Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?  Yes, for a six year old dog. No, for a hubby with Alzheimer's.

In our 13 years of marriage, we have always had a Maltese male dog. The first was Woofii. After Woofii had to be put to sleep, I googled Florida Maltese breeders and five days later we got Ziggy when he was a young puppy. Dogs are so good for anyone, especially for family with Alzheimer's. Ziggy is so attentive to hubby.

Several months ago I moved a chair to the bedroom that used to be in the living room for safety since hubby had fallen out of bed one morning. When it was in the living room,  Woofii used that chair to jump up on the parson's table by the front window. When we first had Ziggy, he would do that also according to HERE. But hubby is concerned that Ziggy needs to do that more now as Woofii used to do so that when we go out Ziggy will be waiting at the window when we come home like Woofii did. We apparently can't keep this chair in the master bedroom.

Now back in
living room
So upon hubby's insistence we had to move the same chair back to the living room. That chair is now by the front window so Ziggy can jump up on the front table as in hubby's long-term memory. With a little bit of reinforcement six year old Ziggy again jumps up on that parson's table by the front window. For hubby's safety, another chair is now by his side on that bed.

Seventy-five year old husbands with Alzheimer's are not so easily trained. Even the long-term memory becomes distorted. Jake and hubby have all sorts of "memories" that Sally and I cannot confirm. Hubby will often check on his memories, however, and then he innocently says to me, "Oh that's right!" (Not that I even remember everything on this blog. I had to go back to 3/21/09 to read that Ziggy once did jump up on that parson's table by himself.)

Short-term memory. Ever since 2000 when I married my husband and came to love his church and his dog Woofii,  there has been a search for the perfect property for our church and the seminary connected with it.  Every time our pastor would announce we had a possible site, land or building to purchase, hubby and I would go there to check it out. I would take pictures and often send them around by email to church members. New property for our church was one of our interests. Finally, it looks like we have that property and hubby and I have been there three times. The last time was yesterday because he had not remembered the two other times. We were actually able to go inside of the building yesterday. I took digital pictures and two of them have hubby in them.

When we came home last night, alas! Hubby had forgotten that he had been by that property yesterday. I created a slide show on my wonderful new Apple computer to show him pictures. His short-term memory is indeed leaving him.

Not to insult my hubby, 
but you can train a dog easier than a hubby. 


  1. Hi Carol!

    My name is Esther and I am with an organization called Caring Across Generations – we are a movement of caregivers and family members who are coming together to change our nation's culture around aging and caregiving. I have been reading your blog and I think that you have a beautiful story to share.

    I wanted to ask if you would partner with Caring Across for our upcoming Grandparents Day campaign (Grandparents Day will be on Sunday, September 8). Through this campaign, we hope to honor and celebrate grandparents and to facilitate cultural change that will enable families to open up the conversation around aging and care.

    We are relying on grandparents and caregivers like you to help us spread the word about Grandparents Day and to share your own stories with us. Between August 22 and September 8, we would like to ask you to:

    Write a blog post about your grandparent, or about your experience as a grandparent. Possible topics are: a fond memory or a funny story about your grandparent, or lessons and advice from grandparents to their children or grandchildren.
    • Please send me an email at esther@caringacrossgenerations.org when you publish your GP Day blog post so that I can make sure to share it on the Caring Across website!

    Tweet or post on Facebook using the hashtag #granecdote. We hope to collect thousands of stories about grandparents by tracking the #granecdote hashtag. Here are some sample tweets/posts:
    • Just sent a postcard to grandma for #GrandparentsDay for free! Create & send your personalized card at caringacross.org/gpday!
    • [Insert story about or advice from grandparent] #granecdote Share yours at caringacross.org/gpday!

    We will happily share your blog post and #granecdotes through Caring Across' social media channels, as well as host your blog post on our site!

    To learn more about us, check out the Caring Across website and facebook page. Our Grandparents Day landing page (caringacross.org/gpday) will launch on August 22nd. Please feel free to reach out with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you and collaborating for Grandparents Day!


    1. Dear Esther,

      Thanks for the honor of contacting me and asking me to contribute. I really want the younger generation (and everyone for that matter) to understand more about Alzheimer's and truly caring for the older generation. I accept the challenge of writing for you.


  2. Well, I coulda told you that YEARS ago. ;)

    1. Looks like your hubby is training you on school choice. Way to go, Joe! My hubby keeps training me on what works and what doesn't work.

      Love it when you write here!