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ElderDog volunteers providing important service during COVID-19 pandemic

The national non-profit organization helps seniors take care of their dogs
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(stock photo)

While most of us stay inside to practise social distancing, volunteers are out helping vulnerable Nova Scotians and their furry companions.

ElderDog is a national non-profit organization that helps seniors and their older dogs stay together as long as possible.

Founder and Mount Saint Vincent University professor, Dr. Ardra Cole, said during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's important for seniors to minimize contact with the outside world.

"But at the same time they have dogs that are in need, and they need their dogs," Cole told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show. "We try to help in whatever way we can that is safe and reasonable."

ElderDog has a lot of active volunteers, but some aren't able to help out at this time.

"We're really busy with trying to meet the demand and we're welcoming volunteers," Cole said.

The group has enacted protocols to make sure they're following public health regulations.

"Our volunteers are doing things like arranging to pick up a dog from outside of a home so there is no contact with a senior. We're taking our own leashes and sanitizing those between dog walks," she explained. "If we're helping out by picking up dog food, that goes on the front step."

However, Cole said one of the most important services volunteers are providing right now is simply picking up the phone and talking to their clients.

"Seniors who are living alone without a support system are increasingly isolated and many of them depend on Elderdog," she added. "For many, we are their support and their lifeline."

"We're helping as much as we can to keep the dogs as active as possible and exercised, and doing whatever we can to help the seniors in need to cope during this difficult time."

Those who are able to help can find out more information about volunteering through Elderdog's website.

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