THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall

PETLINKS is a com­mu­nity- based ser­vice for peo­ple who need help car­ing for their pets. About 30 vol­un­teers help with daily dog- walk­ing and groom­ing tasks, pro­vid­ing trans­port to the vet and step­ping in as tem­po­rary fos­ter car­ers if pet own­ers are un­well or hos­pi­talised. Sim­i­lar pro­grams are up and run­ning across the coun­try.

Other mo­ti­vated peo­ple drive pro­grams such as the Pet Med­i­cal Cri­sis Fund, which sup­ports peo­ple who are fi nd­ing it hard to meet vet costs.

A wide range of com­pan­ion an­i­mal sup­port pro­grams are meet­ing needs as our pop­u­la­tion ages and other so­cial and health vari­ables im­pact on pet own­er­ship.

Mo­ti­vated co- or­di­na­tors and an­i­mallov­ing vol­un­teers form part­ner­ships with outreach agen­cies to sup­port at- risk clients with pets.

The end re­sult is in­creased com­mu­nity con­nec­tions via pets.

Con­sider the case of an elderly re­tired person, sad­dened and alone af­ter the pass­ing of his dog.

Through a pet sup­port pro­gram, he was con­nected with a neigh­bour who worked full time and was leav­ing an un­happy dog alone all day.

The con­nec­tion re­sulted in the dog and elderly neigh­bour spend­ing their days hap­pily to­gether and a friend­ship be­tween the two neigh­bours, who both look out for each other in dif­fer­ent ways.

A Ho­bart reader of the col­umn has drafted a plan for a pet sup­port pro­gram lo­cally and is seek­ing a driver for that pro­gram. If this could be you, email the col­umn for a copy of the draft plan­ning doc­u­ment, ti­tled Dogs at Home – a mu­tual benefi t plan.

Prac­ti­cal pet sup­port pro­grams reap un­told re­wards for an­i­mals, own­ers, vol­un­teers and com­mu­ni­ties.

Email

abox­hall@ big­pond. com

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