Gerri Cordry has fond memories of a dog she and her husband owned for 20 years.
“My husband passed away, and he held her on his lap all of the time and rubbed her, and she really missed that afterwards,” she said.
While taking care of a dog is a lot of work, Cordry said it gave her comfort knowing the dog made her husband feel good.
Since becoming a resident of Hoosier Christian Village in Brownstown, Cordry hasn’t owned a dog.
On Tuesday, though, she got to see a variety of four-legged friends, pet them and give them dog treats when the senior living facility hosted its inaugural HCV Dog Parade.
“Well, I loved it,” Cordry said with a big smile after the event.
Activities Director Allison Sparks recently shared a flier about the event on Facebook inviting people to bring their dogs to the facility for the residents to see.
She received a very positive response.
“It was wonderful,” Sparks said. “Everyone was great to come out. We had a really good turnout. I love how the people from the community dressed their dogs up and got involved. They are always good to us here.”
Those dressing up for the occasion included Denise Stevens and her St. Bernard, Bosley, who wore dinosaur masks; Hanna Hunsucker and her dog, Ethel, who wore Indianapolis Colts jerseys; and Allison Brown and her poodle mix, Toby, which donned a multicolored striped sweater.
“I think they liked his rainbow shirt,” Brown said, smiling.
The Norman resident said she was happy to be a part of the event.
“I’m friends with Alli, so she had talked about (the dog parade), and she knows I’m a big fan of dogs,” Brown said. “We’re all ready to get out from COVID, so I thought it would be fun to bring him out and see these guys. Alli does a lot of good stuff with socialization, and we all enjoy it. It’s for us, too.”
Brown said the residents asked about her dog’s name and liked giving him treats.
“I think it brought a lot of joy to a lot of us,” Brown said. “Hopefully, they enjoyed it, something different.”
Sparks said she came up with the idea for the dog parade after having success in June with the inaugural Farm Day, where people from the community brought farm animals and tractors for the residents to see.
The facility also hosted Village Fair in the summer of 2020, where tractors, animals, food, games and other popular attractions at the Jackson County Fair were brought to the residents since they couldn’t go to the county’s largest event due to it being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sparks said the staff likes to do at least a couple of big events each month for the residents.
“We had just done the parades before, and I thought we could just put another spin on it,” she said. “Residents love animals here.”
She enjoyed seeing the residents’ interactions with the dogs and their owners and also hearing stories about dogs they had in the past.
“We had one talking about her beagle that she used to have, so I’m sure it helped them remember the dogs they had at home,” Sparks said.
“They absolutely adored it,” she said of the dog parade.
The county fair is scheduled for July 25 to 31 this year, and Sparks said they plan to take residents there for the animals, activities, food and exhibits.
The dog parade likely will occur again, too.
“I was thinking it might be kind of fun to do at Halloween and have a Halloween parade,” Sparks said.