Program Helps Seniors Adopt And Keep Their Pets During The Pandemic

All dogs deserve loving and happy homes where they can live out their lives. For the lucky ones, they have a family that loves them and cares for them. Unfortunately, not every dog has a family that cares for them. Many that don’t have a place to call home end up all alone in shelters. What is even sadder is that many of these pets will end up spending the duration of their lives on their own. But there are lots of pets out there in need of homes. And there is one organization, the Pets for the Elderly, who is doing their part in order to make sure that senior citizens are able to keep up with care for their pets.

The organization was founded back in 1992. They recently announced that their grant program would be broadening to include animal care assistance for certain shelters. This will help senior citizens who are aged 60 and older, to be able to afford the costs of vet appointments, food, and grooming. They also provide in-home visits where pets and their owners get checked in on. 

Since the founding of the organization, they have been able to assist almost 100,000 seniors nationwide foot the bills for their pet adoption fees. The executive director, Susan Kurowski, pointed out the importance of helping seniors connect with pets – particularly now during the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kurowski explained to Today, “Now, especially with COVID, bridging this whole isolation gap with companionship is going to show — when we look back — as being key to so many people’s mental wellness. And you don’t have to live alone to feel isolated.”

In addition, she added that senior adults are more likely to experience positive benefits from having someone, like a pet, rely on them. It forces older people to keep up with a routine, it gives them a sense of purpose, and it can even get them to take their own vitamins and medications because they have someone who is relying on them to stay healthy. 

Pat Smith, a resident of Michigan, adopted her dog, Brady through a local shelter that was participating in the Pets for the Elderly scheme, and she ended up qualifying for a discount. As Smith said to Today, her new pup has helped her become more active.

The 71-year-old said, “He’s a wonderful companion. He’s very active, but he really is my best buddy. No matter where I go in my house, he follows me. He’s a real comfort to me.”

The older woman also added that “everybody should have a pet,” a sentiment that I’m sure we can all agree with. At any age, a pet definitely brings a wonderful sense of love and fulfillment to your life. 

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