Age UK York
Age UK York say:
In 2020-2021 the Purey Cust Trust made a grant of £2500 toward Keep Your Pet.
Keep Your Pet services are carried out by volunteers who have undergone rigorous vetting and training, with foster homes undergoing a home assessment by York, Harrogate and District RSPCA.
Our service was able to continue throughout the pandemic, following risk assessment of all our activities and infection control training of staff and volunteers. We felt it was particularly important that pets were cared for so that older people continued to seek health care during this period.
Between April 2020-March 2021 we supported 119 individual older people through this scheme.
In addition, we provided many owners, family members, social services and hospital staff with advice regarding the care of pets. People have been unable to leave their homes due to self-isolating and therefore have required support taking animals to the vets and collecting food. We have continued help those owners who are most at risk and have the greatest needs to walk their dogs throughout lockdown and have continued to foster dogs that were already in our care, as well as a steady stream of new ones. We were also able to boost the support available to vulnerable older people during this time, by acting as another point of contact – our volunteers have contacted each owner regularly by telephone to have a chat and a catch up.
The donation from the Purey Cust Trust also allowed us to look at ways to develop the service to help older people regain their social connections and routines following lockdowns.
Keep Your Pet was approached to help set up and be an active partner in a new outdoor dog café in Acomb, due to the success of our café in Clifton. The aims of the new café are: –
- To provide opportunities to connect local people, particularly individuals who may be at risk of loneliness/isolation through their interest and love of dogs.
- To run a regular inclusive community dog café in local areas for people of all ages and friendly dogs.
- To provide opportunities to interact with dogs and meet like-minded people.
- To provide opportunities to develop new friendships and social support/networks in local areas.
We strolled round the park together along with the invited guests (previous clients of Keep Your Pet who would benefit from gentle exercise and social connection) then had a cup of tea and a slice of cake!
Lulu’s owner is 85 years old and broke her pelvis following a fall while trying to put on her dog’s lead. After discharge from hospital, she required several weeks’ recuperation and then needed to develop the confidence and physical mobility to return to more independent living and have her dog back home with her. Lulu’s wellbeing was a key motivator for her.
KYP were able to devise a flexible programme of walks for Lulu which also met the owner’s needs while she regained some of her independence and physical strength. Over time the programme is being amended as required so that the owner can begin some gentle walks herself, with the reassurance that Lulu will still get longer walks with volunteers, and that they can also increase their visits at short notice if health issues or bad weather make this necessary.