9 Lives Seniors Pet Companionship Program Grows through new Partnership

In News & Media by FMSPCA Support

Claire is the latest senior to welcome in a senior feline companion named Athena.

The Fort McMurray SPCA (FMSPCA) is enjoying resurgence in their 9 Lives senior pet companionship program after formalizing a new partnership with St. Aidan’s Society and Wood Buffalo Housing.

The program which pairs senior animals in the care of the region’s only animal shelter with local seniors, had struggled to grow after successfully placing Cleo, a senior feline, in the long term care ward at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre and special needs cat Fuzzy. Since the new partnership was formalized just 12 weeks ago, 3 more senior felines have been successfully placed.

“We are grateful to our partners at the FMSPCA for this initiative and to Wood Buffalo Housing for supporting the introduction of this program into the Senior Housing facilities at Legion Manor and Araubasca House,” said Luana Bussieres, Executive Director St. Aidan’s Society. “Pet ownership for seniors has a multitude of benefits but none more important than the improvement of positive health outcomes and decreased feelings of loneliness and isolation. This program is already making a difference. “

Through this program, all food and veterinary costs are provided by the FMSPCA, as well as regular check-ups to ensure everyone is enjoying the companionship.

Trudee and her senior feline companion Cullen enjoy their days together.

“We are so happy to partner with St. Aidan’s and the FMSPCA on this initiative for our seniors in Araubasca House and Legion Manor,” said Henry Hunter, President and CEO of Wood Buffalo Housing. “The greatest part is seeing the smiles on the seniors’ faces when they first meet their new companion, and the bond that develops almost instantly.”

The FMSPCA is already working on additional placements for senior animals looking forward to enjoying their golden years in comfort. The program is being so well received by local seniors that there is now a waiting list to take in a furry companion from the shelter.

Trudy Tanner recently welcomed in her new feline companion Cullen. “I needed a pet after losing mine and to my door came Cullen. A big, soft, beautiful, gentle cuddle buddy. A perfect companion for me. This placement was a great win-win.”

FMSPCA executive director Arianna Johnson says the program offers senior animals and senior citizens the opportunity to spend their days together providing comfort for both that may not have been available outside of a program like 9 Lives.

“Permanent foster programs like this one are a great opportunity for a shared forever home that over comes barriers and brings warmth and love into their lives.”

Seniors interested in welcoming in a 9 Lives companion animal should contact FMSPCA Programs Coordinator Misty Schad at programs@fortmcmurrayspca.ca