Residents of Parkwood Village’s Memory Care Unit in Pratt now have a dog to call their own, courtesy of the Pratt Lions Club. At a special dedication ceremony Wednesday, May 15, staff, administration (and Lions Club members) already found the animated Golden Doggie irresistible.

“Parkwood is excited to add this new addition to our Memory Care,” said Parkwood residence director Sharon Will. “I believe the residents will really enjoy interacting with their new pet. Studies have shown how interactive pets can help soothe and calm people with late-stage dementia.”

Pratt Lions Club President Andy Lee and Lion Club Director Bill Proctor presented the new pup at the group’s weekly noon meeting.

Proctor, and his wife Darlene, who live at Parkwood Village, came up with the idea of donating an animated dog to the assisted living center based on his personal experience with a smaller dog and animated cat.

“I’ve kept this one in my closet since delivery, but I think this one is going to be very popular with his new family,” Proctor said. “They’re planning a naming contest for him.”

Proctor, who has a smaller, similar dog, said that even though the animated pets are battery operated, they seem to almost develop personalities of their own.

The Golden Doggie donated to Parkwood is of the animated species, with characteristics of its living cousins, including a beating heart, cuddly soft fur, sparkling eyes and wagging tongue, but none of the mess or hazard of a real animal. The new pet doesn’t require potty calls and won’t shed or bark at the neighbors.

Will and Parkwood Life Director Dana Pulec, who oversees the Memory Care unit for Alzheimer’s residents, said they were happy to accept the non-shedding furry bundle, purchased by the local Lions Club.

Pulec said her own mother suffered from memory issues and would have loved to have a pet like the Golden Doggie.

“I’ve seen people with dementia or Alzheimers just come alive when they have something to pet, hold and feel like they can take care of,” she said. “I’ve seen a similar animated baby doll that just helped give some a sense of worth.”

One of the goals of interactive pets, according to information from the parent company Ageless Innovation, is to bring the power of play to people at all stages in their lives and to provide the delight and companionship of pets to owners.