Neighbourhoods
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

ElderDog Victoria helps seniors keep their canine companions

The Victoria pawd, currently 100-strong, is looking to expand

By Emily Fagan
January 21, 2022
Neighbourhoods
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

ElderDog Victoria helps seniors keep their canine companions

The Victoria pawd, currently 100-strong, is looking to expand

By Emily Fagan
Jan 21, 2022
Capital Daily is part of the Trust Project
Neighbourhoods
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

ElderDog Victoria helps seniors keep their canine companions

The Victoria pawd, currently 100-strong, is looking to expand

By Emily Fagan
January 21, 2022
Get the news and events in Victoria, in your inbox every morning.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
ElderDog Victoria helps seniors keep their canine companions
ElderDog dog walkers at their monthly group walk event. Photo: Submitted

Subscribe today to The Good Newsletter, Capital Daily’s weekly spotlight on uplifting stories and community resources, to receive good news in your inbox every Friday.

Chester, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, had just found a home with a Greater Victoria-area senior when disaster struck: his owner hurt her leg, leaving her struggling to care for him and her 15-year-old mixed-breed King. His owner was concerned—would she be able to keep and care for both dogs during her recovery?

She didn’t have to worry long, however. After contacting ElderDog, a charity dedicated to supporting older dog owners in caring for their canine companions, three volunteers pitched in to provide Chester and King with regular walks while their owner healed. Now fully recovered, she is grateful to have been able to keep her little family together in spite of her injury.

“It's so easy to support people in this way, and it's so rewarding,” said Margot Inches, an ElderDog volunteer.

The national organization opened its Victoria “pawd,” or chapter, three years ago. In that time, the Victoria pawd has grown to a community of about 100 volunteers helping with free care for more than 30 dogs. Volunteers travel throughout communities on southern Vancouver Island to walk, wash, and sometimes even drop off food and other supplies for four-legged friends.

Although ElderDog’s services are mostly centred around supporting seniors and older dogs, they also offer their assistance to people who need help caring for their dogs due to illness, injury, or disabilities.

“The pet companion relationship plays an important role in people's lives, especially as they get older,” Inches said. “When these curveballs hit them, we help them with that.”

For community members, especially seniors, who have more limited social interactions as a result of the pandemic, Inches says being able to maintain these relationships with their pets can make a big difference.

However, when owners sometimes decide that they ultimately can not care for their dogs anymore, ElderDog’s national network of volunteers steps up to find a new home for them.

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become a Member

“We do our best to try and support finding another forever home,” said Caitlin Best, communications coordinator for the Victoria pawd.

“Even if there's a dog in need in say, New Brunswick, we still do our best to try and spread the word.”

Throughout the time Best has spent with the Victoria pawd, she says they never fail in astonishing her with their kindness and willingness to get involved. She witnessed one of the pawd coordinators sending out an email in search of volunteers to match with six new dogs, and within 24 hours, all of the positions were filled.

“I’ve never seen that kind of uptake before where people are so ready to jump in and do whatever is required to make sure that clients and pets are looked after,” Best said.

The time each volunteer puts into ElderDog each week is decided by them—one dog walk can take about an hour (depending on travel time), and volunteers who care for multiple dogs can spend about five to six hours looking after their needs. People who opt to be pawd leaders or board members might spend as much as 40 hours a week helping to facilitate ElderDog’s Victoria pawd.

A satisfied ElderDog participant. Photo: Submitted

Volunteers can also get involved in ElderDog’s monthly group walks, which usually occur on the 15th of every month.

As more community members discover ElderDog, the demand for their services continues to rise. Even with about 100 volunteers, Best says the Victoria pawd is anticipating they may soon struggle to keep up with the new clients. ElderDog never wants to turn away anyone needing help, and is actively looking for new volunteers.

The level of dedication within ElderDog’s volunteer base has led to many success stories, Best says, including many owners who were able to keep beloved pets they had for years. 

For Inches, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Every day she arrives at a home in Greater Victoria to walk their dog, she knows she’ll be greeted by an eagerly wagging tail and friendly faces.

“For the dogs that I've been with for a long time, their owners have become great friends of mine,” she said. “It's just a very lovely, warm, beneficial relationship.”

Subscribe today to The Good Newsletter, Capital Daily’s weekly spotlight on uplifting stories and community resources, to receive good news in your inbox every Friday.

Article Author's Profile Picture
EMAIL:
TWITTER:
contact@capitaldaily.ca

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become a Member

Related News

ElderDog Victoria helps seniors keep their canine companions
Stay connected to your city with the Capital Daily newsletter.
By filling out the form above, you agree to receive emails from Capital Daily. You can unsubscribe at any time.