Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS) is charging no fees for its next 52 adoptions to commemorate the retirement of Baltimore Raven Ray Lewis.
Lewis, who wears No. 52, will end his playing career when the Ravens season ends.
The free adoptions started yesterday,
BARCS is located at 301 Stockholm St. — across from the stadium in which the Ravens play — and is open from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
You can look at animals available for adoption here.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 52, adoption, adoptions, animals, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, baltimore ravens, barcs, commemorate, dog, dogs, football, free, honor, nfl, no fees, pets, ray lewis, retirement, shelters
The U.S. Senate has passed an anti-dogfighting measure that prohibits attendance at organized animal fights, and another bill that improves care for retired military dogs.
While it’s already a felony under federal law to stage animal fights, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which the Senate passed unanimously yesterday, is aimed at cracking down on the spectators who finance animal fights through admission fees and making bets. It also impose additional penalties for bringing a child to those events.
Animal welfare groups commended the Senate’s passage of the act, which was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT). Blumenthal also introduced the measure calling for better care for retired military dogs.
“The U.S. Senate has recognized the canine heroes who serve in our military as well as dogs victimized in underground animal fighting rings, passing legislation for both,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA applauds Senator Blumenthal’s brilliant leadership in the twilight hours of this Congress, ensuring that animals in need will not be forgotten by federal lawmakers.”
The Senate passed a provision to help retired military dogs by streamlining the adoption process and authorizing veterinary care for the retired animals at no expense to taxpayers.
Both measures still need to be approved by the House.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: acts, adoption, animal fighting, animals, apsca, attendance, bets, bills, care, children, dog fighting, dog fights, dogfighting, dogfights, dogs, laws, measures, military dogs, pets, prohibits, retired, retirement, spectators, support, veterinary, wagers
Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who co-starred in the Oscar-winning movie, ”The Artist,” became the first dog to sink his paws into cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
In a ceremony yesterday that also marked Uggie’s retirement from show business, the terrier arrived in a fire truck, performed tricks for photographers, trotted down a red carpet and slapped his paws into wet cement on what was proclaimed “Uggie Day” in Los Angeles.
“The main message that Uggie would like to send to everybody out there is to please adopt,” Uggie’s trainer, Omar Van Muller, told the crowd. “He’s adopted. He made it. If you guys can adopt a dog, even if they don’t make it on the big screen, they’ll be big stars at your house.”
Van Muller said Uggie, while retiring from the movie business, will continue to appear at charity events and other functions.
While Uggie is the first dog to be showcased at Grauman’s courtyard, three dogs — Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart — have stars on the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to the Associated Press.
His retirement party, inside the theater, was attended by ”Lassie” and “Rin Tin Tin,” or at least their modern day namesakes, and “Artist” actor Ken Davitian. Cake was served, including one in the shape of a fire hydrant, made by Duff Goldman, the star of the Food Network series, “Ace of Cakes.”
Uggie won the 2011 Palm Dog Award and was named as the best dog in a film in February at the inaugural Golden Collar Awards for his portrayal of silent movie star George Valentin’s companion in “The Artist.”
(Photo by Joe Kohen/Invision/AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cement, dog, dogs, entertainment, first, footprints, graumans chinese theatre, hollywood, jack russell terrier, lassie, movies, omar van muller, pawprints, pets, prints, retired, retirement, retiring, rin tin tin, the artist, theater, uggie, uggie day
An eight-year-old beagle named Ginger now lives part-time at Renaissance Gardens, the assisted living/skilled nursing facility located at Riderwood, where she visits residents, serves as an icebreaker and, just maybe, is lowering some blood pressures as well.
Ginger’s new mission came out of a pet-sitting arrangement between friends. Karen Spicer, a Community Resources Coordinator at Riderwood who lives in Ellicott City, started taking care of Ginger four years ago, whenever Ginger’s family went on vacation.
It was Ginger’s mom who came up with the idea of sharing the beagle, who now spends part of the time as a pet with her family in Catonsville, part of it with Spicer in Ellicott City, and part of it at Riderwood.
Spicer picks up Ginger, who recently completed her orientation to be a Pets on Wheels dog, on the first Sunday of the month and drops her back home on the third Sunday of the month.
Ginger, according to Spicer, is sweet, compliant and unusually obedient and quiet for a beagle. “She loves to tell people that they are great,” said Spicer. “She is great company for me. I am a better person for having her.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Erickson Living)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assisted living, beagle, catonsville, dog, dogs, ellicott city, erickson living, ginger, karen spicer, maryland, nursing, pets, pets on wheels, renaissance gardens, retirement, riderwood, senior, shared, shared dog, silver spring, therapy dog
Are we old yet?
Sure, age is just a number; sure, it’s relative; sure, you’re as young as you feel, and all those other clichés that, when applied liberally, work much like salve on dry and wrinkly skin.
But feel-good truisms aside – those truisms are, after all, nothing more than Botox for the brain (and generally not true, either) — the answer is yes, we are. I may do all in my power not to act like it in public, and not to admit it, often, to myself, but old age is not-so slowly and ever-so-slyly creeping up on us.
During our year of travels across America, Ace and I became the same age. For six years, he was the youngster and I the elder. Then he caught up, as dogs do, and while I stayed 57, he passed me – at least according to the mathematical formula we’re basing all this on.
I don’t need math to know I’m getting old. There are reminders everyday – like the day I tried to open the front door of my apartment by pointing my car key at it and pushing the unlock button, like the day I put Preparation H on my toothbrush, like all those times I’ve been enjoying the smell of coffee brewing only to realize I neglected to place the pot in the machine.
On top of these golden moments of mental lapse, on top of the physiological ones, such as hills, or stairs, that magically get steeper each time you go up them, there are visual reminders, too, and they may be the most painful of all – those mirror moments when your generous perception of yourself and harsh reality collide.
A couple of weeks ago, driving down the interstate with my son, I saw a truly hideous sight. My window was open; my left arm – you remember my left arm – was resting on it, forming an “L,” my hand on the roof.
Did you ever see your grandma, in a sleeveless outfit, screw in a light bulb? Remember how the underside of her upper arm, that pasty part that never gets any sun, became something of a kinetic miracle — excess skin in perpetual motion, like a slowly swinging hammock, or perhaps a pendulum would be a better analogy?
This was worse than that.
When Ace sticks his head out the window, the effect is something like a facelift — his loose skin is pushed back, giving him that tightened-up look, like Joan Rivers has. The same cannot be said of my arm.
The wind, at 65 miles per hour, was not just sending my skin to flapping, almost audibly, but transforming my arm into an entirely different shape, stretching it out like Silly Putty and yet, at the same time, accentuating all the leathery wrinkles that I’d never noticed before. It seemed an alien appendage. I stared at it in something close to horror. “Look what’s happening to my arm,” I told my son. “Let’s turn the air conditioner on.” (It occurred to me my left arm would be less flabby if we still had roll-up windows.)
If you’ve been following the continuing adventures of Marshmallow Man and Wonder Dog, as we’re thinking of renaming our saga, you know that Ace is six, going on seven and that, in recent months, he has been slowed by some back troubles. He seems to have gotten over them, though he’s still using the ramp to get into the back of the car. (That’s him in the first three photos, young Ace on the top left, current Ace on the top right; these others are other old dogs I have known and loved.)
You know that I am a not-particularly-buff, not-particularly-health-conscious 57 — about the same age John Steinbeck was when he set off on his trip across America with his poodle, Charley.
You may realize, too, that Travels with Ace has been — in addition to a modern-day retracing of Steinbeck’s route, in addition to a search for dog friendliness and human friendliness, in addition to seeking out America’s dog-loving soul — a quest for identity. (At least for me; Ace seems comfortable with his.)
Being a newspaper reporter without a newspaper, an author whose book was finished, a workaholic without work, I think that, in addition to showing my dog a good time, I was trying to find my new self. My old self – a newspaper reporter, for 34 years – was gone, ever since I left my last job in 2008, departing an industry that was sickly, desperately searching for a cure and not aging gracefully at all.
I left to write a book and, even though it has been published, I have trouble proclaiming myself an author. Maybe you’re not an author until you’ve written two books. “Rambling Man” was a great identity, and a great time, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Being a “Blogger” doesn’t pay the bills, either, or work for me as an identity. Everybody in the world is a blogger.
As an adult, I’ve always identified myself – rightly or wrongly — through my occupation, probably because it was what I was most proud of. I’m less proud of the industry now. And I’m not sure what to make of myself. I’m nearing retirement age but in no position to do that. The uncertainty, the trepidations, the lack of confidence are similar to the feelings I had when I started my first real job in Tucson, even as I approach “senior” status, though I’m not sure when that kicks in these days.
In some ways, Travels with Ace has been a coming of age story. Unfortunately, that age is 57.
Fifty-seven has its advantages – I just don’t remember them right now — but to be honest (OK, there’s one of them) it is not the prime of life, for either man or dog.
I think Ace and I concur on this point.
When we gaze into each other’s eyes for extended periods of time, as we are wont to do, having wordless conversations that somehow sum up the sum total, and then sum, of the shared pain, joy, uncertainty, contentment, confusion, gratitude, respect and love that make us us — I get the feeling we are on the same page, and the same paragraph. I get the feeling that, being peers now, age-wise, we are even more bonded and syncopated.
In those silent conversations, we encourage each other to live in the moment, because our hips could go out in the next one.
As best as I can figure, it was somewhere around Fargo, curiously enough (for one actual winter there seems like five years) that our aging arcs intersected. It most likely happened in a Motel 6 (which in dog years would be Motel 42).
There are various formulas for converting dog years into human ones. Under the traditional view, one human year equals seven dog years. That would make Ace about 45. But that formula has been all but thrown out the window by experts. According to most recent research, which incorporates a dog’s size into the equation, your big dog is probably older than you think he is, and aging at a truly frightening clip.
Based on the formula we’re inclined to believe — you can see the chart we’re using here — Ace and I converged at the age, in human terms, of 57. By the time I’m 60, Ace will be nearing 70. By the time I’m 65, Ace, if he’s still around, while 13 in actual years, will have passed 100 in dog ones.
It’s not fair. It’s not fair at all – and by that I mean aging in general, and the fact that dogs age more quickly, and the fact that a big dog ages so much more rapidly than a yappy little one.
A yappy little one – and we know all little ones aren’t yappy, and love them even if they are – lives much longer. When Ace turns 100, a little one, on earth for the same amount of time, would only be 60.
My hopes are that, being a certified mutt, Ace might outlive comparably sized purebreds, and that if we both drop 10 pounds or so, we might buy some extra time, which we can spend whimpering and groaning about our aches and pains.
As near seniors, though I am running ahead in terms of my fur turning grey, I think we are both a little crankier, more easily annoyed. We both sleep more and grumble more.
We heave more sighs, and utter more harrumphs – getting down on the floor harrumphs, getting up from the floor harrumphs, getting resituated harrumphs, and sometimes harrumphs that have no apparent reason at all.
We both walk more slowly, and only rarely see cause to run.
We both take more pleasure in consuming food, and in voiding ourselves of it. One attaches more importance to digestive issues the older one gets, leading to our motto: Stay regular, but be exceptional.
We both have energy spurts. I’m not sure where his come from. He uses them to chase something briefly, chew a stick, get some human attention, or to just joyfully romp for a couple of minutes. I get mine from coffee, and use them to write things like this, or clean the house.
John Steinbeck, when, 50 years ago, he took the trip we emulated, was 58. He was chronically cranky by then. He missed the “good old days” and wondered “what’s this world coming to,” like old men do everywhere. Were it not for his poodle, who he took along as an afterthought, “Travels With Charley” – in addition to just being “Travels” — would have been one extended, ponderous, but well-written downer.
Steinbeck seemed seething with impatience at times, stuck in the past a lot and not an entirely happy camper, on those occasions he actually camped, or at least alleged that he did.
The most glorious moments in the book, the most graceful moments in the book, Steinbeck’s most patient and whimsical moments in the book, all revolved around Charley.
As with life, the book’s best moments centered on the dog. I am of the opinion there should have been much more Charley in the book, and that there should be a dog in the life of every person nearing 60, or above it.
That’s not just because they are exemplars of growing old gracefully. It’s also because it’s good to have a dog around when we grow old, especially if one is growing old alone, and even though the dog is growing old faster.
A dog helps us fight the crankiness, avoid an all-too-somber and serious outlook on life, keep the mind open and the legs moving, and, I think most important of all, maintain the whimsy.
Some people lose the whimsy way before they get old. Life, they seem to think, is too serious a proposition to waste time doing something spontaneous, or outlandish or just plain silly, something that doesn’t further their personal goals. It’s a terrible thing to see an old young person. It’s a wonderful thing to see a young old person.
Whimsy, I think, is the key, and if you don’t understand what I mean by whimsy look at it this way: It’s the human equivalent of a dog’s wagging tail. It states “I’m up for it,” “I’m open to suggestions,” “Let’s take a trip with no destination.”
It says, “Guess which direction I’m going to go in?”
It says, “OK, I’m going to do something really goofy now.”
It says, “Even with all that life has thrown at me, I’m still happy. Haha.”
The whimsy is easier to maintain when you have a dog – it being a whimsical creature itself.
Getting tied to a routine, and making that routine the most important thing in the world, is part of getting older. It’s also a whimsy-killer. I think an underlying reason we set off on our trip in the first place was the feeling that we — and using the editorial “we” when I mean I could be another sign of aging, I never used to do that — had fallen too far into a routine, and were sinking into it like quicksand.
Now that the trip is over, now that we’re settled down, at least for now, it sometimes seems like something’s gaining on us.
What do you think that might be? Actually, I don’t much care what you think. (Not caring what others think is often described as another benefit of being old, but in truth I haven’t fully reached that point yet.)
The biggest downside of getting old, of course, is death. I find myself thinking about it more, but that could be because, for my book, I spent a year immersed in the topic, at least as it applied to dogs. Part of it, too, may be spending more time at the retirement community in which my mother lives, where at least every month there’s a reminder of it.
But probably the biggest part is the simple and steady tick tock of advancing time, that swinging pendulum, mechanically and monotonously dancing towards what’s inevitable – despite the best efforts of doctors and scientists, drugs and cosmetic surgery.
The only real way to combat it is with a wag of the tail.
My brother says he once asked my mother how she would like her remains disposed of after death – if she wanted to be buried or cremated.
“Surprise me,” she said.
Now that’s whimsy.
(Tomorrow: The kudzu dogs return)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, aches, aging, aging gracefully, america, author, blog, blogger, book, cranky, death, dog inc., dog years, dogs, elderly, fargo, flapping skin, getting old, grouchy, growing old, grumpy, human years, humans, identity, john steinbeck, newspapers, old dogs, old man, outlook, pains, purpose, reporters, retirement, road trip, seniors, tail, tired, travels with ace, travels with charley, wag, wagging tail, whimsy, years
Those ducks I keep telling you about — the flock that’s experiencing a baby boom around the pond at the retirement community in which my mother lives?
They’ve finally got some big time press coverage:
The mainstream media (I started calling it that when I waded out of the newspaper business) made its way to the pond last week.
A reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal put together a story and video on the baby boom at the old folks home, which touched on what’s most interesting — to me, anyway — about the whole affair:
Ducks, like dogs, can unite us humans — in a way we can’t always manage to pull off on our own.
The Journal piece focused on Bo Bowers, the Arbor Acres resident who took it upon himself to restore the retirement community’s dwindling duck population.
Bowers bought a collection of ducklings, raised them at his home and released them around the Arbor Acres pond. After that, they took over and started reproducing on their own, under Bowers’ watchful eyes.
When the new generation started hatching, Bowers — to protect them from being harassed by cranky geese or eaten by turtles and other predators — snagged many of them up and took them home. There he raises them in cages, feeding them his special mix of beans, squash, corn, tomatoes and zucchini. When they are old enough to fend for themselves, he takes them back to the pond, where many residents delight in watching and feeding them.
“I think it’s interesting how the ducks have united a lot of people. Some people who have never talked to each other before will begin a conversation because they will be standing there looking at the ducks and start talking about them,” Bowers’ partner, Steven Dunn said.
Bowers said some residents have given him a hard time for taking the eggs from the mothers before they hatch.
“Many people worry about me stealing the babies, but I tell them it’s not like a mammal that gives milk or nurses them. With a duck, or any kind of bird, (if) you take their babies, they could care less. Thirty minutes later, they are going to be laying eggs again.”
All of the ducks at Arbor Acres are named after residents and staffers — including one, who recently hatched about a dozen babies, who’s named after my mother.
Bowers reintroduction program has been so successful that he’s now having to find new homes for some of the ducks. He has sold about 30, the Journal reported, with the money going into a fund for the residents.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, arbor acres, baby ducks, bo bowers, community, ducklings, ducks, eggs, nature, pets, retirement, unite, video, wildlife, winston-salem, winston-salem journal
When word spreads that Ace is visiting, as it inevitably does, she’s always one of the first to drop by – eager to reconnect with her canine friend.
“Where is that beautiful dog?” she’ll ask me if she sees me without Ace – as she did over the weekend in the dining hall. “Is he asking about me? I’m sure he must be wondering where I am. He wants me to come by and see him, doesn’t he?”
After Sunday “dinner,” which, this being the south, is served at lunchtime, Jo dropped by, knocking quietly on my mother’s door. Ace ran to it and, as soon as I opened it, commenced to snuggling with Jo, taking a seat so that he might more easily be petted and, when she momentarily stopped, reaching out for her with his paw.
While we told you last week about Arbor Acre’s ducks, and the blue heron couple nesting there, there’s one more form of wildlife we forgot to mention — a species Ace’s friend Jo apparently had an up close and personal experience with last week.
She was sitting on her couch Saturday morning when a housekeeper noticed something moving beneath her sheets. Moving the bedding around, the housekeeper found a frog – which apparently had spent the night under the sheets with Jo.
“We always called them hoppy toads,” Jo explained. After a few minutes of excitement, the housekeeper managed to corral the frog and usher it back outside. No one has the slightest idea how it might have gotten in.
“I didn’t get a chance to kiss it,” she said. “I’ll never know if he was my prince.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, arbor acres, community, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, elderly, frog, kiss, north carolina, ohmidog!, pets, prince, retirement, road trip, senior, seniors, toad, travel, traveling with dogs, wildlife, winston-salem
Other than Ace’s periodic visits, there’s probably nothing residents of Arbor Acres — a retirement community in Winston-Salem — like better than the ducks that waddle and swim in and around the large pond that graces the acreage.
Actually, even though Ace has some pretty big time fans there, the ducks probably rate higher – at least in the eyes of some residents, including my own mother (that’s her to the left, explanation to follow). She, I think it’s safe to say, prefers watching ducks outside her window to having a dog inside her room.
On at least one occasion, she harbored some fugitive newborn ducks who, like all newborn ducks, needed a little protection from the bigger creatures, like foxes and turtles, who tend to snatch them away.
Because of that, the duck population at Arbor Acres sometimes dwindles down to a precious few, and the residents who like to watch them, feed them, and sometimes name them, worry about losing the closest thing many of them have to pets.
(Dogs are allowed there, but only a handful of residents have them.)
Instead, most often, they enjoy the animals nature provides, the ducks, the geese, the fish in the pond and the two blue herons that call the area around the pond home for much of the year.
Sometimes though, even nature needs a hand.
And that’s where Bo Bowers came in.
Bo, who moved into the community in March, brought with him some duck-raising skills, and when the duck census recently dropped he made a deal with the administration — if they provided materials to build the pens, he’d buy some baby ducks and raise them until they were big enough to survive on their own.
He ordered 16 baby ducklings — of five different breeds — through a catalog. They were 12 days old when they were delivered, and he started feeding them in the 4-foot by 12-foot cage, complete with swimming pool, set up behind his home.
Last month, in a ceremony attended by many residents, he “launched” his babies, releasing them into the pond as residents, staff and at least one TV news outfit looked on. Many of the ducks, by then, had been named after residents, including one named Jo, after my mother.
Bowers has been raising fowl — including some blue ribbon winners — almost his whole life, he said. “They are like my children.”
Wake up early enough and you can see Bowers, tall and gangly, striding down a sidewalk with the still-growing ducks following him. He puts out food, talks to them, takes a count to make sure everyone’s still there.
Two of the ducks are of a breed called white crested.
They have tufts of feathers on their head, like bouffant hairdos — quackfros, we called them. There are black ones, brown ones and silvery blue ones, and, diverse group that they are, they all, after several weeks, still hang together – a pack, as it were.
At least two residents warned me to keep Ace away from the ducks, though he has little interest other than watching them.
I’m pretty sure dogs don’t rule at Arbor Acres. Ducks do.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, aging, animals, arbor acres, community, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, ducks, ducky, herons, nature, north carolina, ohmidog!, pets, photography, pond, retirement, road trip, wildlife, winston-salem
Izzy was a police dog in Longmont, Colorado until an on-the-job injury led to his retirement. Now, more than two years later, he’s in need of surgery — related to that injury — that could cost $6,000.
That the Fraternal Order of Police in Longmont is turning to the public to try and raise that money is noble.
That they are forced to is wrong.
“He worked for us for nine years and he did a lot of good work in those nine years,” Detective Steve Schulz, president of the Longmont FOP, told the Longmont Times-Call.
As I see it, Longmont owes Izzy for that.
A police dog that serves his city – like a soldier who serves his country — deserves to be taken care of by that city, especially when his injuries are related to that service.
And he deserves to be taken care of FOREVER.
Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Retired police dogs in some jurisdictions are euthanized when their service is complete. Others allow them to retire and remain in the care of their partner/handler.
At that point, as with Izzy, the city cuts off any assistance with care, feeding or veterinary bills.
As Izzy’s handler, Detective Bruce Vaughan pointed out, in the city’s view, dogs are “equipment.”
Izzy was injured while helping catch a suspect in April 2007. After crashing his truck in a high-speed chase, the suspect ran. Izzy chased him down. In the fray that followed, the dog was flipped over and suffered an injury to his spine, which Vaughan said has been diagnosed as a ruptured disk.
The suspect, who had led police on two previous chases,and reportedly had pointed a gun at the head of two different women, was convicted in December 2007 on menacing and drug charges and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Other than the injury, which makes it difficult for the dog to use his hind legs, Vaughan said, Izzy is healthy. “He still has a puppy face. He’s got a lot of energy,” he said.
Donations for the surgery, estimated to cost $6,000, can be made to FOP No. 6 K9 Fund, in care of Guarantee Bank and Trust, P.O. Box 1159, Longmont, Colo. 80502.
Dog-lovers, I suspect, will likely come through for Izzy.
It’s a shame that city he served did not.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 1st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: benefits, care, colorado, dogs, fraternal order of police, fund, izzy, K-9, k9, longmont, medical, news, police, police dogs, retired, retirement, surgery, veterinary
Nursing homes and senior-living residences are rewriting their old-fashioned rules and increasingly allowing pets to move in, USA Today reported today.
Dogs, cats and rabbits — even a kangaroo – are roaming the halls, lounging on sofas and sharing rooms at a growing number of retirement homes across the country, and in the process making them more loving places.
Some have been adopted as communal pets, rescued from shelters to live in a facility full time; others are animals that residents brought with them.
“Animals are all-accepting. They don’t care about whatever issues a person might have,” said Noralyn Snow, administrator at the Silverado Senior Living Aspen Park Community in Salt Lake City, where seven dogs, six cats, 40 birds and a baby kangaroo live with 100 memory-impaired residents. “And having pets around adds excitement and spontaneity.
“People grow up with animals, have had them all their lives, and this is their home now, so why wouldn’t they have pets here?” says Helene King, communication coordinator for Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital in Baltimore, one of 300 facilities worldwide operating under the “Eden Alternative” philosophy, which integrates animals, plants and contact with children into daily routines to keep the elderly engaged. “It makes such a big difference in their lives.”
Traditionally, most administrators frowned upon animals living in residences for the elderly, citing allergies, and liability cocerns related to residents getting knocked down, bitten or scratched.
USA Today concludes there have been few problems. “We just haven’t experienced a downside,” King says.