Laura Granger with Maddie who was recently fostered and then adopted by a volunteer after the death of her owner and past client. Photo submitted

Laura Granger with Maddie who was recently fostered and then adopted by a volunteer after the death of her owner and past client. Photo submitted

Doing ‘paws’-itive work in the Comox Valley

Many volunteers form close bonds with the clients and dogs

A group assisting older adults in the care and well-being of their dogs is establishing roots in the Comox Valley.

ElderDog Canada is a national, community-based non-profit providing free assistance with daily activities such as dog walking, transportation to vet visits and food delivery.

There are 26 ElderDog chapters across eight provinces within the country, with around 2,700 volunteers.

The Comox Valley chapter has received the support of a few local veterinarians who can assist in providing care.

Laura Granger, the chapter’s dog care support co-ordinator, said she connected with the organization about a year ago as she is a dog owner with a chronic illness that can affect her mobility and independence.

“A community safety net is important, and I love the idea of supporting my senior community members to preserve the human-animal bond when unpredictable changes occur in their lives,” she explained.

There are four volunteers on the executive team, focusing on a variety of areas including dog care support, rehoming, communications, education and outreach, and managing finances and donations.

Currently, the group has a pool of nearly 100 volunteers who travel through the community to walk, transport dogs to and from the vet, deliver dog food, do minor grooming, foster dogs for clients who may be in the hospital and in some cases, adopt.

“Volunteers determine their level of participation within ElderDog. A volunteer may opt for one walk per week or multiple walks with the same or different dogs, it’s up to them,” said Granger. “The executives helping to facilitate can spend upwards of 20-30 hours per week. We are always looking for more volunteers.”

Granger noted now that the organization is in the Comox Valley, it has become clear to see how important its role is within the community. They are supporting 16 clients who have come to ElderDog for various reasons.

Many of the dogs in care are receiving daily walks from multiple volunteers, and some even get several walks a day depending on the situation. Some only need it for a short period of time, and the organization will be helping many indefinitely.

Granger said there is also another benefit to what they do.

“As we know, many people were very isolated during the pandemic. ElderDog has provided a lifeline for some and strong friendships have been built with daily check-ins our clients look forward to. And the benefits go both ways. Many of our volunteers form close bonds with the clients and dogs. It can be a very reciprocal relationship.”

For more information or to volunteer, contact ElderDog Comox Valley at elderdogcvdcs@gmail.com or call 1-855-336-4226.



photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Volunteer