Golden Oldies

If you are look­ing for a new pet why not con­sider adopt­ing an older dog which will fill your home with love, af­fec­tion and joy?

EDP Norfolk - - Pets -

EV­ERY YEAR, count­less pets are given up or aban­doned by their own­ers and the search for a new home for them be­gins.

But while young, healthy, sprightly dogs are of­ten sought af­ter, older pets can be harder to re-home de­spite of­ten be­ing the most won­der­ful, lov­ing com­pan­ions.

The Oldies Club is a na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion which works specif­i­cally with older dogs – and it was the plight of Ted – a 13-yearold dog dis­cov­ered lost on the streets of War­ring­ton – which saw the char­ity founded.

Chair­man Carolyn Ast­bury ex­plains: “A small group of like minded peo­ple, linked by their love of dogs and mem­bers of the same fo­rum, read of Ted’s plight and de­cided to do some­thing to help him. Ted had been found stray­ing in Cheshire, and sent to ken­nels. No owner came for­ward, so they de­cided to try and help him. An of­fer of a fos­ter home came about and see­ing him flour­ish, lots of peo­ple of­fered to give Ted a per­ma­nent home. There were so many peo­ple want­ing to of­fer an older dog a home, and so many older dogs need­ing a home – they de­cided to put these two groups in touch. And that is how the Oldies Club started.”

She says while some oldies might still be very ac­tive and need a daily walk, per­fect for fam­i­lies and chil­dren, oth­ers might just want to pot­ter around the gar­den and snooze by your feet – which, she says, can be per­fect for some­one seek­ing a dog as a com­pan­ion but who can­not sat­isfy the ex­er­cise de­mands of a young dog.

“Also they are usu­ally past the chew­ing stage, are calmer, house trained and eas­ier to man­age than an ado­les­cent,” she smiles.

There are many rea­sons why older pets need re-hom­ing. An owner might pass away, be se­ri­ously ill or need to go into a care home or dif­fer­ent ac­com­mo­da­tion where pets aren’t al­lowed.

The char­ity doesn’t have res­cue cen­tres, in­stead it has a net­work of ded­i­cated fos­ter car­ers, open­ing up their homes and hearts to older dogs while a per­ma­nent home is sought. Any­one can ap­ply to be­come a fos­terer de­pend­ing on cer­tain cri­te­ria. There are sev­eral in East Anglia al­ready and the char­ity is al­ways look­ing for more.

“We aim to sup­port our fos­ter­ers as much as we sup­port our dogs, and ev­ery­one has a ded­i­cated fos­ter sup­port per­son; we cover all vet’s bills for our oldies in fos­ter care and only ask that you pro­vide their food, un­less they re­quire a spe­cial diet.

“It is our aim to en­sure that an Oldies Club dog is shown re­spect from the minute they come into our care for the rest of their lives. We in­sist on adopters go­ing to meet the dog in its fos­ter home, so if things don’t work out, the dog isn’t af­fected. We have a su­perb after­care co­or­di­na­tor avail­able for the rest of the dog’s life, and if for any rea­son an adopter is un­able to con­tinue look­ing af­ter their dog, we will al­ways take it back.”

To be­come a fos­terer, or to adopt a dog, see www.oldies.org.uk

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