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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Huelat

Klynka's Story: How I Helped My Human with Dementia

We got our little dog Klynka when my husband, Joe, was still healthy. Klynka would often go to the office with us. She was a great companion, and she always made us laugh.

Klynka became Joe's best buddy. She was always there for him, whether he was feeling happy or sad, confused or clear-headed. She provided him with companionship, comfort, and a sense of purpose. She also helped to reduce his stress and anxiety, which can worsen the symptoms of dementia. I'll turn the story over to Klynka. Go, girl!!

"Hi, I'm Klynka, a small dog with a big heart. Joe and Barbara named me after a Russian folk song that Joe used to play on his violin. It's fitting that my name is a song about a snowball tree. Snowball trees are beautiful and delicate, and they symbolize new beginnings.

This is my story that I'm so glad to share with you. It's a reminder of the power that "we pets," dogs, cats, and even bunnies, can bring comfort and support to our humans with dementia.

My master was an architect, and before Joe became ill with dementia, I was often allowed to go with him to the construction site. I was a well-behaved dog and loved being around people, especially Joe. I was always happy to see new faces and loved to play with the construction workers.

I was with my humans, Joe, and Barbara, for 17 years. We've been through a lot together, but one of the most important things is how I've helped them cope with his dementia.

When Joe was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he was confused and scared. He didn't know what was happening to him, and he didn't know how to deal with it. I was there for him every step of the way, offering him comfort and support. I would always sit by his side when he was feeling down, and I would constantly lick his face when he was feeling happy.

I also helped Joe to stay active and engaged. I would take him for walks in the park, and we would play fetch with the most giant stick I could find. Joe loved spending time with me, which helped him stay energetic.

Most importantly, I was always there for Joe when he needed me. When he felt lost or confused, I would just be there for him, and he would know everything would be okay.

When Joe's dementia progressed to the point where he needed hospice care, I was with him. I stayed by his side the whole time, curled up on his bed. I was there when he took his last breath, and I know that he was comforted by my presence.

I'm so grateful I could be with Joe until the end. I know I helped him live a full and happy life, and I'm proud of that. I'm so grateful that I could be there for Joe during his journey with dementia.

I hope my story inspires you to consider getting a pet for someone you love with dementia. We can make a real difference in the lives of our humans with dementia, and I'm so glad that I was able to be that difference for Joe."

I think it's important to remember that pets can provide comfort and support to people with dementia, even in the end. They can help ease the pain and suffering and offer a sense of companionship and love. If you are considering getting a pet for a loved one with dementia, I encourage you to do so. It could make a real difference in their life. Klynka was a true gift to Joe. She helped him to cope with the challenges of dementia, and she brought him so much happiness. I am so grateful that we had her in our lives.

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Aug 25, 2023

Beautiful story, Barbara. Pets are a source of comfort for people of all ages and abilities. My mother suffered from Alzheimer's for 13 years before passing in September 2020 at age 87, so I can relate to the experiences and insights you're sharing in this blog. My father was Mom's caregiver until the very end. You might be interested in seeing/sharing his "Caregiver Vows," which can be found here:

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