September 16, 2021

Veterinarian Daily News

Veterinarian Daily News

Elderly man’s plea for a dog to cuddle in lockdown tugs hearts across the nation

3 min read

It looks like an insignificant piece of paper tucked between a wall of clues in a supermarket, but Kelvin Hill’s plea for a dog to cuddle up holds the hearts of the nation.

The 87-year-old Canterbury man wrote a simple note asking for a small or medium-sized dog to give “lots of love and cuddles” after Harry, his loyal dog of 16 years, died.

Hill lives alone in lockdown and has felt lonely without his canine companion, especially since he cannot see his partner, who has been on dementia care in Christchurch for the past two years.

Hill had a set routine while he had Harry the Bichon Frize by his side.

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Kelvin Hill is lonely over the lockdown after his 16-year-old dog Harry dies.

ALDEN WILLIAMS / stuff

Kelvin Hill is lonely because of the lockdown after his 16-year-old dog Harry dies.

Harry slept in his bed every night and sat next to him on the couch while they watched their favorite TV shows together.

But Harry suffered from oral cancer and died three weeks ago, leaving Hill lost during that final national lockdown and desperate for another canine companion.

“We had a lot of time together,” said Hill.

“I’ve never been lonely. He just sat there and looked at me with those big brown eyes. “

Hill on happier days with his beloved dog Harry.

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Hill on happier days with his beloved dog Harry.

His notice on the bulletin board at Countdown Kaiapoi circulated on social media over the weekend and resulted in multiple calls from locals offering him dogs.

Hill said he just wanted a sociable male who was house trained.

Hill wasn’t someone to publicly share his life and was amazed and delighted with the response to his message, hoping it would lead to another dog to share his couch and bed with.

Hill is looking for a new canine companion.

Georgia Buckley

Hill is looking for a new canine companion.

Outside of lockdown, Hill usually visited his partner twice a week and found the breakup difficult as it worsened.

“That is the difficulty of the lockdown.”

Researchers have long studied the important relationships between pets and their owners, and how they can affect health and happiness.

American researchers Michael Dotson and Eva Hyatt found that animal community is an essential aspect of life in 70 million households in the United States.

Hill's partner Margaret Start with her old dog Harry.  Hill cannot visit Start during lockdown as she is on dementia care.

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Hill’s partner Margaret Start with her old dog Harry. Hill cannot visit Start during lockdown as she is on dementia care.

The researchers found that owning pets not only provided emotional benefits, but also improved physical and mental health. Other studies have shown that pet ownership reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and helps prevent heart disease and depression.

“Many pet owners know that there is much more to the special animal-human relationship,” they said.

A 1986 study by CM Brickel suggested that animals were “a very reliable association in a person’s life” that was “more consistent and reliable” than a relationship between people.

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