It is widely acknowledged that pets can positively benefit the well-being of elderly owners. For many elderly people living on their own, their pets are their reason for living.
They are constant companions – on hand 24 hours a day, every day, comforting, loving and protecting their owners – not only from outside threats, but also offering the more subtle form of protection from loneliness and despair.
Pets are warm and intensely loyal. They do not criticise, they boost morale, they help reduce stress by providing emotional security, and they help to provide a fixed routine. Pets have the ability to bring happiness and laughter and lift depression. Communication with other people is often easier when a pet is present for reassurance.
The special relationship between owner and pet adds incalculably to the quality of life, but all the pleasures and benefits can be completely neutralised by intense anxiety regarding the fate of their devoted companion should the owner die, fall ill, or have to move to residential accommodation. If an ‘old faithful’ dies, elderly owners are often very reluctant to have another pet for these reasons, and life for them loses much of its warmth, light and purpose.
Cinnamon Trust is the only specialist national charity which seeks to relieve the anxieties, problems, and sometimes injustices, faced by elderly and terminally ill people and their pets, thereby saving a great deal of human sadness and animal suffering. The Trust was founded in 1985 by Mrs Averil Jarvis whose determination and dedication has ensured that the manifest need is fully addressed.
Just as Mrs Jarvis was starting her work to develop the charity, her beloved Corgi, Cinnamon, died in her 17th year. It seemed appropriate to name the Trust in her memory.
The Trust’s primary objective is to respect and preserve the treasured relationship between owners and their pets. To this end it works in partnership with owners to overcome any difficulties that might arise. A national network of over 15,000 community service volunteers has been established to provide practical help when any aspect of day to day care poses a problem – for example, walking the dog for a housebound owner.
A national fostering service is provided for pets whose owners face a spell in hospital – volunteers take pets into their own homes and supply love and care in abundance until owner and pet can be reunited.
The Cinnamon Trust also provides long term care for pets whose owners have died or moved to residential accommodation which will not accept pets. Arrangements are made between owners and the Trust well in advance, so owners do have peace of mind in the knowledge that their beloved companion will have a safe and happy future. Emergency cards are available on request.
When a pet is in the Trust’s care either short term or long term because the owner is in care, the owner is kept in touch with visits, if possible, or regular photos and letters.