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Goodbye, old friend: Prevention of the unnecessary surrendering of companion animals among the elderly

By Karen Davis

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Background: Every day families are surrendering pets to animal shelters as their elderly owners transition to new living arrangements or begin to have difficulty keeping up with the animal’s care. Yet, for many seniors, their pets are their closest family members, the givers of love and companionship, their confidants and even their reason to live. The loss of their pet can lead to grief, despair, depression, hopelessness, loneliness and a decline in health for the elderly person. Problem: Families may be prematurely surrendering these pets because they are unaware of resources that may help keep an elderly person and their beloved pet together. Intervention: This article explores potential resources that can be utilized and details the benefits derived by the elderly when their pet is allowed to remain with them. Many programs exist all over the country to assist the elderly in keeping their companion animals.  Local SPCAs, humane societies, senior centers, area senior programs, veterinary clinics, hospice groups and churches provide assistance such as food, vet care, dog walking, and emergency housing. Outcome: All caregivers should become aware of what is available in their area and work with families to keep the elderly and their companion animals together. The result will be improved health and happiness for both the senior and their pet.

Date 2015
Edition April 8, 2015
Publication Title The Caregiver's Journal
Issue April 8, 2015
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Caregivers
  3. Companion
  4. Health
  5. Older adults
  6. Pet ownership
  7. Pets and companion animals