2019 Round 1 Top 3 Finalist

Cherished Pets Foundation

Supporting the elderly and disabled and their cherished pets.

Cherished Pets Foundation improves and enhances the lives of elderly and disabled people through supporting the special relationship with their companion pet.

We want to keep people with their pets when they need them the most. It is when people are unwell, lonely or sad, that their pet provides the most comfort. During these times we offer essential care for their pets. Keeping their pet healthy and happy prolongs their time together, promotes independence and gives them peace of mind knowing their pet is cared for. Pets also connect communities and we are seeing through our community pet care project wonderful friendships developing between our clients, volunteers and our team.

Cherished Pets Foundation’s volunteers provide in-home pet care assistance for elderly and disabled pet owners with dog walking, pet grooming, transporting pets to the vet and pet respite care when owners are unwell or move into residential care. Our team of pet care professionals provide subsidised veterinary care and planning that covers pet wellness and nutrition, behaviour and training, senior pets and pain management, palliative care and end of life pet services, pet bereavement support and emergency care planning. Our community vet nurses visit pets in their home and the Foundation provides financial assistance to pet owners unable to cover unexpected veterinary expenses.

Pets play an important role in our communities and are loved like family members. Living with companion pets has been scientifically proven to provide physical and psychological health benefits such as reducing blood pressure, improving communication and reminiscence, motivating and encouraging exercise, reducing doctor visits, faster recovery from illness and surgery, alleviating depression, anxiety and loneliness.

The benefits of companion pets have a greater significance for people who are isolated, elderly, or disabled. Their pet is the reason they get out of bed every day and in some cases the reason they are still alive. Due to unintended changes in health or financial circumstances, the capacity of these pet owners to care for their pets can be compromised giving them great cause for worry.

The Australian population is ageing and has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. These trends are reflected in Greater Geelong with the number of registered pets increasing by 5000 in the past three years to 45,210 in the last financial year. The number of people of retirement age in the region is expected to reach nearly 100,000 by 2026 with an increase of 52.7% between 2011 and 2026*.

With a Sunsuper Dreams for a Better World grant we can continue supporting 30 pets and people over 12 months, plus increase our capacity to support more people and their pets in our community. Our dream is to help those who want pet care in our local community and replicate our first-class service throughout Australia.

Each pet owner and pet has unique needs. A high-level service costs on average $2000 per year for each new person and pet, and $1000 per each year of ongoing support. Included in these costs are expenses for recruiting, checking, insuring and training volunteers; case management; veterinary expenses; travel expenses; pet products and equipment for pet wellness, training and enrichment; pet food and special diets for pets in respite care; and emergency pet boarding. With this grant we can expand our service to keep more pets healthy and people happy.

"Through Cherished Pets I have peace of mind that whatever happens to me, my pet will be loved and looked after.”– CP client.

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