New breed of grandparents fawn over grandpuppies

In Lake County, Calif., Norma Wolf encourages the sort of surrogate grandmother role with her daughter's two dogs.
CBS News

It's one thing for a dog to be man's best friend. But a growing number of baby boomers are taking puppy love to a whole new level. Some parents, anxiously awaiting the day when they become grandparents, are showering affection on their children's pets. They're known as grandpuppies.

Denise Dellisanti considers herself the perfect grandma. Never mind the fact that she spoils her little one with trips to Pet Smart. While she doesn't have any human grandchildren, Dellisanti has all of a grandmother's love for 7-year-old Hercules

"He's not my grandchild," Dellisanti says. "But he's my grandpup." Pictures of Hercules not only adorn her mantle, but also her T-shirt.

Dellisanti wants grandchildren, and says she's pressured her daughter Diantha to have kids, "Even before she was married."

Nationwide - many women are waiting longer to have kids. Birth rates for young women are the lowest since the 1940s, when America started keeping track.

"There are more households now with dogs than there are with children," says pet behavioral expert Sarah Wilson. "People are getting married later - they're having children later and grandparents are waiting longer to be grandparents. They see the incredible attachment their children have to the dog and they respond."

Watch Seth Doane's full report in the video above.