New program pairs animals marked for death with seniors

Submitted photoThis cat, named Larry, was successfully adopted and now has a happy home.
Submitted photoThis cat, named Larry, was successfully adopted and now has a happy home.
Submitted photoThis cat, named Abby, was scheduled to be euthanized, but has been rescued by David Middleton.
Submitted photoThis cat, named Abby, was scheduled to be euthanized, but has been rescued by David Middleton.

Lionville>>Senior citizens interested in finding a senior companion will have no problem thanks to a new local program launching next month. The companion? A senior pet.

Seniors for Seniors, a new initiative from the Tails of the Free! Animal Rescue, will rescue senior animals from kill shelters and match them with interested seniors. Matching up two to three senior pairs a month “would be a good start” to the program, said David Middleton, the president of the rescue.

The program intends to meet the demand of those who cannot make a potential twenty-year commitment to a young pet but are still interested in an animal companion, Middleton said. The initiative began when Middleton rescued several senior cats from being euthanized.

The program intends to offer significant pet care support, including financial assistance with pet transportation, routine shots, basic veterinary care and grooming, said Shana Stephens, a volunteer for the rescue. Seniors will also be able to apply for financial aid for larger medical expenses.

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Middleton plans to fund the program through fundraising and donations.

“Everyone seems really excited,” Middleton said. “I’m hopeful that we can get a lot of people who are willing to donate into this.”

If a senior feels they are no longer able to care for the pet, the rescue organization will take the animal back, said Pat DeMarco, the coordinator of the Seniors for Seniors program.

“I felt I was the best one to (coordinate) this program because I’m a senior myself said DeMarco who is 64 years old and the owner of three cats that range from just over three years to 13 years in age. She began adopting cats after her husband passed away and found the responsibilities kept her busy and productive.

The program “will elongate the lives of the seniors and give them a purpose,” DeMarco said. “If I find a senior that wants an animal, and I find out that they don’t have family in the area, I will be calling to check on them, because I think every senior should have somebody checking on them.”

Seniors can email tailsofthefree.seniors@gmail.com to apply to become part of the program. A kick-off event is scheduled for August 19 at the Lionville PetValu from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.