by Marie-France Prayal 

Del is my mother-in-law.  I have known her now for over 25 years.  One thing I could sayabout our relationship was « the more dogs I had ; the worse the relationship ».   She hated my dogs, but only my dogs.  She liked everyone else’s but mine. You can well understand that she was not really welcomed where we lived in peace with all our 4-legged friends.

Last September, we had to make a decision. She was diagnosed  with dementia and could no longer live by herself.   As we have a big home, we persuaded her to come live with us in a newly renovated upstairs with her own bedroom, bathroom and a nice sitting room with her TV.  During the day, she joins us for meals, watches the birds at their feeders outside the breakfast counter window, plays her piano and is slowly adjusting to a new way of living.

Of course, she had to accept to share her space with the « dogs ».  They are everywhere and this was a big concern for me. Would I have to choose between Del and my dogs ?  NO !  Somewhere there is a benevolent Being  that shines down on Mothers-in-law and dogs! 


After 5 months, I can now say that she loves my dogs and they an important part of her life, keeping her busy,and above all, giving her much needed love and attention.  On a typical day :

  • She fills all the water bowls.
  • She counts how many dogs there are in the house.
  • She asks over and over again if they are hungry, when was their last meal and, if she can give them some food.
  • She helps me with the grooming !!!!!  cuddling one when I am drying another.
  • Continually asking  who is this one and that one as she cannot remember their names from one hour to the next.  Some names are too difficult for her, so  I change a Druhna to a BaBa.
  • Knowing males from females  is one of the greatest challenges even for us sometimes.
  • At the end of supper, she can be totally taken by a very long and innocent stare from friends around her chair that will motivate her to share what’s left.
  • AND yes, she cleans up little accidents that happen from time to time.


Gaia, one of our PONs, had a litter 2 weeks ago.  More excitement for Del!  She goes to see  and talk to them many times during the day.  She enquires regularly about their health, how many and wants to hold them.  Of course, she fills the water dish and checks the food.

What a différence!  As time goes on, I can tell she is happy with my dogs and they are her friends.  They keep her busy and she loves to talk about how they are nice and beautiful.

 In Woodville, West Hants Nova Scotia,  zootherapy is working very well!



Polana Cotons & Pons

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