KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Since 2004, Knox PAWS has paired senior citizens with senior pets, creating dozens of relationships.
"We walk a lot. She has a lot of energy," Debra Holmes said about her dog, Chloe, as she held her on her lap.
Throughout the pandemic, Chloe has served as good company for Debra, as have the other pets in the program.
With a bulk of donations going towards nonprofits offering COVID relief efforts, though, Knox PAWS is in need.
"Some of the money that we've normally been able to get from donations and funding have been going strictly to COVID relief. So, some of our everyday clients like Ms. Holmes....we've sort of had to put on the back burner," explained Knox PAWS manager Monica Brown.
The program, which is run by the Office on Aging, typically funds vet and grooming appointments, as well as food if a senior can't afford it.
"Our needs are monetary, and then also donations of products like leashes, collars, harnesses, food bowls, dog treats, dog food, cat food. We have quite a few cat clients," Brown said.
With seniors receiving fewer visitors during the pandemic, sometimes their pet is their only companion.
"Having company, it means the most," Holmes said.
According to Knox PAWS, a monetary donation can provide the following: