Giving someone--anyone--a pet as a surprise gift is just a bad idea all around. Even if they desperately want companionship, the burden of training, feeding, walking and seeking medical care for a pet is cumbersome--and even more so for aging people who face challenges taking care of themselves, let alone an animal that is completely dependent on their care.
Joy for All, with their tagline "No Vet Bills, Just Love," sells companion pet cats and dogs that look, feel, and sound like real animals. Built in sensors and speakers allow them to respond to motion and touch with lifelike purrs, meows, and woofs. While the current models are limited to playful and cuddly company, manufacturer Hasbro Toys intends to add AI to assist elderly adults with skills like medication reminders an finding lost objects--and they just received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to work in partnership with Brown University for R&D.
With a price point between $99-119, cat lovers can choose between an Orange Tabby, Silver with White Mitts, or Tuxedo, while dog lovers have a wiggly Golden Pup.