As more older pets are being surrendered to its shelters, the Nova Scotia SPCA is seeing higher uptake of its palliative treatment program that pays medical expenses for animals with chronic illnesses so they can live out their lives in a loving home.
It all started in 2009 when an older mixed-breed dog named Darla was left at the Dartmouth shelter run by the non-profit animal welfare charity.
“It started kind of organically along with our first dog called Darla. She was 14 years old. She has been actually abandoned in the protection by someone that kind of dumped her in the cat adoption room and ran, ” said Sandra Flemming, provincial director associated with animal care for SPCA Nova Scotia, who helped start the program.
When Darla came into the refuge, staff had been concerned that will no one would adopt the girl, said Flemming.
“They kind of looked at me going, how are we going to place this dog with all of her medical needs and the girl age? inch
But once they were able in order to create a program to cover financial costs, people started to take older animals home.
“We found that when we had really senior animals with a lot of veterinary care needed, that the particular best way we could get them into a loving home was through our palliative care system and it just type of grew organically from there, inches said Flemming.
More old animals are now being surrendered now than when the program were only available in 2009.
Flemming said the SPCA’s efforts to spay and neuter pets over the last decade, along with the increased cost of living has led to the SPCA seeing more older dogs along with medical needs being surrendered to animal shelters within the province.
The only condition for somebody interested in taking home a good animal with significant health issues is to provide a loving home where the particular pet’s needs will be met.
Flemming said there are a lot of reasons for someone to take the chance on fostering an older pet.
“A lot of people look at owning an animal thinking, I might love to have a pet, I would certainly like to give my time and love and energy to an animal, but maybe they’re senior themselves, maybe these people don’t want a long-term commitment of a young pet, ” stated Flemming.
“Maybe they don’t want the work of a puppy, they’d prefer an animal that sleeps the majority of the day, such as a senior dog, plus they’re looking for something easy to take with regard to walks and they’re looking regarding companionship. But maybe they will financially can’t afford a creature long-term. So being section of the palliative treatment program allows them in order to give back, help an animal, have some companionship, but no financial costs associated with their care. ”
The program — offered at all SPCA shelters within Nova Scotia — has an average of 75 to 100 domestic pets living in their retirement foster homes.
Jennifer Nolan, who lives in the Halifax area, adopted Chewie, a 10-year-old Pomeranian and Fred, a good 11-year-old chihuahua, this year while volunteering on the SPCA’s Dartmouth shelter. Both dogs have a heart condition and are on the same medication so Nolan has a morning routine for administering it.
“Which makes it very easy in order to keep them on the particular same schedule, and they love their own morning hot dog ritual of getting their particular medications in hot canines. So that’s like a very exciting time in my home, ” said Nolan, who said she wouldn’t have Chewie or Fred if it wasn’t for the SPCA.
“Chewie actually came to me as a stray. He was picked up, kind of just running out at large. He was brought in, in not the best condition, but you think where would he be if no one had found him or… if the SPCA wasn’t able to take on the medical costs? inch
Flemming stated the program has given a lot of animals a second chance at life.
“Sometimes even with senior pets, once they are on the right medication and once they are on good quality food and once they’re in a loving home, a lot of them have really kind of reversed aging, inches said Flemming.
“So animals that we thought came in and that looked so poor and downtrodden, so many of them, when they may given simply all of those little things that improve their overall quality plus health, they turn around. And you think that could possibly be on their last legs, but they really end up being in the palliative care system for years. ”