Senior Pets for Seniors Program Offered by Highland County Humane Society
The Highland County Humane Society has a foster program called Senior Pets for Seniors. It started a few years ago as a way to place senior cats and dogs in homes that are best suited for them.
Corena Huffman is the Director and President of the Highland County Humane Society.
“It’s important to have this program from our perspective, with the animals where we have some older pets or some pets that just truly don’t like the hustle and bustle of a busy family or maybe they don’t like other animals,” says Huffman. “They want to be where it’s quiet and peaceful and kind of have a routine that’s more laid back and one on one care with an older person, or retiree, or a senior that’s home a lot. “
A senior who fosters a pet doesn’t have to pay for any of the pet’s expenses.
“That program works better for a senior community member because they have the companionship and something to care for, but the person doesn’t have the added expense of veterinary visits, supplies, getting things from the store, especially during COVID has been very challenging,” says Huffman. “And so the Humane Society delivers those things, checks on the pet in the household, applies flea medication, trims nails, grooms the pet, etc. We also provide free transportation to veterinary visits and we cover all the veterinary care. So the community member doesn’t have the added expense of the foster and if something did happen the family is not stuck with having to place the pet in a home, it comes back to the Humane Society for us to put in another foster home and care for. It takes that responsibility away that a lot of older folks worry about in getting a pet, that they will leave that burden on their family.”
This program is a win-win situation for both the pet and the person.
“Where we see it benefitting the people, and it’s certainly been studied from a health perspective that pets help lower our anxiety and depression rates,” says Huffman. “They offer companionship and, especially with COVID when we haven’t been able to gather or see some of our family members, it’s been very beneficial for people who are truly shut in or stuck at home. Having a pet lowers our blood pressure and it has some other health benefits. Sometimes when someone has another thing to care for it helps them get up and get started for the day. A little dog can help someone get out and exercise and go for walks.“
The Highland County Humane Society places pets in foster care in other counties and in the valley. The foster agreement can be short term or long term. And if it doesn’t work out, the pet goes back to the Humane Society. The foster family gets first right of refusal if the pet is available for adoption. Animals available to foster can be seen at www.highlandcountyhumanesociety.org
“What’s unique is a foster pet doesn’t know that they’re a foster pet,” says Huffman. “They think they’re just in a home and someone is caring for them and loving them just as they were that person’s pet.”
The Highland County Humane Society’s foster program is open to anyone. The Humane Society is always looking for foster families and volunteers. To get more information, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 540-908-9152.