Empathy for people, pets

Inge Kuemmeth and her dog Gypsie with Jan Russell-Brown, of Pets of Older Persons. Picture: Emma Reeves d405764
Inge Kuemmeth and her dog Gypsie with Jan Russell-Brown, of Pets of Older Persons. Picture: Emma Reeves d405764

Volunteers from all over the northern suburbs help people over 65 and palliative care patients of any age with such tasks as dog walking, animal feeding, grooming or transporting pets to the vet.

The service, which began in WA about three years ago, has 100-plus volunteers but needs more, including a co-ordinator for the Wanneroo area.

Wanneroo pet lover Jan Russell-Brown, who joined almost 12 months ago, is walking Inge Kuemmeth’s dog Gypsie twice a week ” and loving it.

‘I enjoy the fact that I am helping people doing something that matters,’ she said.

‘It might be quite a simple thing such as cleaning out a cat litter tray three times a week but it is not a service anyone else will do.’

President Richard Wheater said the service’s recent AGM was full of members who knew how important their work was to pets and people.

‘POOPS is one of the few organisations I’ve come across that is as much about human welfare as it is about animal welfare,’ he said.

‘I have been hearing horror stories of people who need to go to hospital but who refuse to leave their pets unattended.

‘If I had no family member or friendly neighbour willing to look after my dogs, I would be one of those people.’

Mr Wheater hopes the group, which relies on donations and fundraising, will eventually have enough volunteers so they will not have to travel far from home to lend a hand.

To volunteer, email membership@poopswa.org.au, call 9450 3206 or visit www.poopswa.org.au