Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, have been clients of ElderDog Victoria since last summer. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, have been clients of ElderDog Victoria since last summer. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Victoria ElderDog program seeking more seniors, pups to support

Service helps elderly people to care for their canine companions

For many elderly people, their dog is their closest companion. However, as they age and health issues arise, it becomes difficult – and sometimes impossible – for them to provide their pets with proper care.

ElderDog is a Canadian charity that works to preserve that special bond by helping seniors to take care of their dogs, offering foster care and developing long-term care planning for companion dogs.

Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, are one of the Victoria Pawd’s clients. Over the summer, Ellis had to get hip surgery and said she was worried she might have to let Zoey go. Now, she has three volunteers who come by on alternating days to walk Zoey and check in on how they’re doing.

READ ALSO: Canadian seniors isolated with fewer friends, less access to internet

“She [Zoey] has a better social life than I do now,” Ellis joked.

Living alone during the pandemic, Zoey has been one of Ellis’s only companions. “I would be so alone if I didn’t have my dog now,” she said.

The volunteers are happy too.

Nearing retirement, Beth Romeril had been looking for something to keep her connected to the community when she came across ElderDog.

“This is a way of building connections,” she said. She has a deep love for dogs and said she hates the idea of elderly people having to give up their pets.

READ ALSO: The State of Aging: COVID-19 exposed a long-term care system already in crisis

“The more people who we can keep connected with their dogs, the better,” she said.

The only problem is that not enough people know about the service, said communications coordinator Jan Turner. Since COVID-19 hit, she said they’ve seen a huge influx in volunteers but now they need the clients.

Anyone who is interested in learning more can contact the Victoria Pawd at elderdogvictoria@gmail.com.


 

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