Adoption program pairs senior dogs with elderly

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It’s the first of its kind in the nation. A program that pairs senior K-9’s with elder members of our community. 

The Senior K-9 Adoption Program started roughly three weeks ago right here in Bakersfield. 

This morning on 17 News at Sunrise we checked back in with Bootsy and his Foster Friends at the Rehabilitation Center of Bakersfield. 

“He needs a lot of love,” said Sharon Stewart, a program participant.

Sharon Stewart signed up to take Bootsy potty everyday.  It could be a daunting task for someone who has had two strokes and is paralyzed on the right side of her body, but not for Sharon.  Not when it comes to Bootsy. 

“I love him and it’s worth it,” Stewart said. 

It’s seniors helping seniors and it’s giving purpose and hope to people and dogs in our community who are often overlooked. 

“Bootsy he wants to be loved like we want to be loved, you know,” said Azalee Hester, another program participant. 

Azalee Hester signed up to meet with people interested in adopting Bootsy.  She takes them around the nursing home and gives them the opportunity to interact with their potential new pup.  She says knows exactly the type of person she’s looking for. 

“He needs someone that’s going to care for him well and give him a lot of love and attention because we give him a lot of love and attention,” Hester said. 

Valerie Miller is in charge of taking phone calls from those interested in adopting Bootsy.  It’s a job she has experience in and is eager to do because she says it allows her to chat with people in the community.  Plus, it will help find Bootsy a new home. 

“I’ve always done this type of work and I enjoy it,” said Valerie Miller. 

Bootsy has created an opportunity for residents at the rehabilitation center to give back to their community. 

“I think it’s really highlighting that the senior citizens that are here in out facility are extremely capable,” said Kari Fabrizio, a Speech Language Pathologist.

“I mean they’re doing things you wouldn’t think they were able to do and in a wheelchair,” said Olicia Hyler, a caregiver at the Rehabilitation Center of Bakersfield. 

Bootsy has brought purpose and joy into their lives. 

“How much is that doggy in the window?  I hope that doggy’s for sale,” sang Ron Langworthy, a participant in the program. 

If you’re interested in adopting Bootsy you can contact Valerie Miller on the Senior K-9 Adoption hotline at 205-9607.

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