The Cinnamon Trust – supporting the elderly and their pets.
The Cinnamon Trust (Contact details shown at the bottom of the page) operates throughout the United Kingdom and is the only specialist charity for elderly and terminally ill people and their pets. If you know someone who can no longer look after their dearly loved dog, cat or budgie, or is looking for a residential home where animals are welcome, the Cinnamon Trust will probably be able to help.
The Trust relies completely on donations and the support of volunteers. If you love pets and would also like to help the elderly, perhaps you might consider volunteering for this worthwhile charity.
Averil Jarvis, founder and Chief Executive of the Cinnamon Trust, explains more about the work of this charity.
Age creeps up on all of us and as it does we gradually, imperceptibly sometimes, can’t quite do what we once could. For pet owners this can be a source of dread and sadness. Frailty and illness can mean that even day-to-day care of a much loved, much needed companion poses seemingly insurmountable problems. That’s where The Cinnamon Trust comes in - a national charity founded especially to help with any problem or worry besetting elderly or terminally ill pet owners.
The Cinnamon Trust was registered in 1985 in response to a very particular need which, until then, had been ignored, dismissed or both. The need was an interlinked human/animal one. Cinnamon Trust is the specialist national charity for elderly people and their companion animals.
We have an established national network of over 11,000 registered volunteers. All volunteers are tasked from our headquarters in Cornwall and all help in the ways that are most appropriate to them. Teams take it in turn to visit housebound owners throughout the country: to take dogs for daily walks; volunteers foster pets as one of their family when owners face a spell in hospital; they take pets to the vet, they go and buy the cat food, clean the budgie’s cage out! The support of the Cinnamon Trust ensures volunteers can tackle any problem posed in day to day care of pets. It’s wonderful how things can work out - for instance, a vet from Norfolk called. His elderly client’s dog had developed diabetes and she couldn’t manage the life preserving daily insulin injections. She was absolutely distraught. We had a volunteer close to her who was a nurse - a telephone call established that our volunteer would be very happy to pop in each day and give the little dog her insulin. One life reprieved, one owner over the moon, one precious relationship safe for a little longer - and one vet hugely impressed!
We also have established a national register of nursing homes, residential homes, sheltered housing for the elderly that will accept residents and their pets. To date we know of 744 such places and, in order to promote this practice and reward it, we organise an annual “Pet Friendly Care Home of the Year Award”. We think it is safe to say that any elderly pet owner too frail to stay in their own home need now no longer fear they will be parted from their much loved and needed pet. This can be especially important for “confused” owners - our own research has shown that owners can often relate to their pet long after they are unable to relate to friends, family and the world in general.
“What if I die?” Cinnamon Trust has established two unique sanctuaries for bereaved pets. We have no kennels and no cages. We do have large warm sitting rooms - chairs, sofas, beanbags, rugs on the floor and TV. Everything is comforting, comfortable, familiar - nothing to frighten or bewilder an animal who has given so much to somebody and whose world has now fallen apart. We have long standing and very dedicated animal carers - so “our” animals have a proper loving home. And age is immaterial! We had Baby, a cat of 20 years, who lived another two, Poppy a little mongrel was 16 when she arrived and 20½ when she died. Even as I write we have several 20 year old cats - all have been with us three or four years, three 17 year old dogs and a 19 year old. The emphasis at the Sanctuary is on love and care and life. The animals lead the life they want to. The cats have wonderful “play gardens”, the dogs love their walks - running free and each one of them believes they can catch that rabbit!
Younger animals that are bereaved are often placed in life-long foster homes. These can be with volunteers who were fostering them when the owner died in hospital, with other older folk whose own pet has died, or with families coming to us for a pet. We maintain ultimate responsibility for all of them, pay the vets’ bills and keep in regular touch. This is very important in order to honour the promises we make to owners.