Firstly, I was hoping to add a new video to this blog - but due to some problem or other, I have not been able to. Luckily, you can see it on my Facebook page.
You know those days when you get an idea, and the genius of it's simplicity - and the simplicity of it's genius - almost knocks you off your feet? I had one of those days today. I was merrily working away, printing labels for some stock that we want built in June when WHAM! the five digits of idea, inspiration, simplicity, practicality, and feasibility made a fist, and punched me squarely in the face.
I'll start the component parts of this idea, and you can see if you can guess where I am going with this.
Firstly, Care Homes. The places where many of our parent and grandparents spend the twilight of their years. I am not an expert on these places, and I don't presume to be. Also I am sure that standards of care and living in these homes have improved immeasurably within the last 10 to 15 years. Nonetheless, from what I have seen from the media, Care Homes do not appear to be very happy places - especially for the residents. Of course much of this is down to confusion and bewilderment brought on by unfamiliar surroundings and various mental and physical conditions. I would not be happy at all if I had to leave the house I had lived in for a long time, to go and live in a strange place full of strangers. I imagine that depression is rife in Care Homes.
Secondly - Dogs, the down side. As lovely as they are, dogs can be a restriction - especially when it comes to holidays. Your options are to either have someone stay with the dog, or pop in and feed it, walk it etc. every day - or you can put your dog in a Kennel for the time you are away. This can be expensive, as it can cost anywhere between £15 and £50 per day to keep your dog in a Kennel. So if you go away for a fortnight, you might have to fork out £700 to keep your dog looked after.
Thirdly - Dogs, the good side. Owning a dog has proven health benefits. Stroking a dog can ease stress, and releases endorphins which makes you feel good (chocolate does the same thing, but you don't gain weight with dogs). On average, dog owners have lower Cholesterol, and live longer. Dog owners that undergo surgery recover better and faster than non dog owners
So, do you know where I'm going with this? Quite simply - why no leave your dog with a Care Home while you go on holiday? Think of the benefits: Your dog will have lots of company, rather than spend a lot of time looking out from a strange cage or pen in relative isolation. It will get lots of attention. It will be a lot cheaper to let the Care Home look after your dog while you are away - I would guess at least 50% cheaper. All you would have to do is give the Care Home enough of your dogs food to last it - care homes have staff there 24 hours a day, so there would always be someone with the dog.
And of course, there are the benefits for the residents. As mentioned above, having a dog is good for you physically and emotionally - so think of the happiness it would bring to the residents who are perhaps struggling in new surroundings, or those who haven't been visited in a while. A wagging tail can (in my mind) brighten any day, soften any blow, dry any tear, and go a long way to healing a broken heart. Dogs only know how to give love in my opinion, and I think there are not many better places where a bit of love wouldn't be more appreciated than in a Care Home.
Of course there would be details to sort out - the dogs must be people friendly, house trained (although I'm fairly sure that there is plenty of poo and wee in Care Homes already), and vaccinated. Obviously, not all size of dogs will be suitable, but the smaller lap dog type breeds would be ideal.