In Pers-Jussy, in Haute-Savoie, is Persy-Cat, the first animal boarding house run by people with disabilities. It was set up 12 years ago and has found its cruising speed and today inspires other ESAT (Establishment and service of help through work) throughout France.
The Persy-CAT pension, located in Pers-Jussy in Haute-Savoie, has been in existence for 12 years. 26 people with disabilities work there under the supervision of five instructors. After a sometimes chaotic start, the guest house has reached cruising speed and today inspires other ESAT (Establishment and service of help through work) in France. But setting up such a project is not that simple.
An innovative idea
The idea was born out of the financial crisis in 2008. At that time, the ESATs saw their workload greatly reduced. It was therefore necessary to get out of the purely industrial subcontracting dimension of a new project. In Pers-Jussy, the animal pension project carried out by the management took two years to establish.
“In 2010, we started very small explains Philippe Duarte, Deputy Director of ESAT Persy-CAT, the first years were a bit complicated because it was not in the current trend. And then, little by little with the proximity to Switzerland, a couple of customers arrived and we got our reputation. “
For the past three years, the pension has been almost full. “During the school holidays everything is full, during the long weekends everything is full and we manage to have a cruising pace that is quite comfortable” confirms Philippe Duarte.
A demanding job …
After all, the initial project, which did not include an industrial dimension, was reviewed. “We quickly realized that the rhythm of 365 days a year was difficult to maintain because in the beginning we had quite a few animals, and then people with disabilities are people who get tired much faster. Suddenly we had to switch between subcontracting activities where people are more peace of mind, do product packaging, and retire ” says Philip.
Today, the pace of work means that the population of ESAT, who all have cerebral palsy that can lead to motor disorders, work three weeks on the pension and one week on the subcontractor part. And it’s a good rhythm if we are to believe that Florian Barbier has been awarded the cattery (because he is afraid of dogs): “Sometimes in the workshop it’s good to rest (…) We have weekly slips sometimes it’s improved since the beginning.”
… but satisfactory
Because at the kennel as at the cattery there is no shortage of work. Every day you have to clean the boxes, feed the animals, treat them if necessary. It is demanding and tiring, but so satisfying according to Rudy Roger, who has worked for 12 years at the boarding house and would not leave his place for anything in the world. “I love my job as the first day despite the ups and downs of life, I love this job” he confides. And when asked what it brings him, he is categorical: “a total fulfillment, to feel necessary for people, for owners, for channeling energy”.
At the cattery, Aude Marquet starts cleaning vomit in a cat’s box that did not make the trip by car to the guest house, without hesitation “with this job I do not feel disabled”. However, the young woman cannot leave her wheelchair and does not have full use of her two arms, but no matter what, her partner Florian is there to help her. At retirement, we always work in pairs and we complement each other!
time to take your time
In retirement, the pace of work is adapted to people with disabilities. And it benefits the animals because the workers can take the time to look after them, cuddle them, play with them in the park or go for a walk with them in nature. Customers are satisfied and they come back. The owner of Chipie, a regular, is convinced. Her cat is well pampered at the guest house. “At least she never lost weight” he says humorously. He therefore goes on holiday with peace of mind, even though the moment of separation is always a bit harsh, “It hurts in the heart”.
A difficult example to follow
The Persy-CAT pension is an example. Many ESATs throughout France would like to be inspired by this, but it is not that simple. Because in addition to the requirements for the pension, which is open all year round, it is necessary to take into account the fatigue of people with disabilities and their physical and adaptability. “You have to be very on your feet, have physical strength to, for example, keep a high-pressure cleaner or go for a walk with the animals, and you also have to feel like it, because sometimes the animals can be scared, have attitudes that are not always very friendly. that can be aggressive animals “ specifies Clémentine Chittaro, workshop manager at the pension. By her side, Mariana Goda experienced it: “There is already a cat that bit me because I had taken it badly to carry it”.
Pension workers must therefore be closely monitored. At Pers-Jussy, 5 instructors take care of it, Clémentine explains: “They are there to lead their work a little, check what they are doing, find tips to help them in their organization, reassure them and ensure safety in their work.”
The success of such a project requires a significant investment from everyone, management, supervisory staff and workers with disabilities.