The Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), a DC-based animal welfare organization, is now bringing groups of seniors and pets together virtually in Zoom meet-ups.
The move is part of a new program called “Senior Pet Connect,” which aims at providing emotional support for seniors living in the District as they battle isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
HRA is partnering with the DC Department of Aging and Community Living to conduct the program.
A pilot Zoom call under the program took place on Friday. During the call, various animals (dogs, cats, birds, and a chicken) appeared together with their owners to cheer up the elderly participants.
(1/2) DACL is excited to partner with the @HumaneRescue Alliance to make connections with seniors & their pets in foster care. The goal will be to support our efforts in combatting isolation by enabling homebound seniors to interact with pets, whether virtually or in-person. 🐶🐱 pic.twitter.com/VwAbOw3C5y
— Department of Aging & Community Living (@DCAgingNews) March 5, 2021
“We know this last year has been really tough for all of us. It’s really reinforced the important role that animals have on all of us,” said Dani Rizzo, HRA’s digital director, during the session. “They’ve really served as a lifeline, and as a means of socialization when so many of us have been lonely and isolated. And while we can’t be together quite yet in-person, we thought the next best thing would be a video call.”
More Zoom meet-ups will be held through the Senior Pet Connect program.
If you or a senior you know would consider taking part in the Zoom sessions with pets, you can email the DC Department of Aging and Community Living at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HRA’s mission is to serve as a model for other animal welfare groups for “a community where there is a loving home for every unwanted animal, affordable medical care for every sick and injured animal, an end to animal abuse and cruelty, and stronger bonds between animals and people through education and training,” according to the its website.
The group has been working to provide care and protection for animals in the District for over 150 years.