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Wollondilly Gardens Retirees Save Dog’s Life

Wollondilly Gardens Retirees Save Dog’s Life

Wed 3 October 2012

Anglicare has partnered with RSPCA NSW to pilot an innovative program that is providing a new lease of life both for senior citizens and for pets in animal shelters.

The pilot program "Senior Pets for Senior People" promotes senior citizens adopting an older pet that would otherwise be at risk of being euthanised. The program has been made possible thanks to generous donations from our supporters.

The first adoption through this program has taken place at Anglicare’s retirement village, Wollondilly Gardens in Goulburn.

After decades of being dog owners Wollondilly Gardens residents, Basil and Margaret Brierley recently lost their long-standing pet companion. Under normal circumstances, the option of replacing a pet would be problematic.

However, Anglicare’s Manager Business Support and Projects, John Vilskersts has worked closely with RSPCA NSW to develop the program "Senior Pets for Senior People". The outcome is that Basil and Margaret have recently adopted Barney from the Save Our Strays Shelter at Londonderry.

Barney is a maltese/poodle cross who was housed in a shelter for several weeks waiting for a new home or otherwise potentially facing the sad fate of being euthanised but is now an integral part of the Brierley household.

He now enjoys the loving care of Basil and Margaret, including daily walks around the retirement village on a walking path that was provided by generous donations from the community.

Having worked in management positions in aged care for many years, Mr Vilskersts says "I have seen so many times the sadness and loneliness of older people who are unable to take their pet with them to retirement villages or residential aged care facilities"

Equally sad are the cases where older people grieve the loss of a pet and feel that they are no longer able to manage a replacement pet.

"Much research has been undertaken on the many benefits that companion pets can provide to older people – these benefits not only include improvements in health such as decreased blood pressure and increased emotional well being.

"There is the enjoyment of waking up each morning knowing that a special friend is waiting to share each day with its owner" said Mr Vilskersts.

This is certainly the case with Barney’s new home and owners.

"Barney is just delightful. We love him to bits look forward to each day with him" said Margaret.

An important assurance is that RSPCA NSW will support them should they need any assistance with Barney’s care needs. This is provided by local RSPCA members through the RSPCA NSW Pets of Older Persons (POOPS) program . POOPS is specifically designed to help people 65 years of age or older who are socially isolated and require assistance with care of their pets.

Senior citizens who are interested in retirement living options, or residential aged care options, with pets are invited to contact John Vilskersts at Anglicare on 0429 390 919. Any community members in NSW who are interested in supporting senior citizens with pets are invited to contact RSPCA NSW on 02 9770 7555.

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