Having a dog makes life more enjoyable for humans and canine companionship is excellent for senior citizens as well. However, as dog owners become older, they find it harder to care for their canine companions. People in their 70s and above cope with numerous health conditions and for them managing dogs can be taxing. Even so, giving away their faithful pets is something they would like to avoid. That is an issue people like Carie Broecker want to address. She cares for dogs owned by elderly people with fragile health. She has set up a non-profit that caters to the needs of senior dog owners.
Over a decade back, she was aiding an elderly woman named Alice. The latter contracted emphysema and asked Carie for help. Carie started caring for the dog and carried on even when Alice was on her deathbed. Carie recalls how she made a promise to the dying lady to take care of her beloved dog. She said: “I remember it clear as day. The whole concept of Peace of Mind Dog Rescue came to me: The name, and that we would take in dogs from senior citizens who were dying.” That is how the idea of setting up Peace of Mind Dog Rescue was conceived. After that, there was no looking back for her.
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Peace of Mind Dog Rescue adopts elderly people’s dogs who can no longer look after them
Broecker co-founded the entity with Monica Rua back in 2009. The organization adopts dogs owned by aged people who are no longer able to look after their canine companions properly. Sometimes, they are contacted by relatives of such aged people for adopting the dogs.
Carie says: “Oftentimes, the dog can be your last connection to that person. You’re giving away a part of that person who was so special to you. So, it can be really hard. We’ve seen it over and over again that dogs can adjust after losing their person and become part of a new family. You’d love for them to be together forever, but when that’s not possible, we’re really glad we’re here to be a safety net.”
Sometimes, they get calls from elderly people who do not want to give away their dogs but require assistance. They offer volunteers for walking the dogs and bathing them, as their owners are unable to do so. The venture also aims to find foster homes for rescued elderly dogs. They have aided approximately 2,000 elderly dog owners to date and found homes for 3,000 senior dogs too.
The entity has also opened its own veterinary clinic. This helps them in testing senior rescued dogs and treating them better. Before they can put a rescued dog up for adoption, it is necessary to check the animal for underlying illnesses or infections. Peace of Mind Dog rescue also caters to low-income senior citizens with dogs through its Helping Paw Program.
Peace of Mind started 13 years back with only one volunteer and now has more than 1,300 volunteers, apart from 23 paid staff members. It also has a temporary foster care system in place. It is meant for caring for a dog whose owner is undergoing therapy or surgery. A perpetual care program enables elderly dog owners to pre-register their dogs and when they fall ill, Peace of Mind looks after the pet. So, overall the non-profit offers a lot of dog care programs that benefit senior dog owners and abandoned senior dogs.
The response Carie has received is most encouraging and positive. Elderly dog owners heap praises on her venture and they are happy with the service they receive.