My mother-in-law was totally distraught at the death of her much loved dog. A very loving person with a strong maternal instinct she found it incredibly difficult to function without her pet which had brought affection and structure to her daily life. I jokingly said to my husband that if she didn’t get another dog, he may have to move back home!
Apparently I had struck a nerve as my mother-in-law had indeed acquired her first yorkie just over 32 years ago as an empty-nester when my husband and his brother had both left home.
It seems she’s not alone. A friend often jokes about her ‘menopausal dog’, nicknamed as such because the dog became an addition to her family at the same time she became an empty nester. Apparently her very pampered pooch gets away with far worse behaviour than her children ever did!
Having a pet can help fill the void felt by many empty nesters , with health benefits associated such as increased exercise with dog walking, reducing stress, new opportunities to socialise at puppy training classes and adoring eyes looking at you with unconditional love when you walk through the door.
Pet ownership can certainly fill the need to feel needed.
The downside may involve lack of spontaneity as caring for any pet requires planning- this may be difficult if you have grown accustomed to coming and going as you please!
Any my mother-in-law? She and her new Yorkie are both very happy and doing well!