Verde Valley nonprofit helps older adults keep their pets in their own home

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Monday, April 4, 2022 - 5:07pm

Verde Valley Caregiver Coalition
Pups like this one have been helped because of the Verde Valley Caregiver Coalition's pet program.

For older adults living alone, a pet can provide much needed, even lifesaving companionship. But keeping a pet can be expensive. The good news is, there’s support for pet owners and their furry companions. 

Linda Clark is with the Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition, which supports older adults. She says most of its clients have family living out of state.

"And so pets in essence, become their children, their siblings, their companions," she said.

So VVCC’s pet program keeps cats and dogs, and even some lizards, in their home by providing things like pet food and vet care. Clark says of the 1,900 people they serve, about 40% own pets.

"Just this past year we provided 600 pet assistance services to our clients and so the needs are growing," she explained. "And the greatest two of the greatest needs right now are pet food and and pet boarding."

Because if a client ends up in the hospital, they may have to board their animal which can be expensive. 

"This is another reason why we got started with the pet program [in 2014] is that when one of our clients needs to be hospitalized for a few days, sometimes a few weeks, they have to board their pet somehow," Clark said.