Nursing home replaces woman’s therapy cat with a robotic version

For the last two years, senior Dawn Douglas, who has dementia, has been living in a care home in Duncan, British Columbia waiting for her cat Snoop to join her.

Snoop wasn’t allowed in to the seniors residence, Sunridge Place, until the family went through a number of bureaucracies to ensure the residence staff that the cat was fine.

Douglas’ son Bill Court said Snoop could only move in to the home if the family got all the right forms from the family doctor and a veterinarian and provided assurances that the cat’s hygiene and vet bills would be the family’s responsibility.

It took the family more than 18 months to get all the paperwork in place. A day after Snoop was finally brought in to be with Douglas, the family says staff at the care home told his mother they were taking the cat for a bath.

When they returned, they gave Douglas, 66, a robotic stuffed toy, not her living cat.

The cat had to be removed, according to a spokeswoman at Park Place Seniors Living, the operators of the care home, after a staff member had a severe allergic reaction to the feline.

“What we ended up having to do was rehome the pet with a staff member who is lovely and real animal lover until we could find a resolution and work with the family,” said Lynda Foley, vice-president of quality assurance.

Foley said she could not comment on allegations that Douglas was told the cat was being removed to have a bath, but she said Park Place does use robotic animals for some residents.

She said live-in pets are not permitted at any Park Place facility and she had not seen documents the family believe show permission for the cat’s permanent stay at Sunridge Place.

“My side of the story continues to be that the well being of our residents and our staff comes first,” she said.

Court, who now has Snoop, and Douglas say they are pursuing the matter on their mother’s behalf with the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

“She was so much more calm and focused and that was the whole point of her having the cat, was to relieve her of her anxiety,” said Douglas.

h/t: PQB News


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  1. It’s always “allergies”. Allergies my left foot. The resident’s needs should always come first.

    And tell the FAMILY about this so THEY can make arrangements to re-home their mom’s cat.
    This was handled so badly This is one place I’ll be sure to never put on my family’s list.

    If I were the family I’d let A Place For Mom and other matching facilities about this.

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