What is the one thing that is common between dogs and seniors? They want love and someone to share their time with.
And as the famous saying goes, “perfect companions have four feet.” OK, I might’ve made that one up. But it’s true!
According to the 2016 Population Census, 14.5 per cent of Maple Ridge and 15.8 per cent of Pitt Meadows total population is 65 years and over so, naturally sometimes seniors in the region need assistance especially when it comes to taking care of their dogs.
This is where ElderDog steps in.
An organization built on the belief that a dog is important in a household, they support seniors with a variety of services such as dog walking, a trip to the pet store or veterinary clinic and more.
But most importantly, when a senior needs to go to the hospital for a medical procedure or their health is impacted, ElderDog ensures that their dog is taken care of.
“For our senior clients, we have prepared documentation when the dog comes to us so seniors feel comfortable and understand the process. If there are emergency responders who come to help a senior in a situation, they contact us because they can see our contact information on their fridge or somewhere visible,” Michelle Larose, Rehoming Coordinator for ElderDog shared.
Rehoming senior dogs
The organization also helps rehome dogs that are possibly too much work for a senior.
“A senior couple in Maple Ridge, who had inherited a beagle from someone, couldn’t take care of the dog because they already had another dog. We were able to rehome him to a doctor who was also in Maple Ridge,” Larose said.
The beagle weighed 60 pounds when he was rehomed but is now healthy and fit with his new foster parent.
The goal of ElderDog is to work with seniors and enrich their lives with the “human-animal bond.”
So far in 2021, they have had 60 volunteers but are hoping more people in Ridge-Meadows can volunteer with them for services as their clientele continues to grow.
“People don’t need to be working with dogs, you can also work from home and help in organizing drives, manage communication etc,” Larose added.
Reliable service for seniors
Although all services and rehoming dogs are done at no charge, a thorough inspection of foster homes and a continued follow-up are part of the ElderDog rehoming strategy.
They also have a thorough background check on volunteers.
ElderDog is registered with the BC 211 response and emergency services have the organization on file.
For tech-savvy seniors, there’s an online application and assistance is available via phone as well. Seniors can register for services or adopt one of the senior dogs.
You can email them at [email protected] at 1-855-336-4226