By Emily G. Peters
The power of pet companionship in undeniable, as evidenced by the millions who follow social media accounts like The Dodo and Doug the Pug. Pet Porter Pals founder Carmel Mims has found a way to preserve that power—especially for senior members of our community.
“I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating it must be for seniors to surrender their pets to a shelter when they can no longer maintain the necessary care for them—and it’s equally as heartbreaking for pets to be separated from their special senior companions,” said Mims, who launched the business in spring 2017. “My mission with Pet Porter Pals is to prevent this separation from occurring.”
Formerly working with the homeless as well as children with developmental disabilities, Mims’ heart for human services ultimately led her to supporting seniors. Through Pet Porter Pals, she offers a variety of pet-related services designed keep owners who have transitioned to assisted living close to their beloved animals.
“With my in-home pet care services, I go to seniors’ homes and provide whatever pet care service they need: daily exercise, medication administration, cage/tank cleanup, litter box maintenance, transportation to the vet or groomer and pet food and supply maintenance,” she said. Mims provides personal pet visits where she transports pets directly to her clients’ residences for regular visits.
“These aren’t just any ordinary pets, but ones that the seniors already have a very special bond with,” she said. “I’ll bring whatever animal the senior’s residential community allows!”
With her business under a year old, Mims’ vision for Pet Porter Pals remains in flux.
“My ultimate goal is to have a facility where I can care for the pets of seniors who have transitioned to assisted living facilities,” she explained. “Think of it as a pet retirement home—a place where pets can simply enjoy their golden years and live very comfortably for the duration of their lives.”
As Pet Porter Pal’s goals expand, so does its reach. Based in Pasadena, Mims serves seniors residing all over San Gabriel Valley, from Glendale to Arcadia to San Marino. She focuses especially on seniors with mobility challenges or the inability to drive—something she says her clients value.
“For someone who may not be steady on their feet or experiencing pain in their joints, walking their dog or cleaning out a litter box/cage/tank can be difficult. Yet all of those tasks must be done on a regular basis to keep the pet as healthy as possible,” she said. “I’ve received nothing but positive feedback and support because they recognize the need for my services.”
With the growing popularity of therapy animals, Mims’ services testify to the powerful benefits of senior-pet companionship.
“The connection that seniors and pets share can be life-saving. Studies have proven that pet ownership can help improve physical and mental health of pet parents by reducing stress, depression and blood pressure,” she said. “The unconditional love that a pet and senior have for one another could be the very thing that keeps the senior going each day. It’s why I strive to ensure their bond is never broken.”