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Welfare Program Helps Seniors Get Pet to Vet

Pets of Older Persons WA (POOPS) launches Pet Welfare Program

After a successful 12-month pilot funded by Demeter Legacy, POOPS has launched a Pet Welfare Program to help its clients access vet care. 

This has been made possible thanks to an Animal Welfare Grant funded by WA's Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Volunteers Arthur & Merrilyn 
walking Guide Dog Tinker
Photo: @mareerattrayphotography

This program is offered in addition to the fee-free pet walking and support service provided by the WA charity to pet owners over the age of 65, palliative care patients of any age, and people with disabilities who need assistance with caring for their beloved pets and are unable to pay for support.

With the cost of living rising, many people are struggling to meet the costs of caring for their pets, especially those on fixed incomes.

Providing regular veterinary care is more onerous for POOPS clients, many who are struggling financially on aged pensions.

There is often guilt and shame felt by clients, who might not be in a position to financially deal with required vet care, even though for many their pet is their number one priority. 

This leaves them with the difficult position of either foregoing vet care or sacrificing their own health and wellbeing to cover the costs.

POOPS WA President Kellie Taylor said “We have seen clients and pet suffer physically and emotionally to provide the best possible care for their pets.”

“Our clients love their pets, that in some cases are their only companion” she said. 
“It is heart-breaking for our volunteers to see dogs or cats in need and owners distressed because they can’t afford to go to the vet.”
The POOPS Pet Welfare Program aims to make it easier for pets to receive routine check-ups, sterilisation and vaccinations along with accessing support for more complex care when needed.

“We want people to take their pets for a regular vaccination and yearly check-up, especially as the pet gets older” Ms Taylor said. 

“We ask the vet to check lumps and bumps, teeth, ears and provide routine services like nail clipping. We also provide funding for grooming when needed.”

POOPS encourages clients to contribute to costs where they can, but this is not essential. The organisation has successfully used crowd-funding to help dogs and cats in emergency situations where a dog has been attacked or diagnosed with a serious, but treatable illness.

Volunteer Lynne with Dexter
Since the start of the pilot in 2021, over 100 pets have been supported under the program.

One dog who has been assisted through the program is Burt, an 11-year-old Maltese X Poodle X Shih Tzu, who is blind in one eye. His volunteers noticed that both his eyes were full of discharge and requested a vet visit. 

Burt was diagnosed with a severe eye infection and given antibiotics and eye cream. He has also been treated with injections for his arthritis, and a dental examination showed he needed a few teeth removed, one of which was sticking into his gum. The owner was able to pay half the cost of this dental surgery, and POOPS covered the rest. The result is a much happier, healthier dog, and the owner can be reassured that their pet has been given the health care he badly needed.

Based on current funding, the program is forecast to run the end of 2023. However, POOPS is seeking further funding to be able to extend the duration of the program as demand for the service increases.
“We know this program makes a huge difference to the happiness of our clients and the wellbeing of their pets.
We are uniquely positioned to support seniors and this is just another way we can help keep pets and people together for longer”, Ms Taylor said.


About Pets of Older Persons (POOPS)

POOPS – Pets of older Persons
– is a WA not-for-profit organisation with a mission of ‘keeping people and pets together’.

Our vision is for no pet to have a lesser quality of life, nor an older person, or someone living with disabilities, be denied the companionship of a pet due to their age, health or financial circumstances.

POOPS was established in 2010 with the primary goal of helping the elderly and people living with disabilities keep their pets by providing a fee-free walking and pet support service. Our typical client is aged 65 years+. We also help palliative-care patients of any age and people with disabilities who are unable to walk their dog/s or pay for a dog- walking service.

Today we support over 460 clients and around 1,000 volunteers across the Greater Perth metro, Rockingham, Mandurah and Busselton.

We are a 100% volunteer run, self-funded organisation of animal lovers who value and respect community and understand the joys and benefits of helping vulnerable people keep their pets happy and healthy. 
To learn how you can help, head to the website:

You can follow POOPS on Facebook: 
and @poops_wa on Instagram

MEDIA RELEASE, 13th February 2023

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