About The Video Of My Father And Our Dog

Mom and Dad, Thanksgiving 2013

Mom and Dad, Thanksgiving 2013

Yesterday afternoon, I had the privilege of spending a little bit of time with my dad who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimers. I’ve written quite a few posts about our family’s journey through this terrible disease, and the support and care from family, friends and even strangers has been a comfort not only to me but to my mom. She has faced the biggest impact of anyone, and the grace and dignity she’s exhibited is nothing short of a miracle. She is the living example of what it means to live out your vows of for better or for worse and in sickness and in health.

My parents have two dogs in their home, one of which, Molly, is my father’s constant companion. More than once, I’ve watched him coo and talk to Molly even as his ability to form sentences and find the words he needs to communicate has deteriorated.

Dad in his favorite chair with his favorite dogs.

Dad in his favorite chair with his favorite dogs.

When my father and I arrived at my home yesterday to give my mom an hour to run some errands, our own family dog, Roscoe, greeted him at the door. For the next hour, my father petted and talked to Roscoe. Not wanting to lose the memory of the moment, I filmed a few moments of his interaction with our dog, amazed at the clarity of my father’s words.

That evening, I watched the clips of videos and wanted to share the moment with my mom and our family. I wanted a memory for all of us to hold onto and spent some time editing the clips into a small video with the help of my teenage son. Once we were happy with the video, I created a personal Youtube account and uploaded the video, sending my mom the link. I also shared the video on Reddit from an account that prior to this post had next to no activity.

I had no idea the video would touch so many people or be shared so many times. The comments and emails – for the most part – have been a wonderfully moving procession of individuals sharing their own journey through Alzheimers or dementia. It is a cruel disease, and the kind words of others who have faced similar experiences has left me feeling not quite so alone in it all.

And for those who continue to send messages offering to monetize the video, I’m not interested. This was a tribute to my father and the celebration of a beautiful moment within a tremendously difficult journey my mother and father are facing. So thanks, but no thanks. It’s not for sale.

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101 thoughts on “About The Video Of My Father And Our Dog

  1. Pingback: Dog returns power of speech to man with Alzheimer’s | Crossroads - Cathryn Wellner

  2. Dogs are amazing.. And so are you for capturing the simplicity of such a beautiful moment you will have forever. I have lost my mom, not to this disease but she declined rapidly after brain surgery for a tumor and then surgery for a broken hip. It’s only been two years but I recall very vividly our last conversation and I will treasure it always. I hope you can still see the love in your dad’s eyes even when he doesn’t speak. I pray for enough of these moments for you to have wonderful times to reflect on for a long time. God bless you and your mom and of course your dad.. And Roscoe for being an angel :)

  3. Thank you for sharing. My father i law has Altzheimer´ s and it is sometimes hard, but to see your little film makes me happy.

  4. Pingback: In One Touching Video, An Alzheimer’s Patient Speaks Again — To the Family Dog | Jackie's Space

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  6. Thank you for sharing this sweet moment between your father and Roscoe. My 43 year old sister has Early On-set Alzheimer’s and her dog Nikka is a major part of keeping her active and communicating. When Mom and my sister adopted Nikka, Mom was looking for a dog for herself. My sister didn’t want a dog. Nikka picked my sister and from the moment my sister touched Nikka, she was the dog’s person.

    I plan to link to this post and your video on my blog, Dementia be Damned, tomorrow.

  7. Pingback: Dad With Alzheimer’s Regains Speech When He’s With Family’s Dog [Video]

  8. Wonderful post. I shared it on my blog. P.S. My dad lives in assisted living and when I bring our dog to visit resident’s, who hardly move or make eye contact, perk up and pet our dog. Pets do have a wonderful healing power.

  9. Pingback: In One Touching Video, An Alzheimer's Patient Speaks Again — To the Family Dog | Dog World

  10. Pingback: The Healing Power Of A Dog Named Roscoe | Warren's Daughter

  11. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. My mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s/ dementia for many years. She came to live with us about 3 years ago and just passed about 3 weeks ago. She was the same way with our puppies. They loved her and were so very protective of her, staying with her until the end. Enjoy every moment with your father. Many blessings to your family.

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  15. I’m happy that you took the time to share this experience. One has to find the best when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other memory impairments & I’m not at all surprised with this wonderful gift that your dog helped give to both you & your dad.

    When I was faced with a similar situation for my mother, I knew that I could not waste precious time & understood how the right dog would be able to provide her (& me) a better quality of life by not just companionship but by becoming a conduit for her to keep her verbal & interaction skills functioning. I searched for a large, friendly, calm, confident, working type but people friendly dog to train to become my mother’s service dog.

    A large dog so that my disabled & smaller mom would have a dog easily within reach & that would protect & give my mom confidence. But the dog also had to be friendly, calm & inviting as well, otherwise my frail mother could become physically &/or emotionally overwhelmed but also the dog wouldn’t be able to serve her main function, in that she would be able to encourage people, esp. children to approach my mom, in order to engage her in conversation. Not as many people are inclined to approach you if you have a big scary dog. Our rescue dog came to us literally on Christmas Eve & she was already appropriately named Gracie. She came already hardwired exactly for what she was going to do & her favorite trick that she already came with too, saying “Hello” by raising her paw, was going to be her most important gift to my mom.
    I thank Gracie’s foster mom so much for encouraging her learning of that particular trick.
    All I needed to do was a little fine tuning & some confidence building but otherwise Gracie – we had to rename her Greta, was perfect just the way she was!

    I understood that my mother’s verbal skills/thought processes were deteriorating but that it was easier for her to communicate if she wasn’t expected to carry the conversation, let alone begin it. It was more productive if others approached & began the conversation. This is where our big, beautiful “Saving Grace” came in. People would observe how my very diminutive & very elderly mother in her wheelchair was politely accompanied by her very gentle, giant Berner, Greta. Like your dog’s unique & good looks, Greta, at the time was an uncommon type/breed of dog to encounter where we lived. And she always had a smile on her face; not just a breed characteristic but she came as a breeder from a puppy mill, never having experienced the feel of grass as far as I could tell. All of the above, made strangers interested in approaching my mom to meet her dog & as mother adored children we made almost daily visits to the local playground so that some of these strangers might hopefully include children.

    Here is where & when Greta’s favorite trick of “saying Hello” sealed the deal!
    How could one resist a big, clean, beautiful, friendly but calm & disciplined dog seated w her friend – my mother, automatically (no cue needed) beckoned strangers to approach by “saying “Hello”” whenever she saw someone looking at her, be resisted? And so began my mom’s conversations, & retaining her conversations skills & her interactions with society, for as long as possible w the help of our best dog – Greta.

    Greta came to provide my mother more typical service tasks, but those were icing on the cake compared to what she primarily came to us for – to give my mom a quality of life that she so deserved, esp. by helping her stay connected w people.

  16. What a moving video. I already shared this on my facebook page and I work with someone with dementia one day a week, who has no pets, but is very moved by trees and flowers. She doesn’t know their names, but will point out colors and shapes. Sometimes when we are coming back from the beach, a few blocks away she will say, “I guess we didn’t get to the beach”. I’ll show her a picture I took of her there and she says, “Hmmm, pretty.” She’ll always look at the vegetation on the medians as we drive and comment on it. Thanks for posting this.

  17. Pingback: I Made a Video of My Dad That Reminded Me the Internet Is a Fundamentally Good Place |

  18. Thank you for sharing your father. It is truly amazing what animals can do. My father had dementia along with his brother and sister. I was witness to both my uncles and dads decline and it was terribly sad to see these people that I loved taken from such strong men to child-like and helpless states. Here’s hoping that there will be a cure or form of prevention soon.

  19. What an amazingly beautiful video. I love hearing his gentle voice as he chats away to your dog. My mom is currently at about the same stage as your dad and I know the joy I feel when I hear her just get a word or two out that I recognize, to hear her speak like this would have had me utterly enthralled as well. God bless you during this difficult journey … walking with you although we have never met …

  20. For your Dad’s enduring spirit, and for my own Dad, who lost his battle four years ago. What treasures they are. Thank you for the touching moment and I wish your family all the best.

  21. What a beautiful post and video. Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely be sharing this with my social media followers on Facebook and Google Plus!

    I have had the pleasure of working with families for some time now and it’s a struggle for everyone involved. Alzheimer’s/Dementia takes the entire family on a wicked roller coaster ride. It’s incredibly emotional in so many different ways and puts so much of life into perspective. I went through this personal experience with my grandmother last year while she was in short term rehab and developed a high level of dementia. It wasn’t until we found the right board and care/assisted living and the perfect combination of medication to keep her happy, motivated, and engaged that she finally began to smile and lack irritation and depression. Routine and familiarity is key! The experience was so emotional that I left my entire past behind and started a senior placement agency to help other families find the right assisted living for their elderly loved ones. I only work in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles at this time, but certainly hope to help many more families all over in the near future!

    Please continue to update us on your fathers health and your family’s experience!

  22. Well this has made my day, just by letting me see the love you have for your father. The video really moved me and even though, I may think I am a big toughie some times, tears of happiness did begin to flow. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, happy moment! I wish your family the very best and I can see that your father raised a very special daughter, who obviously has had a very happy and loving life time. Good luck, and may you have many more of these moments to rejoice in knowing your father was, is, and always will be, in good hands!

  23. Pingback: L’Alzheimer non può nulla contro il miglior amico dell’uomo | CheTenerezza

  24. And your father raised a beautiful daughter with beautiful soul…who knows when to share, and when to take care of her family…

    that is all. Just thought you needed to hear that from a complete stranger who is familiar with life’s difficulties too…

    that glass is always half full, you know ;)


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  27. Such a beautiful story thankyou for sharing it with us god bless you and your family I had almost an identical story ..

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  30. Thank you for the video. My dad passed away 11 years ago after suffering from Alzheimers the last 18 years. It reminds me when his Great Dane used to sit on his lap with all four paws on the floor. Wish I have had it on video…Seeing this video just makes me think of those happy memories of him. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Lisa, this is so touching. My granddad has Alzeheimer’s and dementia, plus he is nearly deaf. Sometimes he just looks at us and nods and you can see in his face that he has absolutely no idea what we are talking about.

    The great thing about animals is no matter what we say (or don’t say) to them, they always love us.

  32. Thanks for sharing this beautiful video. Our hearts are with you and your family as you continue your journey with your dad and this cruel disease. My dad died of Alzheimer’s 4 years ago. It was music that brought back his language skills from time to time. He could not remember the name of his wife of 55 years, but he could sing every church hymn and song from old broadway musicals with every lyric and note perfectly in key and on tune almost up to the end. I can only hope that they will somehow crack the code of this horrid disease and spare families the grief of the long goodbye.

  33. Dear LIsa: My grandmother passed away many years ago of this damn disease. She always loved our pups and I cherish a picture of her holding one of my canine cousins. No matter what, those who have it always know when they are being loved and cared for. There is some research out there about the benefits of pets, as well as the comfort of holding even a doll for those with Alzheimer’s. I have never believed it was essential to have a designated “therapy” dog for the interaction to be therapeutic of sorts. Pups provide comfort regardless. And joy. Your dad must be a pretty special guy to have raised such a compassionate and loving daughter.
    I live with my elder parents (soon to be 97 father and 91 year old mother showing some cognitive issues). So your message at the end really struck a chord, as they say. My father is all but deaf and communication is a challenge. You never do know what is going to happen day to day…the beginning of this year my mom appeared unresponsive (think lack of hearing aids, or sick??) and turned out to need an emergency appendectomy…
    You have done a mitzvah by sharing your video…and you and your dad and your pup will be in many hearts and thoughts.
    Take care,
    another “good daughter”

    • And you mom too, of course!
      p.s. I don’t know what city you are in, but if you are in the US, there are many branches of the Alzheimer’s Assn that provide ongoing information, resources and support. There are some well-regarded books out there as well, like the “36 Hour Day”.
      I wish the love and loyalty of your parent’s marriage (and my own parents, who will be married 65 years this August) was more prevalent.

  34. Reblogged this on Mcnorman's Weblog and commented:
    I love animals. Many of you know that I care for them at the end of their lives. I always tell myself “no more.” Hah, they seem to always find a way to move in. I have always believed that they know far more than we do. I thought this young woman’s post was very indicative of how much they give to our lives and how blessed we are when they do.

  35. Would you reconsider monetizing the video and donating the proceeds to Alzheimer’s research? Two aunts on both sides of the family, my Father and my Mother have been victims of this terrible disease. My beloved Mother is in her 11th year of battle.

      • Good for you Lisa! Although a dread disease, there are plenty of sources for funding for research without you exploiting this tribute of love.

  36. I was so very touched when I saw this video of your father. Mymother is in late stages of Alzheimers. My dad is her main caregiver. I am one of seven of their children and although we saw our grandmother, (her mother), suffer from this terrible disease, it still has been such a struggle for us to watch it happen with her. We sent my dad to Delaware for the weekend to see one of sisters and her family that lives there…in fact as I am writing this, he is there now. He has not been there in at least 3 years. The rest of us kids are staying at his house and caring for our mom while he is away. We did this because he so truly is an angel in how he cares for our mother every single day and he deserved and absolutely needed the time away; we didn’t realize just how much until this very weekend. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Even through such a terrible disease, it’s great to see these wonderful and magical moments.

    • It is a blessing to have a loving family, especially when caregiving can be shared. It’s great that you are looking out as well for your father and gave him a break. Everyone needs one. It is truly a 36 hour day when someone has this illness.

  37. Pingback: Man with Alzheimer's briefly regains speech when he’s with family dog » The Viral Trend... Funny, Viral Videos, Pictures and Stories

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  39. My mother had a massive, severe stroke. The thing that brought life to her eyes were our dogs, the promise to come home and see them again. The speech therapist found she got mom more engaged in therapy when she used photos of dogs.
    Your video is beautiful. I hope your dad continues to find joy with Molly and Roscoe.

  40. This was beautiful, I’m still crying. My dad has late stage Alzheimer’s as well. he is currently in a nursing home as he needs so much help. They have a dog there that belongs to an employee and he loves seeing the dog. Something about animals :) thank you for sharing, it’s a cruel disease but love being able to see some of their old selves come out.

    • Animals are just love, no hassles, warm and loving, making no demands aside from the most basic…we could take a lesson from them!

  41. My Grandmother had dementia and this video brought back many memories of her before the disease took a stranglehold on her. I wish I could have gotten something like this while she was still alive. Your video is a true testament to the power animals have over us and the emotions they bring out. Thank you again for posting the video and I hope your Father is doing well!

  42. My father had dementia and this video brought happy tears to my eyes. It reminded me of the last time I saw my father before the call to come home and say goodbye. The first morning of that visit, my mom wheeled him into the living room and as soon as he saw me, he started crying. I went to him and asked him what was wrong. He said “I know you. I remember you. I don’t always, but this time I do.” It’s one of my most painful, but favorite memories of my dad. The next trip home was to say goodbye and when I got there, he wouldn’t open his eyes or say anything, but when I held his hand and said “Dad, it’s Amy. I’m here and I love you” he smiled. We got the call the next morning he was gone.

  43. Pingback: 9 Videos You Can’t Miss This Week | GossipViews.com

  44. I watched your video and was reminded of how it was with my grandmother. She was the one who always had something to say. She would type letters to me so I would get mail each day while I was away at camp(still have them). She showed her love to me and my family through the many wonderful things she baked. What a blessing I took for granted. She suffered a terrible stroke Thanksgiving of 2004, her husband passed from a broken hip January 2005, she was almost starved to death in a nursing home July 2006. My parents nursed her back from the brink and then I quit my job and moved into her house and tried to care for her. I didn’t know what I was doing, but did the best that I could. I just thought that if she would eat she would come back to the person she used to be. Boy was I wrong! I was lucky if she would say 6 words a day. But there was one time we were watching “Everybody Loves Raymond”, the episode where Raymond and his brother are trying out the new paint sprayer and fighting over it and the mom walks out and gets sprayed with paint. My grandmother burst out laughing! I cried. The moment didn’t last long but it was a moment. Unfortunately, she died 2 days after Xmas 2006, with a little help from morphine. My mom and aunt were both unable to give it to her so I had to and it was the worst 2 days of my life. I still struggle with this today.
    There are so many things I wanted to say, to hear about. I yearned to hear I Love You once more. I am still in her house and sometimes feel her around when I need it. Please hug your mom for me and tell her you love her. Give her a break when she needs it. I found getting out of the house for an hour or so a day helped. My little nephew was the light for grandma. She just lit up when he was around.
    I am so glad that you made this video. People need to see just what this disease does. Please know that I will have your family in my thoughts and prayers and God Bless You and Yours!

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  46. I love your video of your dad and dog. My nana, who was like my mother, also had Alzheimer’s. She lived with us for 4 years and bonded to my dog Maggie. They were inseparable! This video brought back many happy yet painful memories. Oh how I wish I had a video of them! Thank you for sharing them! Blessings to you and your family.

  47. It touches me in so many different ways to watch this clip! My maternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s and she lived until she was 72. She made it all the way to the vegetative state where she had a feeding tube directly to her stomache and had no ability to walk or talk. My mother described it as watching your parent turn into a newborn baby. But my grandmother too felt a connection to our beagle. Although she couldn’t talk at all she would pet and coo at the dog. It was all we would hear from her in term of communication. As a doglover this moves me because now as a grown woman I have a beagle mix and there is an elderly lady in my condo complex who Buster (my dog) simply adores and she has dementia. Animals have a way of bringing out the best in people no matter what age or what circumstance. Enjoy your time with your father. God bless you!

  48. Thank you for the reminder at the end of your video. I would love to hear my father’s voice again. I appreciate you sharing your family and thoughts in such an effective and gentle way.
    How good that you are able to be there for your mother as well as your father as they cope with this part of their lives.

  49. I am fortunate enough not to have witnessed this terrible disease taking any of my loved ones. My mom’s passing was very quick – she had an aneurism, was in a coma for four days then ‘went’ on her own the evening we were told to consider switching off the machines. This clip is too precious for words and I’m really happy for you that you have something this special to look back on. Dogs are truly angels on earth! Love & strength to you and your family xxx

  50. Lisa,

    I was so moved by your video. I cried for almost 10 minutes after it was over, it was just that poignant and sweet. I’m an occupational therapist asst, and my clients are geriatric patients in skilled nursing facilities that are just like your father. I watch people’s father’s and mothers decline every day. My parents are in their 50s but as they age I find myself worrying all the time about the day when they will need the services I provide. I have a little Yorkie that i take to work with me and just as your beautiful video displays, the change, the joy and the light that comes from the patients as they hug and play with her always leaves my co workers and I in tears and amazed. I’m so happy that you were able to capture that for your memories and I just want to say I know how difficult Alzheimer’s must be for your family and I’ll pray for your strength and for your peace of mind as you go through this together. God bless you, your parents and family. And God bless Roscoe. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for reaching out and telling me about your own experiences dealing with aging folks with Alzheimers. It is an incredibly cruel disease, but I’ve been grateful for moments like the one in the video that bring comfort.

      • MI swear he is saying “I’ll take care of You & you’ll take care of me” use your headphones! My mother and our family is going through the same thing. Thanks

  51. thank you for the video. what a blessing and you were there to hear it. i am a caregiver. everyday i struggle. i feel and see the horrible, unexplained, effects of this disease with my clients. once strong, working, loving, people full of memories. a life not to be forgotten! your father may not remember any of it but you do. i hope and pray you hear your fathers voice again. may god keep and watch over you and your family.

  52. I was SO touched and moved by this video!!! It brought back some incredibly wonderful memories of my father in his last stages of Alzheimers!! In my dad’s case, it was his young grandchildren who awakened his spirit. You are SO blessed to have a video of your dad showing his beautiful spirit in that way!! He shows himself to be the kind of man/father who would not journey very far from his wife and daughter! I’m sure he is still right with you, during your good times and bad. God Bless you for sharing this video–it is one of the most touching I’ve ever seen!!!

  53. Thank you for sharing this video. I wish I’d have had some to look back on of my dad. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 52 years of age. We lost him 15 years later. It is amazing to see how love can still break through the barriers that beast of a disease poses. God bless your parents as they fight the fight, that dog who speaks with your dad through love & your family. Thank you again for sharing & brightening so many lives by doing so.

  54. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment. My grandmother had alzheimers, it is a horrible disease. When my elderly neighbor moved into assisted living due to alzheimers, I used to take my toy poodle to visit her… although she’d never particularly been a “dog person,” his presence was like a soothing balm for her. God bless you and your family and pets.

  55. What a beautiful scene!! I was reminded of my mother when she was in late stages of this devastating disease. The ability to touch and feel is so soothing for them. What a gift for your father and your family! Thank you for sharing! I know the road you are on … Creating tributes and memories now are so important.

  56. hi there. my mom, 56, is in late stages as well and your video made me tear up. i know exactly how you feel and i hope you continue to cherish the small but very significant moments. xoxo sending love and hugs

  57. I wish you and your family all the best. It is utterly beautiful to see a little lucidity amongst the haze of Alzheimers. You are a brave family, and a compassionate one too. It is very hard to watch the vitality leave someone you love. The remarkable spirit that Dogs and Humans share with one another is beautiful to see in your video. All the best from a Kiwi. x

  58. Hi Lisa,

    My grandmother just passed away a few weeks ago after being unable to eat because of Alzheimers. It was horrible disease. To watch someone you love slowly not recognize you or even form a sentence is an awful thing. I was one of her care takers for the last few months of her life and the one thing that always helped bring her back was my two dogs. They are little chihuahuas and she used to carry one around the house for hours at a time. She called them her babies and she would just sit there and talk to them for hours. They didn’t mind at all and it brought her happiness. Seeing this video just makes me think of those happy memories of her. Thanks for sharing! Prayers for you and your family.

  59. Lisa, lived your video of your Dad and Roscoe. My beautiful Aunt Darline finally passed away from this horrendous disease last year. It was brutal seeing how she changed. I’m glad your Dad has Roscoe and his own two dogs to comfort him. I had a stroke 16 months ago, and when I came home from the hospital my sweet dogs knew something was different. When I had trouble communicating, and got upset, they always knew, and would come and gently lay their heads in my lap. God created these sweet animals to be our friends and companions, and I believe they are much smarter than humans. May God continue to bless your family, and be your support and strength through this journey.
    Carole Brown Lowery

  60. I just saw your video linked on BuzzFeed – I normally don’t watch videos at work but I just had to this time. What a touching moment and I’m so glad you were able to capture it on film. My family has a long history of Alzheimer’s and you are so right to remember to cherish the moments we have now. Also, aren’t dogs amazing?

    • I am floored by how many places the video is showing up – as one friend said, we’ve started an international conversation about Alzheimers. So glad to you took time to share your thoughts with me.

  61. My mother’s mother had Alzheimer’s from when I was very young. Over the course of twenty years, she lost her memory–which most people think is “all that happens.” Then, she lost her ability to form coherent thoughts, sentences, and words. Towards the end, she couldn’t use utensils to eat and could only use straws. Her husband suffered severe caretaker’s depression trying to look after her.

    The first serious conversation I had with my husband after we got married was a strict instruction: if what happens to Grandma happens to me, you must put yourself first. I will not remember, and I may not be able to function. Do not hesitate to place me in the care of professionals. Never stop loving me, but never ever sacrifice your own mental health if I am not able to understand.

    Alzheimer’s disease is the single worst fear in my family. Our genetics have both cancer and heart disease in the family, but Alzheimer’s is what scares us each the most, simply because we have seen how heart-wrenching it is to love somebody and have memories of holidays, weddings, first days of school, etc. but who have no idea who you are.

    Best of luck to you. Thank God for our animals who love and understand us. Never stop looking for angels.

  62. Pingback: Video: Dad with Alzheimer's Finds His Voice with the Family Dog | Orvis News

  63. Just beautiful. My own father died over 21 years ago in a very different time for Alzheimer’s. My mother too, was heroic. And lived some 20 years after his death.

    Dogs are so accepting. God bless your parents your family and that dog.

  64. Pingback: Elderly man with Alzheimer's can barely speak...until his daughter's dog comes to see him | 22 Words

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