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’
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.
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.