pet assistance

Senior Paw Project Supports 300 Pets With Free Care

Help is out there for those struggling to care for their pets.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Supporting pets and their owners - that's the mission behind the Senior Paw Project.

The initiative, which grew out of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown, started four years ago and continues to make a difference in people's lives.

"So, when we started the sanctuary, our mission was really clear: we wanted to honor Catherine's life and her passion, which was animals," said Jenny Hubbard, mother of Sandy Hook first grader Catherine.

Hubbard manages the project. She and her team give free pet care to low-income seniors.

"We provide veterinary care, wellness exams, we have a mobile vet that goes into the homes of older adults in these affordable housing communities," Hubbard said.

Corporate grants and individual donations make it all possible. Hubbard said it costs nearly $5,000 to serve a community. Food is also delivered every few weeks, and, when needed, they'll find a temporary home for the animal.

But for Joan Galasso, her dog of ten years needed a forever home.

"When I was moving into elderly housing, and I was walking with a walker, I couldn't walk her anymore," Galasso said

That's where the Senior Paw Project came in, but they didn't have to look too far. The assistant at Joan's senior center agreed to be the new owner.

"The only thing I have to do is love the dog. Jen Hubbard's organization pays for the vets, pays for the food, the leashes, anything that I need, she'll supply the dog with," said Judy Thompson from Newtown Senior Center.

The Senior Paw Project has helped nearly 300 pets get the food, care and services they need. But as the price of everything goes up, it can become more challenging for people to care for their pets.

For Thompson, the program has helped her financially and even benefited her son.

"A lot of kids on the spectrum love animals, and it gives them comfort and a friend," Thompson said.

"To find somebody that helps and cares, then the dog can love that person," Galasso said.

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