After 30 years of rescuing animals, you learn to rely on tried and true methods to get your shelter animals into Forever Homes. Some of the most reliable ways to market the homeless animals in your care are Petfinder, Facebook and other social media, along with adoption events at supporting businesses like Feeders Supply and PetSmart. These methods are fairly successful, but every now and then we have to think outside the box, especially when you’re dealing with many elderly and special needs animals.
Over the years I’ve met so many senior citizens who would love the companionship of a pet in their home, but their concerns are very real. Most of these folks have had many pets over the years, but their number one concern is that they don’t want their pet to outlive them, with nowhere to go if the pet parents move into Assisted Living, into nursing homes or pass away.
Many seniors are on a fixed income. I hear this almost daily, and pets–especially older and Special Needs animals can be costly.
All these concerns are valid. Maybe we can help settle some of these apprehensions of caring for a pet in one’s “Golden Years”. Here are some solutions:
The Animal Refuge Center is proposing a program called Seniors For Seniors where an elderly or Special Needs animal is placed into the care of a loving Senior Citizen. We are not proposing adoption, but instead long-term foster care. Above right is Cowboy, an FIV (Feline Aids) positive kitty with his new foster parents. Cowboy will stay with this family forever, unless he is adopted into another permanent home.
This foster arrangement allows us to take another cat out of our FIV Positive room and place him into a loving home. These agreements state that we take care of the veterinary bills for those animals, and if something should happen to the foster parents, then the animal comes back to ARC.
We have many cats that just need a loving, safe spot to lay their head, and there are so many people that need the companionship of a pet. We know that pets can relieve stress and reduce high blood pressure, not to mention just the feeling of unconditional love that a pet provides.
Every elderly person who can feed, water and scoop a litter box should be able to give love to an animal and have that love reciprocated tenfold.
If you are, or you know someone who would like to have an animal in their care, please let us know by calling us at 270-877-6064.
Now there are several Assisted Living Programs that allow the elderly to have a pet in their apartments, so I want to reach out to our local programs to see if it’s possible, and what the restrictions are. Maybe we would be able to place some of our elderly and Special Needs pets into these programs.
Several years ago we used to visit nursing homes with our pets and offer Pet Therapy. You could see the faces of the residents light up when they spoke with us of their dear four-legged friends of the past.
It’s just my opinion, but if you can enrich the lives of people in their Golden Years…why not? For every pet we place into long-term foster care, there are still more out on the streets in need of our lifesaving services. Placing more pets into loving homes and providing the love so many of our elders need sounds like a winning situation. Contact us today and you can meet the new love of your life. –Penny Edwards