I watched it happen almost in slow motion.
An elderly woman climbed out of her golf cart, and her medium-sized dog bounded out beside her. But then the dog saw another dog and without looking back, tried to take off, jerking on the leash. The woman held onto the leash, but she fell down. Her injuries were severe enough to require a call to the rescue squad and a trip to the hospital.
A March 2012 New York Times New Old Age blog article, Rethinking the Value of Pets, highlights the dangers of mixing pets and elders, and it contains links to research on pets, people, and accidents. So many pet-related falls occur, that the article quotes Harold Herzog, a professor at Western Carolina University, who comments, “If we were giving a drug that had such serious side effects, we’d consider taking that drug off the market.”
Realistically, people are not going to give up pets. However, more care needs to be taken. Below are a few resources to read, just to keep informed about the potential problems.
- CDC Analysis Tracks Pet-Related Falls and Resulting Injuries – Washington Post
- Preventing Falls Around Pets – Fall Prevention Center for Excellence
- Nonfatal Fall-Related Injuries Associated with Dogs and Cats — United States, 2001–2006 –Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports