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Senior citizens wanted to foster pets

THE Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) is hoping that around 100 senior citizens will get on board with its pet-fostering programme this year.

It has started a unique pet-fostering service for senior citizens, which enables them to foster a cat or a dog for a number of weeks.

It has been recruiting senior citizens to participate in the programme, and held its third orientation meeting to enable people to learn about it recently.

The DSPCA receives hundreds of orphaned kittens, puppies, cats and dogs and must find temporary foster homes for them until they are ready to be placed up for adoption.

"Last year, in our standard foster programme, we had about 300 active foster parents, and that grew over a three-year period," said Lori Davis of the DSPCA.

"Our goal is to engage 80 senior citizens and families into this project this year in its pilot phase and then grow the programme," she said.

She said that the senior programme is different from its regular foster programme in that great care and time is taken into engaging senior citizens with animals again.

She said that many senior citizens make a decision later in life to stop having pets for a variety of reasons. Sometimes their last most-beloved pet has passed away, or they may want the freedom to travel.

However, Lori pointed out that having a dog can be good companionship for a senior citizen, and can provide the impetus to take a walk, get fresh air, meet people and make friends.

She said that often in the case of puppies and kittens, their likelihood for survival is much greater in the home than in the shelter environment where they can pick up germs or viruses prior to vaccination.