Senior, his dog Jellybean find a home together
An 84-year-old who was struggling to find an affordable home for himself and his dog will have a new place to live at the end of January.Stan Parsons was searching for a unit to rent in his community of Crescent Heights after he was told his current lease was not being renewed. But everywhere he turned, he found policies banning all pets or dogs the size of his seven-yearold Labradoodle, Jellybean.Alice Wheaton learned of Parsons’ situation after Postmedia shared his story, and got in touch with the senior to offer him one of the units she rents out in the neighbourhood.Once he moves in later this month, he and Jellybean will still have easy access to the local dog park, where they are recognized by other residents. The senior will even have a yard to pursue one of his favourite hobbies once the snow melts: gardening.“It’s a great relief,” Parsons said Friday. “You’re sitting here wondering, wondering what you’re going to do. Now it’s solved with a lot of help from different people.”Wheaton said as a landlord, sheasks potential tenants to see the vet records for their dog, to ensure they are a responsible pet owner and that they will be a reliable renter. She added she has never had a problem with a pet owner as a tenant.“When I heard about Stan, it was like, ‘OK, well I have the means and I have the will,’” she said. “And I really wish that everyone else would see dogs and cats as an asset.”She made a concession in the rent to meet Parsons’ budget and will arrange to get furniture for him.“I could not imagine being 84 years old, loving my pet, and being told I had to give that up,” she said. “And to me, what I did is not life-saving for sure, but it’s lifeenhancing. And having seniors as part of our community, active, out and about, instead of behind closed doors, waiting for a family or friend to come visit them — that’s not a really great way to live.”Ann Toohey, scientific co-ordinator at the Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging at the University of Calgary and one of Parsons’ advocates, said solutions are still needed for the many other seniors who are unable to find subsidized or affordable housing for themselves and their animal companion.“I can’t say how delighted I am that we’ve managed to link a very deserving individual and his dog with a home,” she said. “It’s been such a heartbreaking issue.”But, she added, her heart “continues to break” for the many older adults who are told they need to part with their beloved pet to secure a place to live.“That is the reality right now for subsidized housing,” she said.
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