Care center treated to pooch parade

— Doak Walk Care Center's hallways were lined with residents to greet dogs and their owners Thursday afternoon as part of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council docent program.

About 10 dogs with their owners dressed in Halloween costumes for the Parisian Pooch Parade and pranced around the GrandKids Child Care Center playground and down through the corridors of Doak Walker.

Steamboat Springs Arts Council docent Diana Eilers planned for the parade as a part of the Art for Seniors program through the Depot Art Center.

Each month a docent, or group of docents, alternate turns in choosing an event for the Art for Seniors program, an outreach method to give residents a look at art in the community.

Eilers said she chose to have a dog parade when a friend in Portland, Ore., did the same kind of event for the children's cancer center.

"I had a dream about the dog parade and the lady dressed up as the Statue of Liberty in the Fourth of July parade was in it," Eilers said of Jeanie Gillespie.

Gillespie and her dog Tucker dressed for the Parisian Pooch Parade as the Statue of Liberty along with many others representing bumblebees and a flower, Sherlock Holmes and a nun and an angel dog.

"I did this because my friend did it and also because it preceded Halloween. It was the perfect week (to dress up)," Eilers said.

Eilers asked dog owners around Steamboat to participate in the parade and she said they were more than willing to do it.

Celia Buckley, activities coordinator at Doak Walker, said the residents see pets in the center about three days a week, along with a live-in dog Cherokee.

Buckley said most of the residents had pets before they moved in so getting surprise visits always are soothing.

"It's very therapeutic to pet the dogs. They relate to them very well," Buckley said. "They're always thrilled to get visits from dogs."

Eilers said the best part of the parade was allowing a sick little boy see all the dogs and watching his face light up.

The parade went to the GrandKids playground, through Doak Walker and around the hospital grounds.

Although not everyone showed up with their dogs, Eilers said she was surprised to even see as many as 10 dogs and their affect on the people.

"Everyone's been really encouraging. Everybody loves dogs. It was enjoyable and light and we need more of that," Eilers said.

Eilers coordinated the event alone, but had the assistance of Deb Babcock and Louise Poppen.

"They all took an hour or so out of their day to do this. All dogs deserve a thanks," Eilers said.

Other Art for Seniors presentations have included Hayden weaver Lauretta Davidson, Shining Mountain Repertory, mountain man Hawkin Ludlum, Central City Opera, Randy Kelley, the Dahlia Quartet and storyteller Maribeth Cate.

The docent program at the Depot Art Center consists of 15 people who have received special training in 10 areas of the arts and have committed their time to serving in the art community.

Docent responsibilities include staffing the Depot, assisting art sales, jurying and hanging exhibitions and interpreting and explaining various shows.

The first instructional docent classes began in the fall 2000. The purpose of the docent program is to broaden and enhance the focus of the Depot galleries and to further the Arts Council's goals to educating and exhibiting art to Routt County and beyond.

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