Nfld. & Labrador

There's life in the old dog yet: ElderDog pairs older folks with pooches

ElderDog Canada, a Nova Scotia-based non-profit, wants to set up a chapter in St. John's.

National charity that helps seniors keep their dogs hoping to expand to N.L.

ElderDog founder Ardra Cole says older dogs like Lucy often have difficulty getting adopted once their elderly owner can't take care of them any longer. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

They're good boys and girls, even in their golden years.

That's why ElderDog Canada, a Nova Scotia-based not-for-profit that supports older dogs and their elderly humans, wants to set up a pawd — that's dog-speak for "chapter" — in St. John's.

"At this point it is a call for volunteers," said ElderDog Canada founder Ardra Cole. "It's really our dream to be coast-to-coast-to-coast."

ElderDog has helped rehome hundreds of dogs across Canada after their senior owner couldn't take care of them anymore. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

The group devotes its time to two areas of support: help for seniors with day-to-day dog care, like walking and grooming; and rehoming dogs when owners can no longer care for them.

"It's a harsh reality for a lot of older adults when they're no longer able to live at home, in their home, with their dog," she said.

It's a harsh reality for a lot of older adults when they're no longer able to live at home, in their home, with their dog.- Ardra Cole

"It's devastating, actually. I mean, it's really akin to the death of a dog."

Cole said most people looking for pets at shelters are seeking puppies — older dogs are not as adoptable. What's more, they're typically not very comfortable in shelters, which tend to be a lot busier than their old homes with older adults.

Rehoming older pooches

The good news is there are people looking to adopt older dogs out there. So many that existing ElderDog pawds have waiting lists. Most of their adoptees are 10-years-old or more.

Elizabeth Leighton of Antigonish, Nova Scotia adopted her new companion Lucy through ElderDog more than a year ago. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

"We try to place these older dogs with other older people who really want canine companionship but they don't want a puppy," Cole said.

"They can carry on with a lifestyle to which they're accustomed."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Maggie Gillis