Dogs

Volunteers needed to walk dogs in the HRM

Elderdog Canada helps seniors care for their dogs in many ways

Elderdog Canada is looking for volunteers for its Halifax pawd or chapter.

The organization was established as a non-profit in 2009, and currently has around 700 volunteers nationwide.

Paddy Muir began volunteering for Elderdog about four years ago.

“I’m a person who has to be busy,” Muir said. “I like to be involved. I like things that give back to society. It’s a meaningful thing for me to do.”

Elderdog Canada volunteer Paddy Muir clips Fido’s leash onto his collar before their Saturday afternoon walk.   Carly Churchill

One dog that Muir walks is Fido, who belongs to Elderdog client Gordon Wiswell. When Muir arrived to walk Fido Saturday afternoon, he jumped at the door and barked excitedly. Wiswell scolded him for jumping up as Muir entered the house.

Many of the dogs get excited when it’s time for their walks, Muir said. Some of them get out every day, others every couple of days. It all depends on the client’s needs.

Fido runs out the door as he begins his walk with Muir.   Carly Churchill

 

Fido heads towards a local trail on Saturday afternoon.   Carly Churchill

Elderdog offers a variety of services to elderly clients who may not be able to fully take care of their dogs on their own. They walk dogs, escort clients and their pets to vet appointments and help make long-term plans for dogs, if needed.

They also offer temporary services. For example, if someone is recovering from a surgery or can’t take care of their dog for a short period of time, care can be arranged with Elderdog.

Muir checks the trail for ice as Fido walks alongside.   Carly Churchill

 

While the first trail was icy, Muir found a path that was safe for Fido to explore.   Carly Churchill

Muir enjoys the flexibility that volunteering allows.

“It’s the sort of thing that you can make it as big or as small as you want. You don’t have to be doing it every day. It can be tailored to what you can give,” she said.

She also enjoys talking with the clients as well.

“A lot of them have had interesting lives and have a wealth of experience,” she said. “A lot of them are really fun to talk to.”

Fido sniffs a neighbour’s bushes on his walk.   Carly Churchill

 

With some encouragement from Muir, Fido stops sniffing the bushes and continues his walk.   Carly Churchill

If you’re interested in volunteering with Elderdog, you can fill out the volunteer form on their website. The local chapter can also be found on Facebook.