Dementia can be a heartbreaking and horrifying disease with no easy solution.
“Having a parent with dementia is not exactly the easiest thing,” Mandy Looney told The Dodo. “I don’t know that there’s a lot of resources out there to help. You’ve gotta find your own journey.”
Looney’s father has dementia but she’s “found her journey” through a little puppy named Louis.
When Mandy Looney’s father started experiencing dementia, she wanted to get him a pet.
Looney and her family grew up as animal lovers. Whenever Looney came home with a strange pet, her father would have a tough time turning them away.
So when he started to have dementia, Looney thought getting him a pet would be the perfect solution.
“[He’s] a lone animal lover- maybe let’s get him a little dog,” she said.
Soon the question shifted from “Should we get him a dog?” to “Which dog should we get?” but it didn’t take long for Looney to get her answer.
Louis the puppy had been brought to the Michigan Humane Society by the animal cruelty division. He had severely matted fur and a few behavioral issues.
Still, Looney had a feeling that this dog was the one. She took him in as a foster dog and her family immediately grew fond of him.
“Right when I walked in the door with him, I was like ‘Look at this dog, Dad!'” Looney said. “My dad just fell in love with him and thought he was the cutest thing ever.”
Looney fostered a puppy named Louis who the whole family quickly loved, especially her dad.
When Louis was first brought in to meet the family, he still had a few behavioral issues.
“He would curl up his lip if he really didn’t like somebody,” Looney said.
Yet, after being pet a few times, Louis really started to feel the love. This was a fairly new experience for him, as having matted fur for so long meant he hadn’t felt the direct touch of a human in a long time.
Soon, cuddling with Looney’s father became his favorite hobby.
Of course, the man himself was pleased to have a new friend.
“He’s one of my favorites. There’s no two ways about it … he’s a fantastic little puppy!” he said.
And Looney couldn’t be more pleased.
“It warms my heart to see they have a bond [and to see] my dad’s excited over a dog,” she said. “We have four really big dogs but he went giddy over Louis!”
Not only has Louis helped Looney’s dad feel better emotionally but he has a seemingly magic ability to snap him out of his “Where am I now?” mode and into the present.
What a special bond they share!