Some of the dogs live with residents at Beth Sholom Village, others come to work with their owners; many visit loved ones with their family members, and then there are those that community members bring by on occasion. Whatever the case may be, the dogs that walk through the doors of the assisted living facility are greatly appreciated and enjoyed. And now, a calendar for 2015 showcases 13 of those adorable canines and people who either live in Beth Sholom Village or receive therapy there.
The facility is home to more than 180 people. Marcia Brodie, the home’s director of marketing, came up with the idea to create the calendar in a roundabout way this past summer when she tried to increase her 10-year-old daughter Jemma’s reading. They formed a book club, and Jemma selected a book by Sue Halpern titled, “A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home.”
Halpern chronicled the adventures of her dog, Pranksy, and what she went through while visiting a nursing home for years. “That sparked a thought,” said Brodie. Brodie contacted her friend, John Toomey, chair of the music department at Old Dominion University, who is also a photographer. He agreed to shoot the photos – one for each month with a resident and a dog (December has two residents and two dogs) – which took three weeks to complete.
“These are real photos,” said Brodie. “Some residents are ill and some are ambulatory, but they are all happy for that moment.” January features resident Isidore Simonoff with a family member’s dog, Meryl Streep. February not only brings us Valentine’s Day, but also William Cavalluzzi, a rehab patient, holding Truffles, who also graces the calendar’s cover.
There’s Charlie, Jake, Eli, Bailey, Brandy, Zoey, Lyza, Tank, Belle and Bruno – all getting a little loving from William Llewellyn, Isabel Burchell James Schleeper, Arthur Glazer, Robin Taylor, Sheila Prupis, Nina Mungo, Jack Nance and Rebecca Rubin.
Two of the residents, Trudy Friedman and Edith Day, passed away before the calendar was printed. Max, a labradoodle who weighs in at 75 pounds and has a heart of gold, has been coming to Beth Sholom Village for six years with his owner, Mo Hardy, a physical therapy assistant.
“There is nothing like showing up with a very cute dog who has soulful eyes and a touch of mischief in her to brighten up residents, staff and visitors and give them permission to be playful and silly and loving and generous,” wrote Halpern in the calendar’s foreword.
Brodie mentioned that Moses the cat has lived in the memory enhancement center for the past 10 years.
“I’ve been told that he goes in to check on every patient at night,” said Brodie, noting she contemplated including him at the end of the calendar. “But, maybe that’ll spark a cat calendar for 2016.”