PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Sometimes "PRETEND" is a wonderful thing to do! Today the Lieberman Center (which contains a floor each for End of Life, Cardiac, Rehab, Alzheimer's, Assisted Living, and Independent Living) had a dog show called "The Lieberminster."

All kinds of dogs (belonging to residents, families, volunteers, employees, staff, etc) participated in a dog show in the main social hall on the first floor. Several hundred residents (in all states of ability and awareness) and their families joined in the fun.

Chairs, wheel chairs, beds, and other strange looking machinery congregated in a circle around the center "show floor." A table of judges awarded prizes. Various award areas included among many: best trick, nicest coat, cutest dog, best behaved, owner/dog look alike, and shyest.

Throughout the show, the dogs were walked around the floor so residents could get a close up look and possibly to pet them. Every now and then a minor scuffle between dogs (and once between residents) broke out.

The "dog handlers" were all amateurs. The event, while well organized, fluttered and stopped depending on the goings on and/or needs of the residents. The "parade music" was sometimes too loud and sometimes too soft. I am not sure how alert the judges were, or how discriminating for that mater. The awards were blue paper circles with paper ribbons attached and magic marker printed categories.

Many of the residents were looking in the wrong directions, or slumped over asleep, or talking to themselves, or just not present. Many of the residents were smiling, attending, petting, laughing, and having a generally good time.

Refreshment included make-it-yourself powdered hot chocolate and wafer cookies.

The beautiful thing about this is that it took place as an important "something to do." Many people were cheered up. Advertisements were posted on each floor and on the elevators. People looked forward to the event and discussed it (if able to do so) over dinner. The residents felt a little better, the families who attended felt a little better, and my guess is that the dogs felt a sense of altruism!

So if this was only a PRETEND dog show, and if much of it was past the ability or attention span of many of the attendees, it moved me with its respect for fellow humanity and the recognition that each human life, no matter how diminished; is worthwhile, to be valued, to be loved.

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