Call it the power of pals.
Peggie Beck’s idea to start a a local “pawd” of Elder Dog Canada is gaining momentum, thanks to some two-legged friends and the memory of a much-loved four-legged companion named Pal.
“We now have four volunteers…who are waiting on their photo ID and police record checks,” Beck said last week.
“I have spoken to many people — my vet, the Ancaster High art department regarding posters to circulate, Hamilton Sackville Seniors Centre and the RCAF 447 Wing regarding speaking. We are also hoping to place notices in church bulletins.”
ElderDog Canada is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to honouring and preserving the important connection between aging people and aging dogs.
Beck became acquainted with the association while visiting staff at the Ancaster Animal Hospital. She spotted a newspaper article that told a compelling story about a 90-year-old woman who was mourning the loss of her canine companion. The woman wondered where she might find another dog, an older dog, so the pair could age together. Another elderly person had been hospitalized and had no choice but to leave her two beloved dogs in a boarding kennel. The stress of worrying about the dogs was interfering with her recovery.
The seniors’ situations immediately tugged at Peggy’s heart strings.
Was there an ElderDog chapter in the Hamilton area? Were there people in need of ElderDog services?
Intending to volunteer with the organization, Beck dialed the newspaper’s telephone number. She talked to the author of the article and was disappointed to learn the closest ElderDog chapter — or pawd, as they’re called — was in Nova Scotia.
But Beck feels there’s a need for an ElderDog group in Hamilton.
“I see a lot of older people walking dogs and know how much their companion dogs mean to them,” she said.
“…when you get to be a certain age, you think about what happens to your pets because they are such great companions.”
Some of the services offered by ElderDog Canada include helping seniors with daily dog-care actvities like exercise, hygiene and trips to the vet or pet store. Volunteers also facilitate foster care and adoption of older dogs, provide education and outreach, and offer dog bereavement support and commemoration programs.
For more information, contact Peggy at email@example.com. To learn about ElderDog Canada, see www. elderdog.com.