“Pooches on Parade” a Howling Good Time
Lisa Wysocki’s Papillon, Jean Pierre, at Pooches on Parade.

“Pooches on Parade” a Howling Good Time

The Nathaniel Witherell recently hosted the first of its quarterly “Pooches on Parade” programs for 2015. The highly anticipated event attracted 14 four-legged friends that mingled with dozens of Witherell residents in the facility’s spacious auditorium. The dogs were joined by their human companions, including staff, family members, volunteers, and members of the community who had seen the notice for the event placed in local newspapers.

During the program, each owner came up to the microphone, and told the crowd on hand a little about their dogs.  For the remainder of the hour, the dogs and their owners “worked the room” and socialized with Witherell residents.

Sally Van Leeuwen, Witherell’s volunteer coordinator, refers to Pooches on Parade as the “formal part of pet therapy.” She says, “The informal part is the individual dog and owner teams who come in and go around the building on their own, coming when it is convenient for them and working it into their own schedules.” She adds, “We have regular weekday as well as weekend pet therapy volunteers. They usually spend 30 to 60 minutes going around the building and interacting with any dog lovers they come across.”

Below are some photos from Pooches on Parade:


Eleven-year-old Jackie Erensen, a sixth grader at Central Middle School in Greenwich, CT, came with her dog Lucy, a mixed breed that Jackie’s family adopted from the ASPCA in New York City. Jackie, who came with her mother, brother and grandmother, told us that she enjoyed the event so much that she would like to come back on a regular basis as a pet therapy volunteer. We look forward to bringing her on board!


Even though this was the first time Lucy had participatedin Pooches on Parade, she seemed like a natural, as can be seen by how she greeted resident Veronica Murphy.


Greenwich resident Lisa Wysocki brought her Papillon Jean Pierre, a rescue dog that has attended Pooches on Parade many times.  Lisa also brings her cat, Jackson, twice a month to Witherell’s “Cat Club.” A lap cat, Jackson enjoys being passed around by our cat lovers. Lisa, a true pet advocate, is co-founder of Fido Fixers, a charity that sends mobile units around the southeastern part of the United States to provide spaying services.


Lizzie Craddock, a Greenwich resident who hails from “across the pond,” attended the event with her dog Winnie, an English Golden Retriever (a little different than Golden Retrievers you’ll find in this country). Here, Winnie is pictured entertaining Witherell residents by showing off one of her favorite tricks – weaving in and out of Lizzie’s legs. Lizzie first came to Pooches on Parade last fall, and is now one of our regular pet therapy volunteers.

For more information on bringing your dog to an upcoming Pooches on Parade and/or becoming a Witherell pet therapy volunteer, please call Sally Van Leeuwen at 203.618.4228 or email her at withvolunteers@optonline.net.


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