Fluffy new residents join a Clayton senior living facility

By: | June 14, 2017

At its Clayton View location, Stonecrest residents can dote on adorable foster dogs from the APA Adoption Center. The program benefits both animals and humans.

By St. Louis Magazine

Tasha and Tessa, two five-and-a-half-week pitbull mixes, were left on an abandoned property in southern Missouri. The APA Adoption Center took them in, and now they’re getting showered with love—by the seniors at Stonecrest’s Clayton location.

Bernie Landau visits the pups daily with his wife, between sessions of model ship-building. “They do much to enhance my morale,” he says.

“And I visit them every chance I get,” adds Darlene Murray, who gets called the “dog whisperer” because she’s so good at lulling the animals to sleep.

The APA’s new foster program brings new arrivals to stay with Stonecrest, where staff and seniors feed, walk, and entertain the dogs until the animals are old enough to be adopted. Tasha and Tessa are the second litter. Sarah Javier, president and executive director of the APA, says that the program’s going swimmingly since it began in April. In the program’s earliest stages, Javier recalls one senior citizen cuddling a dog and saying, “I will love you forever!”

“That’s,” says Javier, “when I knew the program would be perfect.”

Besides taking pressure off shelters—which can’t always accommodate every pet—the program benefits both dogs and humans.

For Landau, it reminds him of younger days. “I grew up with pets—interacting with them, them putting up with me,” he says. According to studies, there are lots of mental health benefits to interacting with dogs. And, Javier adds, some scientists think that playing with dogs can improve arthritis (by providing a reason to move hands) and lower blood pressure.

The dogs get something out of it, too. As abandoned animals, they might not have the best experiences with people. And the less socialized a young animal is, the harder it can be to adopt the pet. But with dozens of people doting on them, a few weeks at Stonecrest have made APA’s abandoned puppies happy and well-behaved.

The program is still young, only about two months into its execution. But the APA has big plans: Because the program is so beneficial for shelters, seniors, and animals, they want to expand

“Our hope would be to get puppies and kitties into every senior facility,” says Javier.