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Hospice Foster Care? Does anything like this exist?


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Last Tuesday, I was out walking Buddy when we ran into a woman, maybe 55 or 60, who asked if she could pet Buddy. I let her try, though Buddy doesn't like to interrupt his pee-sniffing to get cuddles from strangers.

 

The woman told me she used to have a border collie, so I engaged her in conversation. She said, "I've only ever had dogs, my whole life... but I had to come up here to get treatment at Lahey Clinic, and my sister told me I had to get rid of my dog." Then she started to cry. I didn't press for more details, but I'm guessing she had some serious surgery or cancer treatment, and had to move in with her sister for the duration.

 

All of which drove me CRAZY for hours afterwards. First, you get very ill. Second, in order to deal with the serious illness, you have to leaver your home and life. And third, worst of all, you have to give away what is essentially your loving family member.

 

I think about this sometimes, being Buddy's only caregiver. My siblings all have other dogs, and Buddy isn't really good with other dogs. I often think of finding an official guardian on these boards, where I know people understand dogs and often have experience with a dog like Buddy.

 

But meeting this woman, and knowing that I live here and have an empty basement with an outside door - I kept thinking, "I could have kept your dog at my house, and you could have come to see him two or three times a day, and taken him for walks, until you were able to be out on your own again."

 

Does anyone know of anything like this - temporary foster care for dogs whose owners are in desperate situations? It breaks my heart, thinking about this woman.

 

Mary

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My local shelter offers this service: and if I was a dog or cat I would be very happy living there, as I have mentioned before I am very lucky to live in a community with a state of the art animal shelter, that is also an innovator in outreach programs.

 

Animal House Calls

 

Do you know of an elderly person who is overwhelmed with an animal problem? Do you have a friend who just can't afford the cost of spaying or neutering the dog or cat? The Potter League has a program to address these needs in the community. An animal care advocate from the shelter can help the animals of the elderly and low income in the event of an emergency or crisis.

 

 

PetSafe

 

The Potter League for Animals works with social workers and local domestic violence agencies to provide foster care and temporary housing for the pets of victims of domestic violence who must leave a dangerous household situation. The Potter League also provides short term housing for the pets of the elderly who need to hospitalized and have no one to care for their animals. Temporary housing for animals for those displaced from their homes because of fire or other disasters is also provided by our agency.

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Why don't you see if she would like to spend some time with Buddy? Several years ago one of the people on our block had their mom come and live with them, as she could not longer live on her own. She had always had dogs and really missed them. We got to know each other and for the year she was there, she would come over and spend a lot of time with my dogs. I think it was very good therapy for her, and the dogs certainly loved to be spoiled by her.

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^^Wow. Would that there were more agencies like this out there and available to the elderly and needy.

 

J.

Julie they are a very impressive operation, and what makes their work to me impressive, is that they are the "pound" for the three towns on the island and so can not be selective about their intake. I am lucky to live in a community that is also a resort and full of very expensive summer homes and the Potter League is very successful at fundraising. They run out-reach programs to schools, run summer camps, take dogs into group homes, and even more important do not adopt dogs out until they have been evaluated and if needed they go through a "headstart" program. There is no time deadline for adoption my first Border Collie came from there and he was in residence for 6 months, and that was 13 years ago. I have seen cats that they have had for close to a year.

 

Then there is the new award winning building that most humans would be happy to move into, there are no cages, no outside runs, a training room - they provide free training to adopters, and inexpensive classes to everyone, human education space, even the cats make out with community rooms with windows on the outside world.

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Last Tuesday, I was out walking Buddy when we ran into a woman, maybe 55 or 60, who asked if she could pet Buddy. I let her try, though Buddy doesn't like to interrupt his pee-sniffing to get cuddles from strangers.

 

The woman told me she used to have a border collie, so I engaged her in conversation. She said, "I've only ever had dogs, my whole life... but I had to come up here to get treatment at Lahey Clinic, and my sister told me I had to get rid of my dog." Then she started to cry. I didn't press for more details, but I'm guessing she had some serious surgery or cancer treatment, and had to move in with her sister for the duration.

 

All of which drove me CRAZY for hours afterwards. First, you get very ill. Second, in order to deal with the serious illness, you have to leaver your home and life. And third, worst of all, you have to give away what is essentially your loving family member.

 

I think about this sometimes, being Buddy's only caregiver. My siblings all have other dogs, and Buddy isn't really good with other dogs. I often think of finding an official guardian on these boards, where I know people understand dogs and often have experience with a dog like Buddy.

 

But meeting this woman, and knowing that I live here and have an empty basement with an outside door - I kept thinking, "I could have kept your dog at my house, and you could have come to see him two or three times a day, and taken him for walks, until you were able to be out on your own again."

 

Does anyone know of anything like this - temporary foster care for dogs whose owners are in desperate situations? It breaks my heart, thinking about this woman.

 

Mary

Any community of like minded people can begin this kind of service for those in need. One of my non-trad students was involved in one where he lived previously and did a presentation on it for class, urging people in our community to do the same (each member of the class was to present an idea related to community engagement). Essentially, those in need would register with the non-profit and if they became too ill - or had to be admitted to the hospital, they would call a support person and someone would come in to take care of their animals who understood how to care for that animal -- not just dogs, but birds, fish, what ever the person had would receive care for however long their owner needed assistance.

 

 

Liz

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Why don't you see if she would like to spend some time with Buddy? Several years ago one of the people on our block had their mom come and live with them, as she could not longer live on her own. She had always had dogs and really missed them. We got to know each other and for the year she was there, she would come over and spend a lot of time with my dogs. I think it was very good therapy for her, and the dogs certainly loved to be spoiled by her.

 

This occurred to me only AFTER I got home from my walk that day. I could have given the woman my e-mail address and had her contact me if she wanted to walk and spend time with a dog. ::Sigh::

 

Thanks for the other suggestions, all. I might see about looking into some local option - get a bunch of people to talk about fostering dogs for the elderly or some such thing. Sounds like a service that's really needed!

 

Mary

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when our shelter referes to "Foster care" they are refering to their programs, the only actual shelter dogs that are fostered are pregnant moms and young puppies, otherwise fostering referes to various programs like forever friends-should anything happen to you, you pet will be cared for, and Safe Places which covers the animals of domestic abuse victims.

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