Pets make a nursing home a place worth living

Quick, name one thing that would make your loved one more able to cope with living in a nursing home. If you said, "having a pet with him," then you'll want to keep reading.

When my father entered a nursing home 4 years ago, I had a recurrent fantasy. I would adopt a small, elderly dog - something about the size of a Pomeranian - and move it into his room, accompanied by a litter box. I would have been willing to go in everyday to change the litter. That's how much of a difference an old dog would have made for my old father in those last lonely years of his life. A dog on his lap in the wheelchair, sharing his meals from the tray, sleeping next to him through the night - would have made his life worth living.