Washington County CARES hosts dog parade for senior care centers


HAGERSTOWN, Md (WDVM) – Washington County CARES got some tails wagging Thursday by bringing their furry friends to local care facilities.

They called it the Waggin’ Train, a caravan of volunteers and dogs looking to help bring some joy to residents at assisted living centers.

20 friends and members of CARES brought their pets out to Commonwealth Senior Living and Somerford Living in Hagerstown to cheer up the residents at a safe social distance.

“I’ll tell you what, the residents loved it,” Somerford Sales Counselor and CARES President Pete McMillin said. “Seeing other people come out, knowing that people care about them and are interested in them. Seeing the dogs being goofy, being fun and fuzzy. It just made such a big difference to brighten their day today.”

At least 12 dogs attended the event, with a pane of glass between them and the residents to ensure safe social distancing while still enjoying their furry company.

Patty Smith came up with the idea for the Waggin’ Train, saying the event is a safe replacement for when they could bring dogs into the buildings before there was a pandemic.

“I know a lot of the seniors miss having the dogs out in all of the facilities,” Smith said. “So we thought it’s the next best thing to have them come out the window. At least they can see them and just enjoy their funny antics and silliness, so this is what we thought we’d come up with.”

Senior care facilities are observing strict safety precautions because of COVID-19, but there was no danger in getting to see a dog in a tutu pass their bedroom window.

Smith said the event was a big hit and they’re looking to contact other senior care facilities to continue the event in the future.

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