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Senior Paw Project Brings Care To Pets At Nunnawauk Meadows



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Five lucky animals at Nunnawauk Meadows got VIP — Very Important Pets, that is — veterinary treatment thanks to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation’s (CVHF) Senior Paw Project on November 21.

The CVHF, created in memory of the late Catherine Hubbard and her love of all animals, is currently in the process of creating an animal sanctuary in Newtown.

The nonprofit organization hosts a wide assortment of events and programs, including the Senior Paw Project, which is designed to honor the bond between seniors and their pets.

According to the CVHF “…the Senior Paw Project assists senior pet owners and their animals when that relationship is in jeopardy by providing medical support, including veterinary care, medicine, and transportation assistance; pet food; emergency foster placement for animals at risk of surrender due to caregiver illness, hospitalization, or relocation; [and] recruitment of active senior citizens to ‘make an old friend’ by fostering senior animals.”

By assisting seniors with keeping their beloved animals, it helps prevent more dogs and cats from being relinquished to shelters, and its foster program allows the elderly animals in shelters to experience a life in a home before their forever home.

Already, the Senior Paw Project has supported 45 animals, and its reach is growing.

“The Senior Paw Project’s success is due largely in part to [our] veterinary partner, Valley Veterinary Hospital in New Milford,” the CVHF released in a statement.

The team at Valley Veterinary Hospital not only offer veterinary care at no cost to the pet owner, but they make home visits to help seniors who may struggle with mobility or transportation issues.

On November 21, Kelly Coladarci, who runs the Senior Paw Project, said that this was their first vet appointments at Nunnawauk Meadows for residents taking part in the program.

The foundation hopes to do more visits in the future and continue to not only build a relationship with the seniors in the community, but also help the seniors build a relationship with the veterinarians.

“Thank You All”

Three cats and two dogs were seen that afternoon for exams.

Valley Veterinary Hospital Veterinarian Emily Andersen and practice manager Kate Dickson were able to do everything from administering vaccinations, drawing blood, picking up a fecal sample for lab work, and general checkup care.

The first appointment of the day was with Nunnawauk Meadows resident Lorraine Godfrey and her 5-year-old cat Gabriel, whom she affectionately calls the love of her life.

Upon warmly welcoming Ms Hubbard, Ms Coladarci, Dr Andersen, and Ms Dickson into her home, Ms Godfrey said, “Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!”

Ms Godfrey had found out about the Senior Paw Project because of a brochure she saw and contacted the foundation right away.

She adopted her cat, Gabriel, from Passion 4 Paws when he was just a kitten, and he has seen her through the ups and downs of life, including three hip replacements.

“His life gives mine meaning and purpose… there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him,” Ms Godfrey told the group.

In the past, she has relied on assistance from Redding Ridge Veterinarian Sally Kniffin, whom she is very grateful for, but says, “It’s unfortunate I don’t have the funds to do it all on my own.”

With the Senior Paw Project, she is able to now get Gabriel’s veterinary needs done for free and in the comfort of their home.

During the visit, Ms Godfrey discussed her cat’s medical background and was able to ask questions, like if the discharge coming from one of Gabriel’s eyes was a concern.

Dr Andersen assured her that it was not a problem but did mentioned that she spotted signs of dental disease in Gabriel’s mouth. She recommended incorporating dental-specific food and/or treats to help be proactive against it, and that a dental cleaning can also be a future option.

Between being examined and being given his vaccinations, Gabriel played with his many toys strewn about the living room and happily went up to each guest to get a nice petting.

Ms Godfrey expressed her gratitude to the CVHF and Valley Veterinary Hospital, and added, “I want to make sure we have a long happy healthy life together.”

Following Ms Godfrey and Gabriel’s appointment with the Senior Paw Project group was an appointment with the program’s repeat foster volunteer Terry Pellicci.

Ms Pellicci is currently fostering a male chihuahua named Bobbi, who is estimated to be 14 years old.

Bobbi had experienced what is was like living in a loving home before his owner passed away. Thanks to the Senior Paw Project, Bobbi is not sitting in a shelter. Instead he was able to be linked up with Ms Pellicci and is living in the comfort of a home again.

The CVHF has supplied a variety of items to make Bobbi and Ms Pellicci’s life easier, including a crate, raised food/water dishes, and doggy stairs so Bobbi can hop up on the bed.

“He loves the stairs and uses them all the time,” Ms Pellicci said as Bobbi wagged his tail gleefully.

In addition to Bobbi getting lots of playtime attention from his visitors, Ms Pellicci discussed medical concerns, including a recent cough, with Dr Andersen.

Dr Andersen said she had reviewed Bobbi’s chest x-ray and everything looked good and it was not a concern.

Looking back on all the veterinary visits that day and the impact the Senior Paw Project is making in people and pets’ lives, Dr Andersen said, “It has brought immense joy to myself and my compassionate co-workers to be able to assist in the efforts of the Senior Paw Project.

“I am proud for my part in helping access to veterinary care for such a deserving and gracious group of people and their animal family members. This community project exemplifies the goodness that can emerge when kind and empowered individuals collaborate.”

To learn more about the Senior Paw Project and volunteer to become a foster, visit cvhfoundation.org or e-mail info@cvhfoundation.org for more information. For more information about Valley Veterinary Hospital, visit thevalleyvet.com or call 203-456-8831.

Valley Veterinary Hospital manager Kate Dickson holds Gabriel, a 5-year-old cat owned by Lorraine Godfrey, while veterinarian Emily Andersen administers a vaccination during his at-home exam, thanks to the CVHF’s Senior Paw Project.
Pictured from left is Valley Veterinary Hospital manager Kate Dickson and veterinarian Emily Andersen with 14-year-old Bobbi during his complimentary vet visit at Nunnawauk Meadows through the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation’s Senior Paw Project on November 21. —Bee Photos, Silber
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