Commissioner Souto is sponsoring two resolutions regarding Adopt-A-Pet which were approved on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at the Health and Public Safety Committee and will go before the Board of County Commissioners in November for final approval.
The first resolution requests that the Mayor develop a program to host monthly adoption events at Miami-Dade County Park, such as Tropical Park, to encourage adoption of dogs and cats from the County’s animal shelter. The second resolution requests that the Mayor develop a program to encourage the adoption of animals from the County’s animal shelter as companions for the elderly, including consideration of discounting or waiving adoption fees. It directs the Mayor to aggressively promote the program on radio, print advertisements, and in other media.
Studies have shown that pets greatly help the elderly with the need for companionship. Most seniors say that they are less lonely and much happier when they have adopted a pet. Pets give the elderly a sense of security and seniors feel safer answering the door when there is a dog present. Dogs can also alert seniors who are hard of hearing to a ringing telephone or the ringing of a door bell. Dogs are an especially good choice for seniors who need socialization.
Seniors who walk their dogs get to know the people in the neighborhood. Pets help break the ice and encourage friendly conversation between people who might otherwise feel they have nothing in common.
Seniors need to socialize to maintain good mental health and a pet provides them with stories to share with others. Pets help the elderly to keep focused on the present and keep them in touch with the small pleasures of life. Caring for and providing a loving home to a companion animal also helps elderly people to remain active both mentally and physically, and therefore stay healthy.