Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lilo's Story, Part I

Yesterday, STScI staff member Tom asked if the lovely Miss Lilo could join up as the newest Space Paws cadet. Of course we said, "Of course!"

Tom and Cheryl are looking after Lilo for now. Lilo's mom (who is also Cheryl's mom) had to enter assisted living recently. Sadly, the facility does not allow residents to bring their furiends with them.* Mom and Lilo miss each other very much and Mom will feel a lot better when she knows Lilo has a loving furever home.

Cheryl told us some of their story:

Lilo came to live with my mom two years ago. A year prior we had a cat who was 16 that passed away. She was everything to my mom. Lilo's original owners had to move quickly to a rental and could not take their dog Mylo or Lilo. The owner's mother was a client of my sister and knew my mom was living alone. We thought we'd give Lilo a try. It took a few months, but the two became best buds! Lilo constantly followed my mom around, jumping up in her lap when she would sit down and curling up next to her in bed. I know they miss each other.

Lilo [is living] at my mom's condo with daily visits from the family and a pet sitter. She has plenty of food and always fresh water. We know she misses my mom and needs a loving family.

Cheryl's sis did try to integrate Lilo into her household of three cats, but introductions weren't going well. Tom and Cheryl are full up with three kittehs of their own so Lilo is back at the condo she knows and loves for now.

Cheryl and I will be talking in the next couple of days, and we'll see what options we have to find Lilo a great home. Cheryl has promised to get more pics and maybe a video or two. Tomorrow, some more pics and I'll share more about Lilo, too!

* An Aside on Elder Care and Pets

My aunt was lucky enough to be in an assisted living facility that encouraged pets (Brightview, Perry Hall, MD - they even had a "house beagle!"), but there just aren't enough enlightened elder care facilities around. Independent living facilities are much more likely to allow pets than assisted living.

Often options are limited when someone enters, or a family must place a loved one in, assisted living. Location, care specialty and finances can dictate what options are open so, please, no criticism of families whose loved ones enter facilities that do not allow pets! Even though senior care managers are waking up to the benefits of the special bond between the elderly and their furry companions, too many have not yet gotten the message.

(Nope, this isn't a pic of my aunt, I can't find one right now with a pet, but the "look" in the photo reminds me of her!)

So guys, this is another area in which we animal (and people) lovers can make a difference!! Be a voice encouraging elder care facilities to recognize the therapeutic value of pets in assisted living situations.

We can all advocate! You can be low key, simply giving articles, like this one from US News & World Report, to the managers and the staff of facilities that don't allow animals when we visit our friends and family who are in residence. Surf the web for more ammo! If you're bolder, you might say a few words about the effects of separation on both your loved one and their pets, and encourage the management to contact administrators of facilities in your area that do allow animals, to learn about their experiences. And, if you are lucky enough to be visiting a facility allowing pets, be sure to express your support!

Can you imagine the impact if every family, who faced this kind of difficult situation, simply gave every care giver they encountered an article? The message would be loud and clear!!


  1. That is a tragedy when seniors have to leave their pets behind. Hopefully things will change in the future. By the way, thanks for coming to visit us today. It's nice to meet you.

  2. The seniors centre where my mom used to work always had at least one dog and one cat living with them. The people in wheelchairs especially loved when the kitty would come and curl in their lap and the others loved throwing a ball so they could watch the dog go and fetch it. Anything to keep everyone's mind active. Good stuff ~ great post!

  3. Lilo is such a sweetie & I totally agree, we all need to advocate for seniors keeping there pets...along with humans NOT dumping their senior pets when they get older too!

  4. There's a wonderful community in DC that is both independent and assisted living that invites my shelter out for indoor adoption events. The residents love meeting our animals and usually we get a lot adopted into this great community. A friend did her masters in gerontology (sp?) and always advocates for centers to allow pets. There really is a healing connection between people and their animals.

  5. (btw, by my shelter I mean the one I volunteer at, I don't run it or anything)

  6. Breaks my heart to think of someone having to give up their pets because they can't take it with them...must be so difficult to move away from your home and all that's familiar, and on top of that, have to lose your furbaby as well...I also agree with Brian on advocating for both seniors keeping their pets and for people keeping their senior pets...

  7. Thanks for visiting us....we are very happy to meet you. We so hope that Lilo will find a happy, loving home. It has to be traumatic for both her and her human. Our mamabug gets concerned at times about what would happen to the two of us if she couldn't keep us anymore, but she is relieved to know that our sisterbean would take us in a heartbeat.

  8. We really hope Lilo finds a home furry fast! We agree about the theraputic results furries have on people, especiialy children and the elderly. Too bad Lilo wasn't able to go with her mom.

  9. Oh this is a sad story for both Lilo and her mom. We hope that Lilo is able to find a good forever home soon. Moving and moving again is probably hard on her. We know with adult cats it is a lot harder to add them to an existing cathome - but we are glad they at least tried to and realzied that is wasn't the best situation for anyone. We are sending lots of purrs and prayers to Lilo and her owner because they are going through such a sad time now. We hope Lilo finds a forever home soon!

  10. I just wanted to let you know that I grabbed Mr. Linky here and posted it on my blog.

    Me, SU and the cast o characters are keeping paws crossed for Lilo.



  11. This is more of a problem then most know. My mother adopted two senior dogs from a shelter that received them from two separate homes in which their senior owners were moving into assisted living. You'd be surprised how many pets end up in shelters when their owners can no longer take care of them. Please encourage everyone you know who is contemplating moving into or having a family member move into a facility to do their research. Taking the family pet is always the best for everyone concerned. Loneliness is an epidemic in the older community and pets are wonderful companions.

  12. Ah, it's so sad about Lilo and her mama! I now when my mother was in a home they brought pets in a couple of times a week as therapy, but I agree it would be better if folks could keep their own pet. They're losing so much already -- that's a tough one.

    Lilo looks like a very pretty girl. I sure hope you can find her a good home soon. I'll look forward to seeing more of her in the meantime.

  13. What happened to Lilo and her mother shouldn't happen period. Unless her assisted living space is more like a dorm room than an apartment, there's no reason to separate the two. I hope Lilo finds a new home soon with people who can sneak Lilo in for the occasional visit (or at least mail her pictures).



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