|‘Paws for Love’ looks to link dogs, seniors
Sonoma County Animal Care and Control has partnered with the Paws for Love Foundation to launch a new adoption program matching seniors age 55 and older with shelter dogs or cats age six years and older – and pays the adoption fee. Paws for Love has pledged up to $9,000 over a three-year period to sponsor the Silver Paws for Love program.
The program will promote the positive nature of seniors adopting seniors and remove the financial barrier preventing some seniors from acquiring a new companion.
The Paws for Love Foundation is a nonprofit agency providing resources and funding to shelters, rescue groups, and other organizations and individuals dedicated to improving the health, welfare, and adoptability of unwanted or abused animals. Much of the foundation’s funding is raised at its annual gala, where paintings created by shelter animals are sold. Artist and Paws for Love founder Ellyn Boone assists the animals in creating the paintings for the benefit of shelter animals in Sonoma County.
Boone said about the new program, “The Paws for Love Foundation is proud to become a sponsor for this very important program to assist senior pets find loving homes with seniors. Too often the older pets in shelters are overlooked, but the unselfish act of bringing a senior pet into our lives may be the greatest gift we will ever give…and with the greatest rewards!”
Older pets lose their homes for many different reasons, most of which have nothing to do with problems the animals may have. The pet’s owner may have financial difficulties that affect the ability to keep a pet. A change in the family situation, such as a new baby, may force the owner to surrender a beloved cat or dog. The pet might be left homeless when its owner is hospitalized for an extended period, or passes unexpectedly.
Senior dogs and cats often have trouble finding a new home, especially when there are puppies and kittens vying for the attention of prospective adopters. But there are definite advantages to adopting an older animal.
In most cases the animal is already trained and socialized, so it is ready to be an instant friendly companion. An older animal has developed its personality, so a visit between the animal and a prospective adopter will be a good indicator of how the cat or dog will fit into its new family. And studies have shown that pet ownership could actually improve overall health and wellbeing for senior citizens by improving morale, encouraging independence, and allowing them to handle stress better.
The Paws for Love Foundation and Sonoma County Animal Care and Control invite all Sonoma County seniors to visit the animal shelter at 1247 Century Court in Santa Rosa. Sonoma County Animal Care and Control is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon - 5:30 p.m.