Senior Pomeranian Helps Son Reconnect with his Mother

Erick’s mother was diagnosed with dementia, which made it challenging to connect. But an adopted dog, Colby, helped bring them together.

Erick + Colby

An adopted Pomeranian named Colby helped Erick reconnect with his mother, who was living with dementia. Colby’s warmth and love helped bring Erick closer to his mother and truly enjoy and appreciate their final days together.

"One day, I decided to bring Colby with me during a visit and that’s when everything changed for the better. My mother’s face lit up and she became happy and animated. Her transformation was magical! "

This is the story of how my senior Pomeranian, Colby, brought joy and happiness to my elderly mother who had been suffering from a severe case of dementia. It’s also the story of how Colby helped bring me closer to my mother and allowed us to truly enjoy and appreciate her final days together.

As a bit of background, I adopted Colby four years ago after he lived his first nine years with 40 other dogs in an illegal breeding operation. Despite his prior life of hardship, he was still a sweet and happy boy who trusted others and loved to be held like a baby.

About that same time, my mother developed dementia. Her condition worsened to the point where it was no longer safe for her to remain at home due to her cognitive and physical incapacity. At that point, it was necessary for her to move to an assisted living facility. The change in environment was not easy for her and it was made worse because she missed her own dog who’d recently passed away. As the illness progressed, she had difficulty communicating with others (forgetting words and people) and she slowly started withdrawing and stopped engaging with other people. She was sad and lonely, and I was unable to relieve her anguish. It was heartbreaking, and it made every visit somewhat challenging and uncomfortable.

One day, I decided to bring Colby with me during a visit and that’s when everything changed for the better. My mother’s face lit up and she became happy and animated. Her transformation was magical! Colby’s presence somehow awakened a part of her soul that had been dormant for months. She gently stroked Colby’s fur, cradling him in her lap. She had the biggest smile I’d seen in years! My mother loved having Colby there and he loved the attention.

Now, rather than sitting in silence like prior visits, my mother became more talkative, inquisitive, and engaged. We sat and talked for hours; it was almost like old times (pre-dementia). It had been a while since I had seen her this happy and it meant the world to me! And for a little while, I had my mother back—and she remembered what it was like to enjoy the company of a dog. 

That day I learned that Colby was an important part of every visit. Not only did my mother enjoy his company, but the staff and other residents loved seeing his cute face and silly behavior, too. It was a joy for me to watch my mother brag about Colby to anyone who would listen.

Sadly, my mother passed away last year but I am fortunate to have had so many happy visits with her and Colby over the years. Not only were our visits more fun and happy with Colby, the frequency of my visits increased after Colby entered the equation. 

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Erick won Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco, California a 2021 Love Stories award.