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Finally – Pet friendly aged care facilities!

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One of the saddest moments I have ever witnessed happened a couple of years ago at the RSPCA QLD, back at their old Fairfield centre. I had been there photographing all day, it was getting close to 6pm and I was putting my gear back into the car. An elderly lady, obviously in a great deal of distress, walked up to the reception desk with her little white fluffy dog. I listened as her story unfurled.

This meant that she was going to have to relinquish the only family member she had left, her little dog, as she couldn’t find aged care that would also accept her pup.

Her husband had recently passed away, and as she was no longer able to look after herself, she was having to go into aged care. This meant that she was going to have to relinquish the only family member she had left, her little dog, as she couldn’t find aged care that would also accept her pup. She was absolutely heart broken, she had no family she could get to look after her dog, the only option she had was to entrust her much loved pet to the RSPCA to look after and rehome. She was in floods of tears as she spoke to the RSPCA receptionist, and her dog was very obviously distressed. I will never forget the scene, it fills me up as I think about now.

What a disgusting way to treat our seniors. The physical and mental health benefits of having a loved family pet are well known and scientifically documented, yet there seems to be nowhere in this country that people can live out their lives with their pets and receive the medical supervision that they need. How can we be so cruel as this, to split up a little old lady from the only living being left who loves her? How can we cause so much distress to her little dog who only wants to sit on her knee and give her cuddles? It is unfortunately a scene that gets played out every day in shelters across our country.

I was delighted to receive a phone call last week from Marilyn from 4AK/4WK radio in Toowoomba, asking for support for a new aged care facility that has opened up in Toowoomba in the last year. The name of this facility is Freedom Aged Care, and they actively ENCOURAGE their residents to bring their pets with them. Each resident, irrespective of the level of medical support they need, has their own apartment with their own front door, laundry, kitchen and bathroom, and they all get to enjoy the communal facilities that includes a cinema, health club, cafe and bar (called Wrinkles!!). Residents are encouraged to help in the gardens and looking after the chickens. For those who need more help, meals are provided and apartment cleaning done. This is a place where the residents can live out the rest of their lives with total freedom, with their pets.

They are having an open day this Saturday, and if you or someone you know is looking for aged care, do pop down to say hello, look at their facilities, and see if it is for you. Zoo Studio have donated a copy of our Tails Tales book, valued at $195.00, to this wonderful organisation as a prize for the resident Dog Show. We are very proud to support this wonderful establishment!

Their website is here http://www.freedomagedcare.com.au/ and their Facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/FACfamily

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