BakerRipley and Houston SPCA Launch Pets for Seniors Program

The Two Non-Profits Connect Pets With Active Senior Citizens to Help Combat Loneliness, Depression During Pandemic

(HOUSTON) December 15, 2020 – Houston SPCA announced today they are working together with BakerRipley to match their homebound Seniors who are interested in adopting a cat or kitten and delivering their new pet along with start-up supplies like kitty litter and a 3-month supply of Hill’s Pet Nutrition pet food. The first socially-distanced in-home adoption took place on Sunday, December 13. Thomas O’Malley, an orange tabby, is now keeping his new owner, Mrs. Fields, company in a new loving home.

“The pandemic has taken a toll on many across our communities,” said Tanya Treece, BakerRipley Director of Holistic Wellness. “Isolation for the sake of safety can lead to serious depression and loneliness, especially for the elderly. That’s why we are so excited about this partnership with the Houston SPCA. Together we are able to bring companionship to some of our seniors who could definitely use it during this time.”

One in four Seniors have reported increased rates of anxiety and depression during COVID-19 and having a pet in a home has been linked to a reduction in depression and increased physical and mental activity with Seniors.*

“We all know what pets can do for people, but the overwhelming feeling of isolation can be too much for homebound Seniors. Having a new pet to care for and love will give them hope, while it also gives a homeless pet a second chance in life,” said Jo Sullivan, LMSW, a licensed social worker who also serves as interim VP of Development at the Houston SPCA.

The Houston SPCA wants to ensure they are making an impact on the mental health of Seniors, so they are working closely with BakerRipley through a pre- and post-survey using depression and loneliness scales. They are documenting this new avenue as an opportunity to place pets in need in ways that may not have happened before COVID-19.

* Source: Kaiser Family Foundation and National Institute of Health