ElderDog P.E.I. looking for more volunteers to help seniors take care of their pets

·2 min read
ElderDog helps is a national organization that assists older Canadians in caring for their animal companions. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC - image credit)
ElderDog helps is a national organization that assists older Canadians in caring for their animal companions. (Nathalie Sturgeon/CBC - image credit)

An Island non-profit that helps seniors take care of their dogs is looking for volunteers.

ElderDog is a national organization that helps older Canadians care for their dogs. That includes walking their dogs for them or putting them in temporary foster care if an owner needs hospitalization.

The non-profit's Island chapter says demand held fairly steady during the pandemic, but now they are looking for more volunteers.

"We need dog walkers," said Ruth Courtney-Beck, pod leader of ElderDog P.E.I. "We need people willing to transport a dog if I have a dog here that needs to be picked up and put in foster care.

"If [people] call us, we can tell them what the need is. We have a volunteer list, but generally it's foster homes and people who are willing to be all hands on deck and help with walking, brushing, minor training."

The organization also takes in dogs and matches them with seniors looking for company as long as there can be a good environment for the animal. But rescues aren't really their focus.

While part of their mandate is to help senior dogs, Courtney-Beck said they do take in younger pets as well.

"Lots of seniors are living at home and a lot of them are rural, and they'd like to have some company," she said.

"We look for suitable homes for those dogs within the applications that we have on file, and then if we don't have any suitable homes on file for that particular dog, then we will look further afield."

Healthy and happy

Sandra Crosby is one of the Islanders who has been helped by the organization. Her dog, Jake, was diagnosed with a thyroid issue and started piling on weight due to his medication.

"We were telling our daughter, 'Poor Jake needed to lose some weight,'" she said.

"We have health issues that keep us walking them very far. So when [she] mentioned it to us, we called the number."

Crosby said that the dog was taken for walks three or four times a week by volunteers and has lost about five pounds.

"He sure gets a real good walk in, you know. Fairly brisk and nice and comes back in such good shape and has a little nap like he's had a little workout. He's very happy," she said.

The organization also takes donations. Courtney-Beck said they're currently looking for people who can lend them equipment such as dog crates or extra leashes and harnesses.

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