Pups, Kids and Seniors Come out to Play at Evergreen Woods Fundraiser
Nella Quasnitschka and son Jagger keep up with Cali, a Chihuahua mix, as she struts her stuff during 'Pooches on Parade' on Aug. 3, to the delight of Evergreen Woods residents and staff at the North Branford senior living community. Emily Johnson/Evergreen Woods)
Evergreen Woods resident Mary Jones pets Willow, a Golden Retriever who came out to play with his mom, Evergreen Woods Social Director Irene Gonzalez. Emily Johnson/Evergreen Woods)
Making a donation to enter Pooches on Parade, Evergreen Woods resident Barbara Blauvelt registers Cheyenne, a Chow mix, with Executive Director Blair Quasnitschka. (Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound)
Cali the dog and her young companion Jagger Quasnitschka get a friendly greeting from Evergreen Woods resident Sheila Orson. (Photo by Pam Johnson/The Sound)
Classic carnival games were a big draw for the younger set at Evergreen Woods' Pooches on Parade fundraising event Aug. 3. Emily Johnson/The Sound)
Evergreen Woods residents Tom and Gloria Hughart take a turn at the ring toss during fundraising event. Emily Johnson/Evergreen Woods)
Residents from the Evergreen Woods community gathered for Pooches on Parade Aug. 3. Emily Johnson/Evergreen Woods)
Evergreen Woods residents pitched in to help out, including parade judges (l-r) Bob Abels, Patricia Barbis and Tom Lewy. Emily Johnson/Evergreen Woods)
Josie the basset hound, grand-dog of an Evergreen Woods resident, took top honors with 'Best in Show.' Emily Johnson/Evergreen Woods)
The carnival games pulled in the kids while the pups on parade stole the show – and the hearts – of senior residents at Evergreen Woods in North Branford on Saturday, Aug. 3.
The premiere senior living community invited the public to its annual "Pooches on Parade," a carnival-themed, dog-friendly event to benefit the Alzheimer's Association and the North Branford/Branford Cosgrove Animal Shelter. In the spirit of the day, all proceeds from carnival games and treats as well as sales of dog toys, dog treats and parade registrations were divided among the two beneficiary groups. Dog treats and pet toys from the event were delivered to the shelter as donations, as well.
In addition to raising a modest amount among many feel-good moments, a side benefit of this annual event is always the priceless interaction between generations and pets, said Evergreen Woods Director Blair Quasnitschka.
"Whenever you involve something intergenerational and something pet-related, it becomes instant therapy," he said. "You see the spirits lift from anything involving the kids and the pets."
"Pooches on Parade" is one of several events tied to Evergreen Woods' award-winning JOY (Joining Older and Younger) Program. The JOY program connects the senior living community with local organizations engaged with youth ranging from pre-school to college, creating long-term partnerships through social and wellness events. In April of 2019, Evergreen Woods' JOY Program earned, for the fifth year, a national Argentum "Best of the Best Award" for Family and Resident Engagement. Argentum is the nation's largest senior living association, according to www.argentum.org
Evergreen Woods residents also volunteered to help at Pooches on Parade, including parade judges Bob Abels, Patricia Barbis and Tom Lewy. Quasnitschka noted the event, which is a favorite for residents, has been held annually for over 10 years and comes together through a joint effort involving staff, residents, and the community. Quasnitschka and a number of staff members also brought their families out to enjoy the day and share the fun with the residents.
"It just shows how familial Evergreen Woods is," said Quasnitschka.