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Residents of the Felicity Towers senior home center in Bloomfield, Ill. Have enrolled in the Pets for Seniors program organized by the Neighbor to Neighbor Network and had a “Meet the Animals” adoption event. Twenty five residents attended the event and three cats found new owners.

The Pets for Seniors program is beneficial for both the residents and the pets. Many traumatized animals require quiet and relaxed environments. Shelter volunteers visit the pets often to check on the pet’s wellbeing as well. The newly adopted animals are happy to have owners that have the time and patience required to take care of them.

The seniors do have to apply for the program. The requirements are set to ensure that adoption is a good choice for the applicant; they include age, income, among other requirements. The program is meant for low-income seniors. There is a great deal of financial assistance that is tied to the program, so screening is important for all parties involved.

The Pets for Seniors program began while one of NTNN’s elderly clients was grieving the loos of her son. “During her bereavement counseling, the client mentioned that her son loved cats and how the house was so lonely without him,” said De Santi. She was not able adopt a pet for financial reasons so Paula Peikes, NTNN Director, contacted the shelter.

An older cat who was abused its previous owner was brought to Peikes’ attention.  “The shelter was having trouble finding the cat a home because it needed a quiet and calm environment,” De Santi said. Peikes stepped in on the behalf of the client and collaborated with a local animal shelter so that the client could adopt the cat.

The animal counterparts of the Pets for Seniors deal are generally calmer and older.  NTNN sends shelter volunteers to the resident’s home and supply pet food, cat litter and other supplies. Volunteers also perform grooming tasks, such as monthly nail trimming.

To support the Pets for Seniors program may make a donation to NTNN. Volunteer positions are open as well to assist Bloomfield’s elderly and/or disabled and the shelter animals. Those interested in fostering an animal through Pets for Seniors may contact Stephanie De Santi at 973-680-4017.

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