Cou­ple wants help for se­niors who want to keep their pets

‘It just breaks your heart to have some­thing you love for all those years and you’re told you’re not al­lowed to keep it’

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - EDITORIAL - BY KYLE GREEHMAN

With an up­com­ing move, a Port Saun­ders se­nior has to say good­bye to her beloved cat.

As she pre­pares to go to a se­niors’ home, 75-year-old Glo­ria Par­sons is hop­ing to find her cat, Bali, a new home be­fore she and hus­band Clif­ford have to go.

Par­sons has had the cat for 14 years, and is up­set she’s been left with no other choice than to part with her pet.

“It just breaks your heart to have some­thing you love for all those years and you’re told you’re not al­lowed to keep it,” said Par­sons.

“When you lose an an­i­mal you’ve cared for like this, it’s al­most as bad as los­ing a mem­ber of the fam­ily.”

Par­sons says it’s all too com­mon for se­niors to have to give up their an­i­mals when they move to a place where they can re­ceive care. She posted a mes­sage on Face­book hop­ing some­one would take the ag­ing cat to save her from hav­ing to be eu­th­a­nized. She man­aged to find a home for Bali in Labrador City.

If that hadn’t panned out, Par­sons would have taken the cat to Cor­ner Brook to be put down and cre­mated. She says de­spite the cat’s age, Bali is a healthy fe­line.

“I hoped and prayed some­one would take her, so we don’t have to get her put down,” she said.

Par­sons told the North­ern Pen she’s not look­ing to blame the home she’s mov­ing to, but she hopes some­thing can be done for se­niors who find them­selves in the same sit­u­a­tion.

“I’m not point­ing no fin­gers,” she said. “The point I would like to make is, why can’t gov­ern­ment or some­body make ways for se­nior cit­i­zens to have a pet to keep them com­pany? It’s just some­thing that should be looked in to.

“The com­pas­sion for an­i­mals is my ma­jor con­cern.”

Var­i­ous stud­ies have been pub­lished show­ing the pos­i­tive im­pact pets have on se­niors, in terms of both men­tal and phys­i­cal health.

Amer­i­can vet­eri­nar­ian Dr. Kather­ine Hillestad says re­search has shown pets can help se­niors by re­duc­ing de­pres­sion, low­er­ing blood pres­sure, and in­creas­ing so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

Par­sons hopes the gov­ern­ment or some or­ga­ni­za­tion can step in to help se­niors who may lose their pets in the fu­ture to sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances.

“At our age, to have some kind of pet that keeps you com­pany, a lot of times you don’t have any­thing else,” she said.

PHOTO BY KYLE GREENHAM

Glo­ria and Clif­ford Par­sons have had their cat, Bali, for the past 14 years. Now that they’re mov­ing to a se­nior’s home, they have to give the cat away. Glo­ria said it’s like los­ing a mem­ber of her fam­ily.

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