‘Seniors for Seniors’ Takes Homeless Elderly Dogs to Visit Nursing Homes

A new program is giving elderly people in Grand Traverse County an opportunity to bond with man’s best friend.

The "Seniors for Seniors" program is on a mission.

They’re taking senior hospice dogs to local nursing homes for visits.

Seniors for Seniors is a simple concept, but it’s making people’s days.

“How can you explain a dog? They’re fun,” Samaritas Senior Living Resident Caroline Gauthier said.

Fun, friendly and looking for love.

The people living at the Samaritas Senior Living have plenty to give.

The Seniors for Seniors program brings them together with the Silver Muzzle Cottage –a hospice center for homeless senior dogs.    

“Very, very happy to have dogs come in," said Caroline. "Most of the people here have had them.”

Caroline spent most of her adult life with dogs, but can’t own one at the nursing home.

The Cottage started the program to help both humans and canines.

“There are many medical and emotional benefits," explains Silver Muzzle Cottage Director Kim Nelson. "The dogs are known to actually lower a person’s blood pressure. Just by being present.”

Most of the dogs at the Cottage came from neglect or abuse situations.

“This dog came from a hoarding situation. I don’t know how much attention she got, but she’ll get attention here,” said Seniors to Seniors Coordinator Anita Marsy-Bosley. “She’s a little timid, but I think as she does this more and more she’ll get braver.”

As the residents play and bond with the dogs, both share affection that has the potential to grow over time.

“They give us something that its unconditional love. No matter how old you are, it’s a wonderful thing.”

The Silver Muzzle Cottage hopes with more volunteers, they can expand the program to other homes.

For more information, contact the Cottage on Facebook.

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