The Second Chance animal center connects seniors to seniors | Local News

ARLINGTON — Senior dogs and cats face particular adoption challenges, with most would-be pet owners opting for younger pets. Some of the older pets lost their homes when their owners died, and some have special medical needs.

Many elderly residents of our communities might feel the same – lonely, lonely and isolated, lacking the companionship they want and need. They might also lack the discretionary income needed to adopt and care for an older pet.

Second Chance Animal Center in Arlington has a solution.

There is a program in place that matches senior humans with senior dogs and cats who need to be adopted. Seniors For Seniors helps some of these unadopted pets become part of permanent families by waiving senior adoption fees, helping with costs, sometimes even solving transportation issues, which benefits the both seniors and older pets looking for a loving home.

There is also the long-term foster program, where an animal that has special needs or an illness, such as cancer, can live out its life with a caring person.

Second Chance provides all food and medical care for animals with terminal illnesses.

“Some of these vet prescription foods can be very expensive,” said Cathi Comar, executive director of Second Chance. “The same goes for vet visits and medications that are usually needed for the rest of the animal’s life. The program’s pets come once a year for checkups and emergencies. S’ there is no one in the facility, we can also allow him to get emergency veterinary care where closest to his home, at no cost to him We pay the bills.

In Long-Term Foster’s case, Second Chance retains ownership of the animal, “so we can make those decisions quickly,” Comar said. “We will do everything we can to make it work. We have a lady in the program right now who has cancer and is having difficulty finding food for her pet at home. A member of staff delivered him right.

The long-term foster program currently has one dog and three cats already placed in foster homes. The Seniors For Seniors program currently has a handful of placements available, but more homes are always needed and welcome, and things can change quickly.

Molly is a beautiful 12 year old gray longhair cat whose owner recently passed away. She’s sitting on the windowsill of Comar’s office, stretching out in the late morning sun. Molly has a thyroid problem and takes medication to help regulate her condition. “We try to give him the right medication before allowing him to be adopted. She hangs out with me until then,” Comar said.

Older pets finding themselves at second chances after the death of their owner or having moved into an assisted living facility is a common occurrence at the center. Comar estimates that a minimum of approximately 25% of contributions are in this situation. Sometimes these animals have trouble making the transition; some don’t. “We think Molly is depressed. She misses her person,” Comar said, looking over to Molly sitting on her desk. Someone like Bruiser, however, seems to be taking it all in stride.

Bruiser is a mix of Rottweiler and Pitbull whose owner is deceased. He is described as friendly, loyal, affectionate, good with other dogs, cats and young children. “He’s just a lover,” Comar said.

Second Chance serves the greater Bennington County area and beyond.

“These pets provide great companionship. Molly here is a great example. She’s so calm. She’ll just sit on the desk all day, and I’ll pet her. It’s so calming,” said Comar: “We know that having a pet is good for your blood pressure, good for your heart and important for mental health. For some people, it might just give them a reason to get up in the morning. There’s an animal they need to take care of.

A National Institute of Health study suggests that “the role of pet ownership can benefit older adults by providing companionship, giving meaning and meaning, reducing loneliness and increasing socialization. These benefits may also increase older adults’ resilience against mental health disorders, which may positively influence their mental health outcomes.

Second Chance also welcomes seniors who do not wish to take full responsibility for owning a pet. There is a volunteer program and seniors are also welcome to spend time with the pets.

It gets them out of the house. We have a lot of older people coming in and doing just that,” Comar said.

Bruiser is ready and waiting for his forever home. Molly will soon follow in her footsteps.

To learn more about the programs offered at Second Chance, visit the website at or call 802-375-2898.

Benjamin M. Yerger