Residents at Tapestry at Arbutus Walk recently spent a lively summer afternoon fundraising to support ElderDog Canada, a national non-profit organization that supports older adults in the care and well-being of their canine companions.
Like many events at Tapestry, this one was a collaboration between our employees and residents. Initially, Sous Chef Chuck So had the idea to bring together Tapestry’s dog owners for an event. Wellness Supervisor Amanda Davis knew that Chuck’s wife Myra was a volunteer with ElderDog, and suggested it turn into a fundraiser for the organization.
Tapestry’s Wellness team, including Wellness Associate Mayana Fontenele then “ran with” the idea of a walk-a-thon, planning a fun day of activities that everyone at this Tapestry location, and their neighbours in the community, could get involved with.
Planning took place throughout the month of July 2023, with employees and residents spreading the word about the coming event and sharing information about the ElderDog organization and their work.
ElderDog provides care and companionship for older dogs whose lives have been disrupted due to illness or death of a human companion, which often means saving the animals from being euthanized. The organization’s 4,000 volunteers nationwide also provide dog walking services for seniors who may be rehabilitating from surgery or an injury, or perhaps don’t feel safe walking their dog in snowy or icy conditions. This important support can help seniors keep their pets longer.
Sue, who has lived at Tapestry with her 16-year-old dog Buddy since 2019, took advantage of ElderDog’s services when she was recovering from surgery. “They were fantastic,” Sue says. “Having them take Buddy for walks let me relax, knowing that Buddy was going to be looked after. It was really good to know someone was caring for him, because all of their volunteers love dogs.”
With a number of pet owners at this Tapestry location, including some who have benefitted in the past from ElderDog’s services, there was no lack of enthusiasm for the walk-a-thon, and the Wellness team made sure there were ways for everyone to enjoy the event.
Residents could walk in the three kilometre walkathon, including getting pledges from friends and family. They could also cheer on the walkers, have their picture taken with one of the dogs at a petting booth, play a game, purchase healthy dog treats baked by Sous Chef Chuck or pre-mixed “Paw-tails” (special cocktail kits for humans) created for the event, or simply make a donation. Members of the local neighbourhood also supported the event, which was held on a greenway nestled alongside the Tapestry complex.
At the end of the day, the event raised more than $1,200 for ElderDog.
Says Mayana, “We weren’t expecting to get that much in donations – it was a great surprise, and also to see the residents so involved in the event. Some of the walkers finished the entire three-kilometre route and we had a big round of applause at the end. It was a hot day and they felt very accomplished to have completed it!” she adds.
Olga, who has lived at two different Tapestry locations over the past five years, was the top fund raiser of the event. Not only did she get donations from her family members and other residents at Tapestry, her brother agreed to match all of the donations she raised!
Olga says she is planning to use ElderDog’s services this winter to make sure her retired show dog Rene, the fifth poodle she has owned, is getting his exercise. “It’s like a big cloud has been lifted off of me,” she says. “I don’t have to worry about making sure Rene can get out for his walks.”
At Tapestry, we welcome your pets. Besides being great companions who give unconditional love, pets bring with them a number of benefits, particularly for seniors. These benefits can include improved fitness, better mental health and more socialization (pets are great conversation starters!), and pet ownership can give seniors, especially those who may have lost a partner, a sense of purpose. Read more about the Pets of Tapestry and the benefits of pet ownership.
If Tapestry sounds like the right kind of retirement living community for you (and your pet!), please contact us and we would be pleased to host you for lunch and a tour.
ElderDog provides their services free of charge and relies on donations and proceeds from an on-line store to fund their programs and activities. To learn more about ElderDog, or to make a donation, please visit elderdog.ca, email email@example.com or call 1-855-336-4226.