I had to put my beloved Jack Russell Juba to sleep when she was fourteen and a half years old. As you can imagine I was heartbroken. She had slowed down, her cataracts got worse, her deafness caused her unhappiness, but she still gave me joy and unconditional love.
For two years after she died I couldn’t face the thought of having another dog. There could never be one as special as her. But my house was not the same without a dog so I decided to try and find another one.
I knew full well that my puppy days were over, all that house training, indeed all training. And I wanted a dog which would be happy with two walks a day but no yomping over the moors.
I decided to get a rescue dog because there are so many who, for no fault of their own need new homes. I went to the RSPCA Halifax District Branch and explained that I was looking to adopt an older dog so they told me about their E.A.R.S scheme – Elderly Animals Rehoming Scheme.
This was started in 2004 by the Halifax and Huddersfield branch because it is relatively common for healthy, elderly animals of all breeds to enter the centre because their owners have passed away, can no longer afford to keep them, or have to go into care. Unfortunately, few prospective adopters are willing to take on older animals because they worry about the costs involved.
The E.A.R.S Scheme applies to dogs and cats over the age of ten. Prior to adoption all animals are fully health checked, vaccinated, wormed, microchipped, neutered and given flea treatment. The adoption cost is reduced to £5 and for a monthly payment of £5 the adopter receives an ID card that proves membership of the Scheme. If registered with the Huddersfield and Halifax branch adopters are entitled to all the benefits listed:
- A FREE booster vaccination and health check every year.
- FREE routine worm tablets and reduced cost flea treatment.
- Vets appointments at the E.A.R.S clinic on Mondays and Thursdays that cost just £5 per consultation.
- Transport to the Clinic where necessary.
- All current and future medication at a discount price.
- Veterinary discounts for elective surgery and emergency treatment from participating vets.
- 24-hour emergency phone number in case the owner is hospitalised i.e. temporary 2 week foster care.
- Prescription diets offered at a discount price.
- Discount Hydrotherapy at the “Swim Gym”.
- Discount grooming from Lara at the Warlida Grooming Salon.
- Grants for emergency treatment/elective surgery depending on the buoyancy of the Scheme.
- An invitation to exclusive E.A.R.S Members Open Days and the opportunity to win the Gwen Harris Award.
- When the time comes Euthanasia is free at the Vet clinic.
- Discount Cremation service if required.
I think this is a wonderful Scheme for all older animals in our local area and the RSPCA is set to introduce it in other branches in due time.
If you are interested in adopting an animal from the RSPCA just go on line search for your nearest branch where you will find animals of all ages looking for a new home.
As for me I am over the moon because I have just adopted Scampi under the E.A.R.S scheme. He is a 13-year-old Labrador cross, a true Gentleman who still has a real zest for life. He is very laid back and enjoys our leisurely walks but can still act like a puppy at times! I am looking forward to spending many happy years with him.
By Jane Buckle