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Service Keeps Seniors and Pets Together

by Chris Williams
A A
dog on leash
SoFie, flickr

Volunteers help seniors maintain their pets.

Everyone knows having a pet is a big responsibility; they require constant care and attention. For homebound seniors, this can be too much to handle. An organization in New York City helps elderly pet owners keep their pets with assistance from volunteers. 

Reverend Renee Linn lives with her dog Angel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Angel is a nine-year-old Yorkshire terrier, and is full of energy. Reverend Linn, however, is homebound and unable to take Angel out for his daily walks. 
 
“He wants to go out, he likes to walk, he likes to run. He likes to do all the things that a healthy dog would like to do.”
 
Through the Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) Reverend Linn receives help from five volunteers to make sure Angel gets to go outside. 
 
One volunteer, Janet Anast comes 6 days a week and says Angel is her favorite out of the other dogs she walks.
 
“I call him the mayor of 74th Street,” she says, “Everyone likes to pet him; he’s a special little dog.” 
 
Reverend Linn says she’s grateful for the help she receives since it keeps her and Angel together. She lives alone, and Angel is more than a dog. He’s family.
 
“I’ve had him with me so many years now and he’s very special. I don’t know what I would do without him.” 
 
In addition to daily walks, JASA’s pet service offers trips to the vet and shopping for food and supplies.
 

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