THE ISSUE: New organization seeks to pair seniors and senior pets.

OUR OPINION: Good news for both.

One of the sad notes of a senior community is that there are many seniors who would like to have pets and there are many senior pets needing adoption, but it can be difficult getting them together.

Many older pets end up at the animal shelter because their owners die or move in with relatives in other states or into senior centers that do not allow pets, or because the owner feels they can no longer afford to keep the pet.

These animals who have spent their lives in a loving home are then put in cages in the animal shelter, where they are frightened and alone. And while these animals are alone, there are seniors who would like to offer a loving home to an older animal but are afraid they cannot afford the cost, or afraid they will die or move away before the pet dies.

A local nonprofit rescue organization is addressing this issue by creating a Seniors Helping Seniors Forever Foster program, where senior citizens become forever foster parents to aging pets that would otherwise be difficult to adopt.

The nonprofit Greener Side Haven Inc., covers the cost of keeping the animal, including veterinarian fees, so that the foster parent only provides the home for the senior pet.

The idea is that senior citizens who otherwise would not be able to have a pet can have one, and otherwise difficult to adopt or unadoptable pets would have a home.

This is a different idea from existing pet rescue organizations that also seek to place older pets and serve a valuable role in the community.

The issue facing this organization, as in many pet rescue operations, is maintaining funding to keep the program going. The group recently received a $7,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, but of course, much more ongoing funding will be required to carry out the goals of the organization.

We applaud their efforts and their interesting idea on how match older pets and older would-be pet homes and wish them well going forward.

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