Howell, NJ/ NJ.Com — During the sunset years, the pace of life slows down. That’s true for humans and dogs.
They came bearing gifts.
Diana Lastra, who is the escapades producer with Brandywine at Howell, said they brought a donation of gift cards, various cleaning supplies including baby wipes, training pads and some doggy diapers, to help the shelter. The vision of the shelter is: “To enhance the lives of senior dogs by committing to provide them with a forever home in our sanctuary, a long-term foster home or in an adoptive home, and to change the way people value and view older dogs.”
The pace was deliberate and measured as it is to be expected among residents and canines alike who have lived long lives.
A few of the dogs seemed just too plain tired to receive visitors, among them a large white senior dog named Ollie. But Ollie perked up when approached by resident Molly Brooks, whose hand got an enthusiastic licking when she reached out from her wheelchair to pet him.
Feeling that petting the dogs wasn’t enough, some residents expressed the desire to give their new friends treats, but alas, the senior dogs are on restricted diets.
The love and affection they received from their visitors would be all the nourishment they could receive on this particular afternoon, but that was sufficient.
And the avenue of love was a two-way street. “First of all, I love animals’” said resident Mary Pascarelli. ” I was looking forward to coming in to see them.”
Resident Alba Baldasare is legally blind. A senior dog named Peanut was brought next to her on a sofa and she gently leaned in for a little face-to-face time. She later said of the dogs, “I wish I could take them home right now!”
Lastra, who fosters puppies herself, said she only recently started her job at Brandywine and when she found out about Marty’s Place and their Seniors for Seniors program, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. “Who doesn’t love an animal?” she said. “I know dogs bring me joy so I wanted to do that for my residents.”
Resident Mary Pascarelli added, “I think they’re all adorable, and they made me feel a little happier today.”