Rescue Journal

experimenting on copy/paste from a facebook page post to here

Carol  ·  Jan. 9, 2015

I wanted to follow up a bit about senior animals in rescue. I am going to make an unpopular statement here but it is true. many of the animals that we take in from seniors who have passed away or gone into care..are in terrible shape when they get here. this is not because their owners were unkind or uncaring or was because their owners were really old and frail, couldn't walk very well, couldn't see very well, could no longer pick up and cuddle the dog or cat, and simply just couldn't see, hear or feel well enough with their declining health that the best friend who they loved so well was not in very good shape. cat litter boxes are sometimes overflowing because they are too weak to bend down and clean them, it is too hard to get out of their apartments and so the dogs start using the carpets to do their business. routine vet checks become a thing of the past and dental disease and other health issues are untreated because it is too hard for the senior person to go to the vets. these animals live in a very quiet home, with few visitors so many times the dogs and cats are not comfortable around strangers and have very poor social skills. many families just pop in and out on grandma or grandpa to take care of basics..they have really busy lives of their own so they turn a bit of a blind eye to the needs of any pets. and when the owners die or go into care having gotten their families to promise to take on the beloved furry friend...the family suddenly realizes the dog is matted and stinks, he pees in the house and he bites and the cat is matted and skinny with brown rotting teeth and is hiding under the bed, peeing and pooping there and refusing to come out. and they look at these old rotting pets that they promised to take on and suddenly they realize...they do not want them!
I took in a shitz named peter 10 years ago...he lived on the lap of a 96 yr old man who loved him and hand fed him bacon every day. peter's matts on his face were so large that they literally were stuck to his eye took the vets hours to soak them off and peter was fully blind from it because they were stuck on his eyeballs for months or years?. my point to this post is not that seniors should not have pets...good lord, sometimes pets are the only friends in the entire world that they have left. BUT elderly people with pets need family or community support...eventually they become too old, sick and frail to care for the pets on their own. so all of us could help our aging neighbors, our families and friends by keeping an eye out for those who need help..not just the animals..but the elderly people who do really love them.



About 15 yrs. ago, the Vancouver SPCA had a volunteer program for helping seniors, shut-ins or temporarily sick people to care for their pets. I had applied to volunteer, but was never given an assignment, and the program shut down soon after; I never could find out why.
Halifax has a program called ElderDog to help senior folks care for their pets.