In Barry’s Bay for a vet appointment on January 4, Andrea Budarick decided to call both the Manor and Champlain Gardens (formerly Water Tower Lodge) to see if she could bring some puppy joy to their residents. Above: Valley Manor resident Freeda Higginson enjoys the antics of some of the puppies as Budarick (left) brings them close to the window. (photo submitted)
A few weeks ago, her golden doodle presented Budarick with nine bouncing puppies. Her puppy photos on social media have met with an enthusiastic response but she knows only too well that only a fraction of Valley residents have the internet speed or computer savvy to enjoy online pictures and videos. The provincial shutdown that started on Boxing Day has further restricted entertainment opportunities for many people.
Budarick thought especially of those seniors who are housebound at this time of year, and how many of them enjoy sitting and looking out their windows. She told The Current, “I felt it would be great for residents to do during COVID with me being outside and having no contact…. I figured wild life can entertain [from] outside, so why not puppies?”
Judging by the smiles, that was exactly the result of her spur of the moment action. Both staff and residents at Champlain Gardens and at Valley Manor enjoyed watching the puppies explore their surroundings. During both visits that day, Budarick gathered armfuls of puppies and held them up to the windows for seniors to get a closer look through the glass. Valley Manor CEO Trisha Sammon described the visit as “heartwarming.”