog has been having stomach issues. We told our father that the dog was having some stomach problems and that he needed to go to the vet for some tests, planning all the while to keep the dog here since he can't take proper care of him any longer. We are so sad and stressed because we know how our dad loves his pet. He called me 12 times yesterday evening wanting to know where his dog was. He just can't remember what we tell him. We keep telling him over and over that he is being tested and that we will keep him posted. This is heartbreaking for all of us but we feel we have no other choice in the matter.
You sound like a loving family to be concerned about your dad and his pet. Does your father have help caring for himself? If so, pet care should be part of the Caregiver’s duties. If your father does not currently have assistance at home, please investigate hiring homecare services to keep both him and his pet safe and comfortable at home! Non-medical homecare assists with activities of daily living including personal hygiene, meal prep, and light housekeeping duties.
Your dad is very lucky to have you all. Caring for someone with memory loss can be difficult, especially when doing so from a distance. I wish I had a perfect answer for this one but I have no doubt he will continue to 'miss' the dog, call you often questioning the whereabouts, etc. Is he capable of driving? If not is there someone who can drive him to a volunteer job? I wonder if he would be capable of volunteering at the local animal shelter once a week or every other week as he seems to have a love for animals. It may be a good distraction and start 'new' animal memories, hopefully helping him overcome the one that is stuck, that he misses his dog. My own dog has been gone 5 years, while I don't ask of her whereabouts, I miss her as much today as I did on her last day with us.
My personal belief is that having memory loss doesn't make feelings and emotions go away (missing ones dog) it just makes them more difficult to convey to those we love how or what we are feeling.