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Old 07-20-2012, 10:28 AM   #1
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Downes Syndrome Adult and pet care

I volunteer with a small dog rescue group and recently did a home visit for a family whose adult daughter was described as a high functioning Downes individual. The daughter's role would be walking the dog several times a day and in essence providing the majority of the pet's care. The dog would be her friend and companion.
My experience with Downes Syndrome individuals has been minimal. I have witnessed outbursts of aggressiveness in Downes children over the years that would make me think a small dog would not be safe in their care. During the home visit, I did witness the young woman grow impatient when the rescue dog exhibited playful behavior that did not conform to her wishes. She quickly lost interest and dropped the leash to the ground which could have caused a reactive dog to run away.
Her father said his daughter works and is able to be left alone when the parents travel. The daughter did not participate in the interview process as the dad and mom took charge. Please someone who is much better informed, do you think I would be mistaken to not support a rescue dog going to this family. Many thanks for any insight you might provide.

 
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
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Re: Downes Syndrome Adult and pet care

I personally do not think it would be a good idea only because of the fact that the daughter may be left alone to care for this dog and she herself no matter how high functioning is still someone that truly may need supervision herself. From what I have been advised regarding Down Syndrome individuals is that they cannot adapt to situations that are not learned.

 
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:15 PM   #3
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Re: Downes Syndrome Adult and pet care

People with Down Syndrome are very much like other people. They have different temperments and personality traits. I have known some to be very gentle with animals, and they understand that an animal needs to be cared for. But, some people with Down Syndrome may not be suited to care for a small animal. It just depends on the individual and situation. In the same way, some people WITHOUT Down Syndrome aren't suited to care for animals. I wouldn't leave my dog with some people I know. Some people may do good with a very well trained animal, and they can learn to care for it very well especially if someone takes the time to train the person how to do so. From my experience, they can adapt to situations, but I think that, if anything, they may lack discernment sometimes; for example, they may think its OK to let someone they just meet watch their dog, because for the most part, they are very trusting, beautiful individuals. So these scenarios would all need to be discussed and dealt with. The person you described sounds like she is not able to make her own decisions if her parents were the ones that did the interview, so she may need supervision, but you may find another individual with Downs to be perfectly fine if they are doing things for themselves more independently. Little yappy dogs might not do as well with certain temperments as would say, for example, a big, patient St Bernard or older retriever type dog. But then again, it depends on the person. The degree of disability does play into it. Just for the record, only about 10% of people with Down Syndrome are severely impaired, the rest have minimal to moderate impairment, but are judged harshly by their appearance and their speech, and are often not given a chance to be able to prove what they are truly capable of, which in most cases, is a lot.
Best wishes, K.

 
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