Putting life into pets and owners

Mr Traynor�s wife has Alzheimer�s disease and his son has a disability.

But the 80-year-old�s golden labrador, Holly, is considered a part of the family too.

Now Holly is a valued member of a much bigger family thanks to Pets of Older Persons (POOPs).

The not-for-profit association has volunteers who walk dogs for people who are over the age of 65 or palliative care patients.

Mr Traynor, a father of four, said before the help of POOPs Holly was putting on weight, but now she was a healthier and happier dog.

�We haven�t been able to take Holly for a walk because my son isn�t steady on his feet and my wife can�t walk out with the dog because she�ll get lost,� Mr Traynor said.

�POOPs is a big help because Holly had not been for a walk for at least two or three years and we used to take her for walks every night.

�POOPs would have to be one of the |best organisations that you can be in if |you have a dog.�

Thornlie resident Jim Wright is one of the POOPs volunteers who regularly takes Holly for a walk.

The active 70-year-old father of two understands the importance of keeping pets and people together.

�We get satisfaction from it because you see the benefits dogs get from regular walks and the benefits flow through to their owners,� Mr Wright said.

�Holly seems to know when the volunteers are arriving � she stomps her feet in the kitchen waiting for you to get the lead on and let her out.

�In a lot of cases pets are all that people have, so the fact that POOPs can help keep them together and us being able to take the pressure off them is a bit of a win-win for everyone.�

POOPs has more than 200 volunteers working throughout Perth.

The organisation�s south coordinator, Beth Wright, said pets provided elderly people with companionship and helped with their general wellbeing.

�When people know that their pets are being provided with vital exercise and stimulation, this gives them great peace of mind,� she said.

�Sadly, age and isolation often go hand in hand � keeping people and pets together lies at the heart of the POOPs philosophy.�

With the inevitable expansion of the organisation, POOPs is looking for longer-term sustainability.

�We would very much like to find a benefactor with the same ethos as POOPS,� Mr Wright said.

To contribute, call POOPs on 9450 3206.