"Seniors, disabled, and veterans are more attached to their pets than children," said For Pets' Sake Co-Founder, Laurie Beckman. "Sometimes it's the only living things in the house with them."
Mario is just one of many dogs fostered by the group For Pets' Sake. The group adopts out dogs it has saved from local shelters, and tries to pair senior dogs with senior citizens who are looking for a new fuzzy friend.
"I hope they get a connection for life, a companion that is going to be with them for a long time," Beckman said.
With this type of program animals get good homes and for many adopters, the pets change their lives dramatically.
"Two veterans said they couldn't sleep, they say 'the first day I got my dog I slept all night.' It's that kind of quality of life, it's intangible," Beckman said.
Before adoption all animals see a vet, are spayed or neutered, and receive a microchip. The program also pays up to $100 a year in veterinary care for each dog, and offers free food once a month to help seniors on a tight budget. Research shows having pets can help with loneliness and depression in anyone, especially senior citizens.
Despite his small stature, Mario hopes to show a new friend his big heart sometime soon.
The group is also working on a program in schools that will teach children about animal welfare and caring for pets.
For more information on For Pet's Sake, go to www.for-pets-sake.org