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Halloween Contest – Dog Style

by Elaine Johnson
Animal-Assisted Therapist
North Spring Behavioral Healthcare

Halloween Contest at North Spring Behavioral Healthcare

These are not usually the clothes you see paws4people assistance dogs wearing! They have traded in their vests for Halloween costumes.

The contest was planned and organized by Elaine Johnson, Animal-Assisted Therapist at North Spring Behavioral Healthcare Residential Treatment Center. She had help from Debbie Fox a long time volunteer handler. Staff from all departments joined in to help the residents of each unit decide on and create their K-9 costumes.

Elaine provides individual and group therapy for residents with her two Psychiatric Service Dogs, MOLLY, a 8 year-old Chocolate Labrador Retriever, and, WILLSON, a 3 year-old Golden Retriever.  Debbie Fox visits weekly with her two yellow Labrador Retrievers; CLEO and IZZY.  CLEO and IZZY have been visiting North Spring for 4 years.  Debbie’s loyalty and dedication to North Spring residents is unmatched. Unfortunately, Lisa Kimball, another volunteer K-9 handler was unable to visit due to illness of her Educational Assistance Dog; NORMAN.  NORMAN is an English Mastiff. He was included in absentia In the “costumed dog walk.”

Each dog was dressed by the residents, there were some costume malfunctions and difficulties, but that didn’t stop the “costumed dog walk parade’ for all residents to see.  The costumes were judged by the nursing department on the following criteria:  Creativity/Originality, Best Pawsonality, Best Runway Walk, Use of Materials, Safety/Comfort for the dog. The scores were totaled and the award for “Best in Show” went to WILLSON for his Dentist K-9 Costume, he apparently had the best runway walk as well, as you can see by the photo he is a ham.

Other awards were:

NORMAN – Most Resourceful – Banana costume, there was some difficulty getting something big enough for him.

CLEO – Most Ironic – Catwoman

WILLSON – Most Original/ creative – Skunk

IZZY – Most Comfortable – Spiderwoman.

MOLLY – Most Elaborate – Fairy Princess/Unicorn

The “Best in Show” prize was an ice cream social and awards were given for the other categories.

The dogs all got a well earned run around in the snow afterwards in part of the 55 acre grounds at North Spring.  This event was the first ever at North Spring where residents enjoyed some extra time with the dogs while getting the costumes ready.

Please Comment!

Comments (5)

  • Siobhan Munroe

    What a creative idea! I’m sure the residents loved dressing up the dogs!! The pictures are precious and dogs seemed like great sports!

    Reply
  • David Riley

    I have to say even though the contest is over, I have to say Norman looks awesome. He looks like you could have dressed him up in anything and he wouldnt have cared one bit. Im sure it was pretty hard to find something that woudl fit him it was probably the only outfit they could find for him, I hope Norman doesn’t mind being a banana for the next couple years. Molly looks like a princess im sure even without her custome on.

    Reply
  • Kristina Nash

    This is a great contest idea! It seems like the dogs had a good time dressing up as well, you can tell by the smile on their faces!! XD My personally favorite would have to be Norman’s costume! I absolutely love it! All he needs is a pair of maracas and he can pass as the dancing banana from ‘peanut butter jelly time’ song. :D

    Reply
  • Georgianna H

    These dogs look awesome in their costumes! I’m sure the residents loved dressing them up and seeing the costume parade. I know I would! Hopefully this will become a tradition at North Spring. My favorite is Wilson because he is flashing his pearly whites that I’m sure he brushes twice a day :)

    Reply
  • Travis V

    I have to give this to IZZY, she’s taking that mask like a champ. Plus she is looking fearless with that dominant stance she is sporting. At the same time NORMAN in that banana suit is looking mighty sharp.

    Reply

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