The Canine Fashion Show at Cottonwood Place returned on Tuesday, but with a twist.
This year, Sharon Ziegler, life enrichment coordinator at Cottonwood Place, said she wanted to increase resident involvement and decided to select three individuals to judge its fashion show based on the canine’s costume, walk, smile, behavior, strut, trick and friendliness.
Despite being more of a cat person, resident Dorothy Gubbels said she enjoyed her experience judging the dogs.
“I hope I did a good job, that’s all,” Gubbels said.
Ziegler said children and animals bring the most joy to the residents because they brighten up the atmosphere, so it made sense to continue the event after doing it the last couple of years. This year's show was held inside the assisted living community at 3271 29th Ave.
“Any type of entertainment, they thoroughly enjoy,” Ziegler said. “Pets are very therapeutic and they’ve been looking forward to it all day.”
Ziegler said she takes pride in organizing activities and events based on the residents’ childhood memories that they shared on a survey. She said the majority of the residents lived on a farm, which made them accustomed to animals. On top of the fashion show, she recently had the Horn T Zoo from Monroe visit the home.
Each applicant had to present vaccination records for their dogs to compete for the top three positions. However, those who did not place didn’t go home empty-handed. They received participation goody bags filled with dog snacks and toys.
Residents were seen cheering and smiling as each dog walked the runway with their owners by their side. One contestant flaunted the stage in Husker attire while another was dressed as a green bean.
This was Julie Kunis first time having her 12-year-old dog, Benji, participate after receiving numerous requests from her mother, who is a resident at Cottonwood Place. In preparation, Kunis handmade a green bean costume for her dog.
“He’s usually good with people,” Kunis said.
After much deliberation, second place went to Deb Zastera's dog, Dolly, who was dressed as a Husker cheerleader, and Melissa Preister, whose dog Khloe wore a dress made by her grandmother, placed second.
First-time participant Amy Cooney, who is the community relations manager at Cottonwood Place, took home the first prize for her teacup Chihuahua, Tippy, who strutted the stage in a pink knitted onesie and a spider hat.
Cooney said Tippy was no stranger to the Cottonwood community, noting she would bring the dog roughly twice a month to visit the residents.
“It feels good, it feels fun,” she said.
Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at email@example.com.