Seniors Benefit from Foster Pet Visits
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When her mother moved into a senior community center in 2016, a long-time Utah Humane Society foster volunteer, Shauna Ostler, saw an opportunity to address two issues with one great idea. Shauna's mother missed her pets, and her foster animals needed opportunities to socialize with people.
Shauna asked permission from the Pacifica Senior Living Millcreek center to bring her foster animals to visit her mother and other interested residents. The center added Shauna's visits to their weekly schedule, and before too long, a staff member told Shauna that her pet visits were "more popular than bingo."
Shauna decided to expand her visits to other senior communities and founded the Cold Nose Foundation to organize and fundraise her mission. Three other senior communities came on board for scheduled visits, and the residents, along with the Utah Humane Society foster animals, benefited tremendously from the arrangement.
In March 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic forced Shauna to suspend her visits. Fortunately, her mother's senior center was able to restart pet visits in June with some creative safety adjustments for their residents. Shauna and all participating residents are screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Shauna wears a mask to protect the residents, and all involved use hand sanitizer and maintain social distance. Because the visits now occur in an outside courtyard for increased safety, Shauna got creative and purchased ferret harnesses and leashes to keep visiting kittens restrained safely outside.
Thank you, Cold Nose Foundation and Pacifica Senior Living Millcreek, for promoting the benefits of the human-animal bond while helping our foster pets. We know that animals bring comfort, joy, and social engagement opportunities to the senior residents, and the residents' love and attention does so much for the animals in return. Shauna's effort as a foster caregiver is another excellent example of how our volunteers help Change Their World.