Pets of Older Persons WA (POOPS) has launched a Pet Welfare Program to help its clients access vet care, following a successful 12-month pilot.

The program, which aims to make it easier for pets to receive routine check-ups, sterilisation, and vaccinations, was made possible with an Animal Welfare Grant funded by the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Kellie Taylor, President of POOPS WA, said they have seen clients and pets suffer physically and emotionally to provide the best possible care for their pets.

“Our clients love their pets, that in some cases are their only companion. It is heartbreaking for our volunteers to see dogs or cats in need and owners distressed because they can’t afford to go to the vet.”

As the cost of living rises, many people, especially those on fixed incomes, are struggling to meet the costs of care for their pets.

“We want people to take their pets for a regular vaccination and yearly check-up, especially as the pet gets older. We ask the vet to check lumps and bumps, teeth, ears and provide routine services like nail clipping. We also provide funding for grooming when needed.”

The program is in addition to the free pet walking and support services provided by the charity to owners over the of 65, palliative care patients of any age, and people with disabilities who need assistance with caring for their pets and are unable to pay for support.

While POOPS encourages clients to contribute to costs where they can, this is not essential, as the organisation has successfully used crowd-funding to help dogs and cats in emergency situations where a pet has been injured or diagnosed with a serious, but treatable illness.

With the current funding, the program is expected to run until the end of 2023, however POOPS is seeking further funding to be able to extend the duration of the program.

“We know this program makes a huge difference to the happiness of our clients and the wellbeing of their pets. We are uniquely positioned to support seniors and this is just another way we can help keep pets and people together for longer.”

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