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BREAKTHROUGH! Dog Owners Are One Step Ahead

Updated: Apr 9, 2022

an elderly with her dog

“Book me a taxi now!” She angrily exclaimed. Her unwavering stare remained fixed on mine eyes for a few seconds. That stare just said it all. I just knew nothing would change her mind to stay and get assessed by the doctor. She manifested this determination multiple times throughout the few hours she spent under my care in the Emergency Department (E.D).

For those of you who have experience working with the aged ‘you’ll know!’ Are you a carer of an aged person or family member? You’ll know that many seniors are afraid of going to hospital because they believe they could end up been sent to an aged care facility, if there is no other options. Eighty five yrs old and she was so independent. No walking aid, she was alert and quite orientated, cooked for herself and did not want any government home care assistance when I suggested it. You see, it’s the fear of losing independence. So heart breaking! A reality shock for sure! Sadly, as soon as she arrived in E.D she was already anxiously preparing her exit.

“Book me a taxi now!” She demanded. “We will, as soon as you see the doctor.” I responded. She had gone to see the GP that morning but was not able to as they were too busy. Hence GP called paramedics who brought her in to E.D. We needed to make sure it was safe before sending her back home.

“I don’t need to see the doctor! You needed to this morning, I explained. Many of the staff members tried to convince her to wait . We exhausted every avenue but she was adamant to leave. Boy was she hard to negotiate with. There was no turning back!

“When you are not looking I’ll leave!” she said. It was so loud that we all heard it. Silence suddenly started crawling around the department. It was at that moment when it all started.

“Do you have a dog?” I asked. “Yes, I do,” she happily replied. The Christmas lights lit up as if I had just spoken of her only love. Wow, I had just hit a breakthrough. I couldn’t believe it!

Having a dog creates a new dimension in negotiation. Research has discovered that your own dog can help improve your negotiations with others.

Just by asking, 'do you have a dog?

This gorgeous eighty yrs old lady started to smile at me and eased her position. Without losing the momentum I asked her one last time to wait. She responded by saying, “ok I’ll wait because I like you and because you have a dog.”

“To explore how pets help people form social connections, researchers from the University of Western Australia, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition surveyed nearly 2,700 men and women in four cities: Perth, Australia; San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; and Nashville, Tennessee.”

They discovered that “being a pet owner was the third most common way that survey respondents said they met people in their neighbourhoods. (No. 1 was by being neighbors; no. 2 was by using local streets and parks.)”

Furthermore, “pet owners were 60% more likely than non–pet owners to get to know people in their neighborhoods they hadn’t known before.” Dogs can be good ice-breakers, making it easy for humans to start conversations.

At the end of it all this eighty five year old lady ended up been discharged home safely and all thanks to a man’s best friend.

“I like you because you have a dog”

Alejandra Lopez B.N. Western Sydney University, MA Management (Nurs) Newcastle University.



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