PAWS Magazine

 

Issue 46, Summer 2000

 

Seniors for Seniors

Finding a 'best friend' took on a new meaning for seven Snohomish County senior citizens when they toured the PAWS Companion Animal Shelter in early June to help launch the "Seniors for Seniors" adoption program. This innovative program is designed to place senior cats and dogs, typically over 7 years of age, with qualified senior citizens who are 60 years of age or older.

Volunteers greeted residents from a senior housing facility in Everett along with Kay Joubert and Ann Watkins, the PAWS staff members who developed the program in an effort to reach out to the senior community. "The response from the seniors was wonderful. They enjoyed seeing the animals and learning how easy it can be to pick out a new best friend," said Joubert.

The event was covered by the Seattle Times who focused on Charles Hoffman, a senior confined to a wheelchair because he lost part of his right leg to diabetes. During his visit, Hoffman became enamored with Precious, an orange and white tabby, however, he needed to save the $150 pet deposit that his apartment required before being able to adopt.

"The day the story ran, the phone calls started right away," explains Joubert. "People loved the concept of the program and felt compelled to help Mr. Hoffman and other seniors who are unable to pay a pet deposit." So far over $1,300 has been donated to the program and this money will be earmarked to help seniors like Hoffman who need assistance with their pet deposit or adoption fee.

There is a happy ending for Charles Hoffman. This month he returned to the shelter and chose Ms. Muffett a beautiful tortoiseshell cat to be his new companion. Ms. Muffett's warm purr and need to be the only cat in the home were a perfect match for Charles. "I am home alone a lot and wanted a cat for companionship," explained Charles as Ms. Muffett wrapped her paws around his neck and purred with enthusiasm.

Because of the wonderful response from the public to the new program, there were enough donations to cover the pet deposit fee, the reduced adoption fee, and a rabies shot that was required by the housing unit. The happy pair also went home with a free bag of senior cat food and toy donated by program sponsor Hill's pet food, and a special soft-sided carrier, scratch post and a variety of other goodies provided by PAWS.

Bartell's, another program sponsor, printed brochures and posters highlighting the new "Seniors for Seniors" adoption program. To help spread the word, the initial mailing of these items will be done to senior centers, housing units and private facilities in Snohomish County. A team of PAWS volunteers will also be visiting senior facilities in the upcoming months to talk about the program. As with all programs, volunteers are providing the necessary support to make the program a success. Volunteers are helping with phone calls to senior adopters, visits to the housing units, matching seniors up through the "wish list" and helping with adoptions.

For more information about this exciting new adoption program, call the Seniors line at PAWS, 425.787.2500 x488, or visit the website to see a new senior animal spotlighted by the program each week.



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