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This article was published 7/3/2016 (350 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but some senior canines had no trouble charming the residents at River Ridge Retirement Residence last week.
On Feb. 29, the Rivergrove retirement home hosted Seniors Loving Seniors, a pet adoption event for Before the Bridge Senior K9 Rescue.
Before the Bridge was founded in 2012 by Judy Smith-Hill. The Stony Mountain, Man. resident rescues seniors dogs — aged seven and up — and finds loving homes for them to live out their days.
"We know how much seniors still have to contribute to everything in society, so we thought this was a perfect match," said Leslie Fiorino, director of health and wellness at River Ridge Retirement Residence, an All Seniors Care living centre.
Since older dogs require less exercise, are already house-trained and have got past that constantly-chewing-the-couch puppy phase, they can make an ideal pet for senior citizens.
"Everybody automatically gravitates toward a cute little puppy, but a puppy might not necessarily meet the criteria of what someone’s abilities are. Senior dogs have a lot more flexibility as a viable pet option," Fiorino said.
Still, Smith-Hill said it’s not just seniors that are adopting older dogs.
"We just had a gal that is going to university that adopted from us and I asked her why would she pick a senior dog. She said ‘I have six years to devote to a dog. I have six more years of schooling and then I don’t know where I’ll be. I don’t have 20 years’," Smith-Hill said.
Smith-Hill said the adoption fee for a Before the Bridge rescued senior dog — be it big or little, purebred or mutt — is $175. She said all of the organizations dogs are fixed and have up-to-date shots.
Also, Before the Bridge clients can be assured that their dog will always be cared for, no matter what happens to them.
"If a resident (at River Ridge) was to adopt a dog and then a couple years down the road had a health issue or was unable to take care of the dog, guess what, we take the dog back and take care of the dog," Smith-Hill said.
"There’s some comfort to people adopting a dog to know the dog isn’t going to end up goodness knows where."
Lightning, a Before the Bridge dog, looked pretty content on River Ridge resident Joyce Leslie’s lap. Although Leslie wasn’t looking to adopt on this day, that wasn’t going to stop her from petting a pooch or two.
"I like dogs. I always had dogs when I lived in a house. They’re very good company," Leslie said.
Fiorino said River Ridge receives therapy dog visits once a week. She said just the pure presence of cute canines at the retirement home is beneficial to the residents.
"It’s like bringing kids into the building. All of a sudden the energy level goes through the roof. For a lot of people here, it’s just nice to come sit and visit with the dogs," Fiorino said.