PHOENIX — “Look at this, hi precious,” said Scottsdale resident Bea Tallent as her new kitty Mya crawled from a small kennel and into her arms.
It’s a delivery of unconditional love, transforming heartache into joy for the 89-year-old Scottsdale resident. These life-changing moments are taking place for seniors across the Valley thanks to a nonprofit called The Barnhouse Community. The organization and its team of wonderful volunteers are on a mission to change the lives of seniors in need of companionship.
“My desire is to connect people and animals on whatever level that is, and I think there’s something significant about that connection,” said Cassidy Porter.
Porter founded The Barnhouse Community in December 2020, launching their companion program shortly after. It aims to bring happiness to sick and lonely seniors by matching them with furry friends.
“Many seniors however worry about their ability to sustain daily care, veterinary visits, and costs. Others are concerned with what would happen to their cherished pet, if the pet outlives them,” said Porter.
The organization seeks to remove all of those potential barriers by arranging for whatever assisted supportive care is needed and accepting the pet back into the program when the time comes.
“It was disheartening to see all these animals in cages in organizations that didn’t have anywhere to go and didn’t have homes,” said Porter.
Instead, she works to connect with seniors like Bea and give cats like Mya the home they deserve.
“From the very beginning, she was a very affectionate kitty, she just belonged here, these wonderful people found her for me,” said Bea.
Bea, a retired flight attendant is battling stage four cancer. Her 18-year-old cat Gracie recently passed away. Her death left a massive hole in her heart now filled by Mya.
“When you're alone, you’re used to having someone for 18 years, you miss them terribly,” said Bea.
Volunteers with the organization come change out litter boxes once a week if needed and provide all food and vet care for the seniors now acting as foster parents to their new pets. In the end, it forms the perfect match at a time it’s needed most.
The Barnhouse Community is always in need of monetary donations as well as volunteers to assist their seniors with their new companions. If you’d like to get involved, you can visit their website.