In August 2011, Dogs Forever launched a program, “Seniors for Seniors,” that brings compassion and companionship to two special populations—senior dogs and senior people. Dogs Forever is working with social services agencies and church leaders in Eastern Iowa to identify senior individuals or couples 65 years and older living in their own home who would benefit from the companionship of a dog.
While these seniors long for the happiness a wagging tail can bring to a home, they are either not able to afford a dog due to limited income and/or because they fear what will happen to their best friend in the event of their illness or death. Recognizing the many positive benefits a companion dog can bring to a person’s life, Dogs Forever is working to remove these barriers.
Dogs Forever provides the following services through Seniors for Seniors:
- We solicit individuals and companies to sponsor a senior dog for $150. This enables us to provide basic veterinary care for the dog while waiving the adoption fee. There is no fee charged to the person adopting the dog.
- In the event of an adopter’s illness or hospitalization, Dogs Forever will provide care for their dog free of charge for up to one month. At that time we will re-evaluate the situation and if necessary, we will find another home for the dog.
- If an adopter is unable to take their dog to the vet (due to lack of driver’s license or car, or for any reason), a Dogs Forever volunteer will transport the dog to the vet and home again.
- A Dogs Forever volunteer will visit the adopter and dog on a regular basis to answer questions or address issues that may arise related to a dog’s health or behavior.
- If an adopter is unable to afford food for their dog, Dogs Forever will provide food.
- If an adopter is unable to afford veterinary care, they can apply to Dogs Forever for assistance.
We have selected senior dogs for this program because many end up in Iowa shelters and are euthanized since most people prefer to adopt puppies or young adult dogs. These dogs, homeless in their twilight years, have much to offer in the way of affection, loyalty and friendship if given the chance. Older dogs are less demanding and easy to manage, making them a good match for their counterpart human seniors.