This is the seventh of nine segments which Univision Seattle, KUNS Channel 51, is proudly airing on Wednesdays at 6pm and 11pm. This segment is focused on how RASKC is partnering with Farrington Court Retirement Community to bring weekly pet visits that provide companionship both to the residents as well as our senior pets who thrive off of warm, friendly cuddle time. Learn more about RASKC’s stories on Univision.

Story by: Jaime Mendez, Reporter and Anchor

In this country, the majority of people living alone are senior citizens, many times it is because they don’t have any visitors or their families place them in a retirement home where they are soon forgotten. But, thanks to a King County employee, she is bringing these residents a huge smile and a very welcome visitor. 

A smile that doesn’t have a price, and all thanks to Lori Mason, who not only is an employee at the Regional Animal Services of King County, but is passionate about animals and is always thinking of way to improve their lives and engage with the community. [Lori Mason] “Senior for Seniors is a program that was established in response to the number of senior cats we have at our shelter that aren’t as easily adopted out because they need greater care which can be a financial burden.” These are the cats that no one wants to adopt because they are senior years, therefore Lori proposed to bring these cats to senior retirement homes, whether it was to simply provide a friendly pet visit or with the chance of being placed for adoption. An idea that was welcomed with open arms. [Marcia Byrd] “I really believe in pet therapy, they help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and I think that seniors are always looking for companionship.” The director of this place in Kent explains that many of the residents here are lonely, and the aspect of bringing a pet brings great joy. But these pets not only bring companionship to the residents but the staff as well grow quite fond of the pets . [Maria Araceli Gonzalez] “Oh yes, very much, there’s some that follow me in the hallways looking for cookies.” Maria has been working at this retirement center for four years, and can attest to the positive impact. “We have service dogs and when they come, the people light up and it gets crowded in this area.” For them, being able to provide affection to pets is not just a nicety, but incredibly needed too which is why King County wants to promote this program that they call “Senior for Seniors” which offers very good incentives. [Lluvia Ellison-Morales] “We are the ones covering the costs, we will pay for the food, we will pay for the vaccinations, we will pay for everything as long as people are able to provide love and affection and a warm home”. A community program where everyone wins. 

You can find more information about Senior for Seniors by visiting the King County pets site, and clicking on the “foster” page.