Bring your life, and pets, with you

Pet Program helps residents care for beloved furry “best friends”
One of the biggest concerns when moving into a retirement community is how much of your normal life will you be able to bring. For many, normal life consists of family, friends… and pets.

Pretty Boy lives at Ecumenical Retirement Community with owner and mom, resident Joyce McKee

At Ecumenical Retirement Community, you don’t have to give up your furry companion, all thanks to the Pet Program. When moving in to Ecumenical, residents can bring their dogs, cats and even smaller animals, like birds, to live with them.

Currently, several animals happily live with their owners on campus. Sharon St. Clair, director of the Pet Program, loves seeing the companionship the Pet Program brings to her residents.

“It really gives a resident a sense of peace and comfort. It’s nice to see that,” St. Clair says.

Joyce McKee is thankful that she is able to share her space with her best friend, Pretty Boy, an eight year old lovebird.

“I love having him here with me. Every morning I sing to him, he sings back, and then I go on with my day,” McKee says. “I’ve been able to teach him some tricks, which is a lot of fun!”

Resident May Miller says bringing her pet, Ellie, with her made her transition to life at a retirement community much easier.

McKee, who is 89 years old, never thought she would own a bird. “I always had dogs when I was younger, but then they began to be too much to handle. I’m so glad I found Pretty Boy,” she says. “I’m so thankful I am allowed to have him here with me. It really is special.”

May Miller, brought her best friend, Ellie, an eight year old terrier mix, with her.

“I’m so grateful I was able to bring Ellie with me. She really is my best friend,” Miller said. “She is such a good dog, she’s a sweetheart,” Miller says, adding that caring for Ellie helped her during her transition to life at Ecumenical.

“It’s a big change, so I was grateful that I was able to bring something with me that was familiar,” she says.

Not only has Ellie helped Miller in her transition, she has also helped her gain friendships with other residents.

“A gentleman down the hall leaves treats for her every morning in the hallway,” she says. “He stops by a lot and visits us and helps me take her outside occasionally.”

When bringing an animal to live at Ecumenical, the resident must have a plan as to who will take care of the animal if he/she can no longer care for the pet. “My goal is to make sure residents can care for their animals for as long as they can here,” St. Clair says. “Once a resident can no longer care for their pet, we help them find a family member or friend to take care of the pet.”

According to St. Clair, “The companionship, peace and comfort pets can bring to Ecumenical residents are irreplaceable.”

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