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Senior Pets for Senior People

A special program at Pinellas County Animal Services places senior pets with senior citizens.

Residents of a local senior living community had a visit from special, furry local seniors recently. The visitors at were senior dogs from

Seniors at the assisted living community could pet or cuddle the dogs, if they wanted. The recent meet and greet opportunity was a way to introduce residents to a special pet adoption program.

This fall Animal Services started the "Senior-For-Senior" program. Volunteers visit pet friendly senior communities and match the personalities of the pets and the people.

Traditionally senior pets have been difficult to place. Many families prefer to adopt younger animals, which left senior pets in shelters, foster homes or to be euthanized, said volunteer Judy Elliott, who coordinates the senior pet adoption program.

Pet ownership can have positive health benefits. Pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels and feelings of loneliness. Plus pets increase opportunities for socialization, exercise and outdoor activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There are many reasons to adopt a senior animal, according to Animal Services.

  • Senior animals love to sleep and cuddle. They are happy for you to join them.
  • Senior dogs have learned many life lessons. They know "shoes are for walking and bones are for chewing."
  • Senior animals are mostly housebroken or litter box trained.
  • Senior pets require less time than a puppy or kitten.
  • What you see is what you get; senior pets tend to settle into the household more easily.

Adoption Information. The adoption fee is $20 (the regular fee is $40).  There are age requirements for everyone in the program. Human seniors are ages 50 and up.  Cats are ages 8 and up; small breed dogs are ages 8 and up; and large breed dogs are ages 6 and up. For more information: Call (727) 582-2600 or online. For specific senior pet adoption questions call Elliott at (727) 595-5822.

Linda Hersey March 17, 2012 at 02:22 PM
What a wonderful way for meeting the needs of both seniors who often are shut-ins and living alone and senior pets that need a forever family.
Christine Hamacher March 17, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Fantastic program! Our family also adopted a senior dog (our Walker Hound, Sadie) from Dunedin Doggie Rescue a few years back. She was 6 years old and had the sweetest eyes -- she had us at "hello"! Sadie is our big baby and we are proud to share her with other seniors in our community through the Project PUP (Pets Uplifting People) program. Pet therapy is such a wonderful avenue for touching seniors' hearts and reminding them of the love they have to give. We hope more people will value senior pets and senior residents in our community by embracing both with just a little gift of their time through Project PUP. Kudos to Pinellas County Animal Services and Cypress Palms for their "Senior-For-Senior" partnership!! ~Christine Hamacher
Sally Oroe March 18, 2012 at 07:51 AM
What a great program! Win win for everyone!!
Sally Oroe March 18, 2012 at 07:52 AM
What a great program! A win win for everyone!!
Mary Sault March 18, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Thank you for profiling this program and our volunteers. Judy Elliott and all of the volunteers bring their love and time and talent and enrich the lives of all they touch - animal and human. This program is entirely run by volunteers. By the way, the other lady in the blue VIP t-shirt is a volunteer, too. Her name is Fran and she is fabulous! (And modest.) Mary Sault, Pinellas County Volunteer Services

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