SPRINGERS FOR SENIORS
Senior Dogs for Senior Citizens
by Caryn Pola
It was the kind of call all rescuers dread. A local veterinarian had an 11 year old Springer spaniel named Ginger, who had been left for euthanasia. There really was no medical reason for her to be euthanized. Ginger had some leaking of urine and her family had decided to dispose of her. The veterinarian had been trying to place her in a new home for about three weeks. They hoped rescue would help. English Springer Rescue America sent out the call, and a foster family, the Van Mullens, quickly responded. Ginger went home with them. Mae, Ginger's foster mom, could not believe how active and social this wonderful dog was. Ginger would chase a ball till Mae's arm felt like it would fall off. Even when half-asleep, Ginger had an eye on her ball.
After some time and no new home on the horizon, Mae placed an ad in the paper talking about her wonderful foster dog. One who answered the ad was an administrator of a group home for active senior citizens. Ginger went over to the home to meet the people there. The corporation that ran this group home had strong beliefs that people need animals. Each of their homes had a resident cat and dog. It was to one of these homes that Ginger was to become a resident.
Concerned about who would care for her and about her piddle problem, her foster mom asked a lot of questions. Her favorite answer of all was that the home was not worried about Ginger's piddle problem, as some of their seniors had the same problem! So Ginger is a proud family member and has her place of honor in the home. Ginger is loved and walked by the seniors and the staff members and there is never a shortage of people to throw her ball. She will be safe and loved for many years to come.
Another wonderful adoption happened when the call came in from concerned children. Their senior mom had lost her Springer after 15 love filled years. Their mother was very depressed, had stopped eating, and was having problems sleeping. They came to see Duffy, a Springer rescued from a local animal shelter. Duffy had failed a previous adoption because he could not keep from jumping in the pool. Duffy went home to his new mom and they became fast friends. The first night, Duffy climbed into bed with his new mom, and she reported that it was the first night's sleep she had since her beloved dog died.
English Springer Rescue America, ESRA, a non-profit all volunteer group, has a program to place senior dogs in homes with Senior Citizens. It is strongly suggested by the medical profession that seniors live longer and healthier when they have a pet for which to care. ESRA believes that senior dogs also live longer in the care of Senior Citizens whose life styles can accommodate the senior dog. Dogs 10 years and older have had a health check up. They are fully vaccinated. All Springers placed by ESRA are spayed or neutered and heartworm negative. They are placed with an active senior who can love and care for them. The adoption fee is waived. ESRA has an additional program available for any family interested in an older dog, or dog with some medical problems, where the adoption fee can be reduced or waived.
Caryn Pola is currently President of ESRA and has been a member since 1999. She is a foster mom and usually has several Springers in her home. She is a member of the Board of Directors of ESRA.
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