CHEK Upside: Charity helping elderly dog owners keep their pets in shape

WatchElderDog Canada is a national charity that assists seniors suffering from disabilities or financial hardship look after their pets.

A national charity that helps seniors with pets facing physical or financial hardship is putting a smile on faces around Victoria. ElderDog Canada has been busy looking after animals throughout the pandemic.

The organization has garnered legions of volunteers with its Vancouver Island chapter, all of whom were drawn by what the group stands for.

“I was very motivated on the story of why ElderDog was created in recognition of senior dogs especially in the lives of older people who live alone sometimes,” says John Nias, one of the group’s volunteers.

It’s also making an impact on local seniors who depend on the service to keep the animals they love happy and in shape.

“It saved my worry and sort of in a way saved my life cause I was so fretful I couldn’t get him out properly,” says Josi Abata. She used to enjoy long walks and hikes with her 16-year-old dog Scooter, but hip issues forced Josi to reach out.

“I felt like I could do my bit to help. We would literally just do the length of this little block here it’s just not enough for him,” adds Abata.

Now John takes Scooter for long walks multiple times a week, greatly improving the mood of both Josi and her best friend, with Nias even offering to foster Scooter when Abata goes in for hip surgery.

“I could cry, I appreciate him so much,” says Abata.

“I find it rewarding that I can do something to help and enjoy doing it,” adds Nias.

The ElderDog chapter in Victoria is well equipped with volunteers at the moment. Instead, they want to spread the word to seniors in need.

“What we really would like now is to get the word out to more seniors and let them know that we are available,” says Nias.

For more information on help with dog walking, temporary foster care and rehoming, visit


Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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