Pets bring love and joy to any household, especially those of senior citizens. If you’re enjoying retired life, but could use a companion — it might be a great time to adopt a dog!
That’s where the Pets Alive Seniors for Seniors program comes in. Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary is a no-kill shelter in Wallkill, NY. The Seniors for Seniors program is run in conjunction with New York’s Orange County’s Office for the Aging. The goal of the program is to pair elder pets with senior citizens through a foster program that endeavors to match the right pooch to the right person.
Best Friends Found
Take Pooh Bear, a 13-year-old Pomeranian mix who was orphaned after his former owner passed away. When shelters refused to take him due to his old age, Pets Alive stepped in and offered him a new beginning. They entered poor Pooh Bear into the Seniors for Seniors program where he met his new foster mom, Elaine Cullam, at a meet-and-greet on Senior Independence Day at Montgomery Town Hall.
Elaine and Pooh Bear are very compatible thanks to the diligence that goes into each human/animal match. Vera Lawlor, a representative from Pets Alive and Toni Nekvapil, case manager for the Office of the Aging, work together to ensure the that each person and pet find their perfect companion.
For instance, before Elaine could formally foster Pooh Bear, they had to make sure that she was capable of caring for the pup and that her home was a suitable place for Poor Bear to live out his days.
Heartwarming and Heart-Healthy
The dogs in the Seniors for Seniors program are 8-years and older, while cats are 10 and up. Older pets don’t have the same amount of energy as they once did, and don’t require as much exercise as a puppy or kitten — making them the purrfect companion for a senior citizen! In fact, studies have shown that dogs lower the blood pressure of older adults, and increase lifespan.
People can foster each pet for up to a year, with food and supplies provided to them by Pets Alive. If the animal is adopted, the shelter will waive the adoption fee.
Post adoption, if a senior needs help to afford food for their new companion, the Pet Chow Pantry — another program between the Office for the Aging and Pets Alive — is able to provide food.