PalmBeachPost.com - Lela Jordan’s mission was to assist senior citizens who couldn’t pay their bills, were losing their homes or could no longer live on their own. But one day while checking on a senior, she felt something cold and wet on her hand and discovered the nose of a Labrador retriever who needed help too.
“She was sick, infected. The owner just could not take care of her anymore. (The owner) had cancer and other issues. He surrendered her to me, and I found Gabby a new home. And that kind of started it.”
That started the Elders on the Edge Pet Fund about a decade ago. By Jordan’s own estimate, the fund has helped relocate almost 100 dogs, cats, birds and two turtles.
Dianne Sauve, who heads the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control services, says Jordan is selling her work short. “If you've added all the animals she’s helped through that program, you’d be looking at four figures,” said Sauve.
Jordan’s day job is as the director of the Vickers House, a community resource center with two locations in West Palm Beach. In 2002, Jordan helped create the Elders on the Edge program to assist seniors.
“Half the people I’d go to take care of had pets,” Jordan said. “I couldn’t just walk out and leave the dog, the cat, the bird in a terrible situation. They don’t understand what’s happened. They don’t know the person doesn’t remember them or can’t bend over for them.”
This week, Jordan’s heart strings were pulled again. But this time the pets – two cats – belong to a family that abandoned them with a note of regret explaining they’d recently become homeless and wanted the cats cared for. Jordan wants help finding the family in hopes of helping both them and the felines.
After all, when Jordan does succeed it just feels right.
“I was able to go back to Gabby’s owner to show him a picture of her before he died. He was in tears he was so happy. That was his only friend, he didn’t have any family. He wanted her to go on and have a good life, and I was able to give that to him.”
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Written by Sonja Isger
Image by Damon Higgins