Are you ever too old to get a dog? Matchmaker tells GMB ‘selfish’ elderly people ‘don’t have the energy’ to look after pets, but Jan Leeming, 79, argues they offer ‘companionship’
- Novelist Jilly Cooper came under fire after saying she wants another dog age 84
- Jan Leeming, 79, appeared on GMB and said dogs are a lifeline for the elderly
- Lara Asprey argued the elderly don’t have the energy needed to look after a dog
A woman has sparked a heated debate after arguing that the elderly are ‘selfish’ if they get a dog because they don’t have the energy to look after it.
After novelist Jilly Cooper recently came under fire after saying she wants another dog age 84, Good Morning Britain hosts Adil Ray and Susanna Reid asked: ‘Are you ever too old to get a dog or is age irrelevant when there’s tens of thousands of unwanted dogs needing a good home?’
Appearing on ITV show, ex-newsreader Jan Leeming, 79, who owns two dogs, argued they are a lifeline for the elderly, while matchmaker Lara Asprey said the elderly don’t have the energy needed to look after a pooch.
‘When my grandfather (who was in his eighties) was in a retirement home, his last wish was to get a dog and we had to gather around and say “look, who is going to walk it?’ she explained. ‘How are you going to look after it and what happens if you ever need to go to hospital?’
‘You have to be careful about taking a dog on when you’re in the later stages of life. You need to be considerate to the dog – it needs to have a home he can live in for its life, too.’
Ex-newsreader Jan Leeming, 79, who owns two dogs, argued they are a lifeline for the elderly (pictured)
When asked what her cut off age would be, Lara continued: ‘I don’t think it’s about a specific age, I just think it’s about a sense of responsibility. As you get older, things start to get a little creakier.
Although I understand they can be good for exercise and dogs can be amazing companions, I don’t see why they need to have a dog as a sole responsibility?’
She went on to suggest the elderly could share a dog, adding that there’s also lots of websites where you can borrow a dog.
‘Or just have an arrangement with a family member and say, “if anything happens to me, will you be its guardian?” Otherwise I think it’s unfair on the dogs and a bit selfish.’
However, Jan Leeming disagreed and argued there there’s lots of important issues in the debate – including one’s health.
Lara Asprey said the elderly don’t have the energy needed to look after a dog (pictured)
Novelist Jilly Cooper (pictured in 2012 at her home with greyhounds Bluebell and Feather) came under fire after saying she wants another dog age 84
The Good Morning Britain guests debated: ‘Are you ever too old to get a dog or is age irrelevant when there’s tens of thousands of unwanted dogs needing a good home?’ (pictured)
‘I’m fortunate I’ll be 80 in January,’ she said. ‘I’ve always had dogs and I’ve tailored my dogs to my ability. I’ve always had standard Poodles that require a lot of walking. I’m fortunate I’m fit.
Rescues are or can be, breed-specific. They make intensive investigations into the home they’re going into and whether it’s safe.’
‘I have them because I love dogs. I’ve got two dogs and I think to say it’s selfish, come on! You can take on a dog at 30 and you can have a baby at 30, but sadly you might pass away. So I think that’s being a bit narrow.’
She continued: ‘I had a friend who died at 103. She always had Shelties and at 60 she said, “I’m too old to have anymore.”
Just think she could’ve had two lots of dogs and given them a loving home. I think it’s to do with you physical ability.’
Adil Ray (pictured, left) asked Jan whether she’s ever had days where she didn’t feel up to walking her dogs
Taking to the comments section, one person commented: ‘How can you put an age restriction on having a dog? As long as you look after the dog what’s the problem?’ (pictured)
Adil went on to ask Jan whether she’s ever had days where she didn’t feel up to walking her dogs.
Laughing, she replied: ‘The only reason I think “oh dear” is the bad weather! I love walking the dog and I must admit, if I didn’t have them I wouldn’t walk in windy, wet damp weather – but I have to. They don’t require a lot of exercise but it’s not fair for me not to.
I’m fortunate I’m fit and the companionship they gave me and friends of mine during lockdown because you could take them for a walk, you’re giving him a home and they’re giving you love.’
And many viewers were quick to take to social media in agreement with Jan.
‘How can you put an age restriction on having a dog? As long as you look after the dog what’s the problem?’ asked one, while a second penned: ‘The people who are complaining about Jilly cooper owning a dog get a life.’
A third noted: ‘Surely it’s better than dogs being put down because no one wants them and they keep people company in old-age and for some keep them fit taking the dogs for a walk?’
Elsewhere, a fourth wrote: ‘What’s this about being too old for a dog ? My amazing gran had her much-loved one until 87! People are so judgmental & ageist.’
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