HeidiTown Gives Back: Pets Forever

Pets Forever CSU
Connie is loving on her best bud, Mischief, who receives subcutaneous fluids from his Pets Forever friends twice a week to manage his kidney disease.

In my work as a freelance writer I occasionally get the opportunity to learn about various nonprofits around Colorado, and in fact, that’s how I discover many of the charities that end up as the recipient of HeidiTown Gives Back. This is what happened with Pets Forever.

While working on an article about the positive emotional and physical impacts pets can have on our lives, I met Dr. Lori Kogan, a licensed psychologist and associate professor in the Clinical Sciences Department at Colorado State University within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science.

She is also the director of Pets Forever, a CSU sponsored nonprofit designed to help low-income elderly and disabled Larimer County residents maintain ownership of their pets for as long as possible, and to improve the health and well-being of these pets and owners by providing needed help and resources.

Pets Forever CSU
Even though Casey is losing his eyesight, he knows whenever a volunteer comes by to walk him! He is always ready for his big adventure on the trail, sniffing out any new scents along the way.

Those of us who live with animals know the healing power they can have, both emotionally and physically, but people like Dr. Kogan are discovering that science backs up what the rest of us have always known.

“There’s a growing body of literature that talks about the benefits of pets for people of all ages,” says Dr. Kogan. “Certainly for the elderly and disabled population that I work with, those relationships are critical. They are often times the only relationship these people have in their lives.”

Dr. Kogan’s research is fascinating, but it was her stories about her work with Pets Forever that truly moved me. These stories reminded me of my own grandfather. When my grandmother passed away, with only 8% of his heart working, we didn’t expect my grandfather to last long. No family lived nearby, so it was just him and his Shetland Sheepdog, Little Bit.

Pets Forever CSU
Lexi likes to taste the air when she’s on the walk with a Pets Forever volunteer.

My grandfather loved that dog. In fact, throughout his life he tended to like animals better than people – horses, cats, dogs, he loved them all – people he could live without. My grandfather’s heart eventually did give out, but I strongly believe he lasted as long as he did because of his dog. Every day he would take Little Bit for a long walk on the beach. That dog kept him moving and gave him a reason to get up every day.

Pets Forever helps people who may be in the same position as my grandfather, but may not have the funds or resources to care for their pet. This organization’s primary focus is to provide direct services including in-home animal care such as brushing a dog, cat box cleaning, etc. They provide companions to walk a pet with or for a pet owner. They will transport a pet to and from a vet or groomer. They arrange for home delivery of pet food and supplies and even offer limited financial support for veterinary care and pet supplies.

Pets Forever Logo (1)Pets Forever is not an emergency program and is staffed entirely by volunteers, many are students. More than 300 of their volunteers have helped more than 228 community members keep their pets.

It may seem like a little thing, walking a dog or cleaning a cat box, but these small actions can mean so much, and potentially even prolong an individual’s time on this earth. There are costs associated with providing the Pets Forever services, so your donation will help. Please go HERE to learn more about Pets Forever and to make a donation to this worthy cause.

HeidiTown Gives Back is a campaign I started in January 2012. Each month a Colorado nonprofit of my choosing receives a free ad space and a write-up here on the blog, along with occasional mentions in social media throughout the month. This is my way of using my platform to try to do a bit of good in this crazy world. I love pets, so many of the HeidiTown Give Back charities are pet-related. To be considered email me at TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.

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