‘Pets for Life’ Campaign.
Sadly, there are many genuine situations where dog owners are forced to give up their pet. One of those reasons is the fact that, accommodation for older people, retirement complexes and care homes, very often will not accept pets.
It has long been known that the company of pets is beneficial for people in all sorts of ways. But for older people, perhaps, pets are pivotal in helping them to feel less isolated by providing company and companionship. However, despite this, many are forced to give them up because they are unable to take them into care homes.
Health and safety.
In recent times, some of the more enlightened care home establishments will accept resident dogs. However, in general the issue seems to be that having a dog, or dogs, in a care home, raises health and safety issues.
This is a shame, since dogs can really be the catalyst for a different atmosphere in a care home. One that encourages interaction between residents and helps to make people feel more at home and motivated to become involved in other activities.
The Pets for Life Campaign, run by the Society for Companion Animal Studies, aims to address the issues of older people being forced to part with their pets when they move to sheltered housing.
legislation in other countries.
Indeed, the UK lags behind other countries such as the United States and France. In both these countries, legislation has meant that older people have the right to keep their pet, or at very least, to maintain contact with pets.
There have been some improvements in past years, but the UK has not really caught up with other countries in it’s attitude to pets in care homes.
In 2010, the MP Nigel Waterson passed a care homes and sheltered accommodation (domestic pets) bill. This was supposed to promote a more, “enlightened and responsible” policy, which would allow pet owners to take their companions with them when they moved into sheltered accommodation.
William the street dog.
This was not only devastating for the resident owner, but also for everyone else at the care home, who became so attached to the dog. As a result, the care home found another dog through animal rescuer Louise Russell. She paired them up with William, an abandoned street dog from Cyprus.
With the success of William, Louise now campaigns for other care homes across the UK to follow suit.
It is true that charities such as Pets as Therapy have been visiting care homes, as well as hospitals and hospices, for a number of years. While this is a much needed and valuable service, it is not quite the same as having a resident dog – particularly if that dog has been with an owner for many years.
For anyone who would like more information on finding pet friendly accommodation for older people, you can get in touch with the Elderly Accommodation Counsel or, the Cinnamon Trust. They will have details about sheltered accommodation and care homes, which accept pets in your area.
Elderly Accommodation Counsel.
89, Albert Embankment,
Telephone: 0800 377 7070
The Cinnamon Trust.
10, Market Square,
Telephone: 01736 757 900