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Tri-State K-9 Response Team

For several weeks in a row, inclement weather threatened to deter plans for a K-9 puppy parade held in honor of the residents in the assisted living and memory care neighborhoods of Arbor Terrace Mount Laurel. Finally, ideal weather prevailed for a little puppy love to be spread throughout the community.

Although COVID-19 social distancing guidelines would not allow any pooch petting this visit, it did not stop joyous waving, air kisses and the enjoyment of the outdoors and distanced socializing with neighbors and friends. The parade even extended to residents in the Evergreen neighborhood with puppy parade window visits.

The Tri-State K-9 Response team is a nonprofit organization based in New Jersey that uses certified, trained teams of dogs and their handlers to provide animal-assisted crisis response and emotional support to those in need. Teams provide comfort to victims of natural or man-made disasters, individuals or communities in crisis, or anyone who would benefit from these encounters.

“It was very relaxing, and what I enjoyed most was being able to do some sketching of the puppies and share the drawings with the dog handlers,” said Ben Cohen, the community’s unofficial resident artist. 

The afternoon was an overwhelming success with nothing but smiles from the residents. And as expected, there were some onlookers who also asked, “How much is that one?”

“It was nice to finally see residents together, socially distanced outdoors and filled with joy again, and to hear the favorite stories and cherished moments about the residents’ own pets,” said Alyssa Dolan, Engagement director. “Animals have the amazing ability to provide emotional support, plus the K-9 response team educated our residents on their mission and all the hard work these dogs have done to uplift others. We are hoping to get them back in the coming months.” 


Safe & Comfortable Senior Living Community Guide

Ellena Balkcom

About the Author: Ellena Balkcom

Ellena is a freelance writer, blogger and marketing copywriter based in Atlanta, GA, who covers health and wellness, business leadership and customer experience.