Press release: Pets for the Elderly
Since its national launch in 2002, the Pets for the Elderly (PFE) grant program has paid a portion of the adoption fee for seniors 60 and over adopting a dog or cat at PFE’s participating shelters across the U.S.
Twenty years later, the organization has hit a milestone of helping to fund the adoption of 100,000 shelter animals to seniors.
The mission at Pets for the Elderly (PFE) has been to provide companionship and health benefits to older adults through pet ownership while saving the lives of homeless shelter animals. The PFE mission is especially important today, as senior isolation and loneliness are reaching epidemic levels.
Recognizing the many well-documented health benefits of pet ownership for seniors, PFE pays a portion of the fee for senior citizens (age 60 and over) to adopt a companion dog or cat from participating animal shelters, including pre-adoption veterinary exams and spay/neuter, if part of the adoption cost. PFE is currently the only national organization matching shelter animals with senior citizens and works with 57 participating shelters in 35 states – shelters that are not only dedicated to saving the lives of animals, but also committed to supporting and implementing the PFE mission.
PFE believes, and medical research supports, that companion animals reduce loneliness in older adults, while providing numerous health and well-being benefits. However, once seniors bring home their pet, they still have the task of providing food, veterinary care, and grooming, which can greatly impact their budget.
According to the ASPCA, the first-year cost of dog (or cat) ownership exceeds $1,000. While the elderly can benefit by owning a pet, the cost of its care throughout that pet’s life may be a deterrent for some of them to adopt. In some instances, seniors feel the need to surrender their beloved pet because of a lack of money to care for them.
In 2020, PFE announced that its program would also include funding for shelter programs that cover veterinary services, retention services, food shortage support, and other services for animal adopters aged 60 and over. That PFE funding is implemented through a certified PFE partner shelter and includes routine veterinary care, surgery, food, home visits and grooming.
PFE relies on funding from a myriad of foundations, grants, and individual donors. The Foundation is hoping to continue to expand its program reach to include several shelters in each of the 50 states by 2022, but this will require an increase in financial resources. The organization has launched its end-of-year fund drive to help raise funding for the next 100,000 adoptions.
PFE is a 501 (c)(3) public charity whose mission is to provide companionship and health benefits to older adults through pet ownership and animal care assistance, while saving the lives of homeless shelter animals in shelters; animals which might otherwise be destroyed due to lack of appropriate homes, and space limitations. To donate, visit PFE.