Arabella of Red Oak holds first annual Howl-a-ween Parade

Kenya Menjivar
Waxahachie Daily Light

On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 22, the Arabella of Red Oak Senior Living hosted its first annual Howl-a-ween Puppy Parade and Costume Contest for its residents.

About 20 residents came out with loved ones to take part and watch the event. A limit of 50 guests was set to RSVP. 

Seven residents participated in the contest, as their four-legged companions joined their sides in costume. This event took place at their Independent Living community.

The residents took the platform with their winning companions.

“We really wanted to showcase in Senior Living that your friendly pets are welcomed,” shared Mini Willis, the Regional Director of Arabella. 

After residents settled in, Willis took the microphone and began her duty as an emcee. 

Each dog contestant had an opportunity to strut their stuff and showcase their outfits. As they took their turns, their favorite foods and activities were shared by Willis. 

"My favorite part about the event is just having everyone come together. During these times of COVID, just everyone being able to come together and socialize with one another," shared Priscilla Leonard, Community Relations Director of Independent Living. 

Two judges, Michelle Myers, area director of business development for Arabella, and Clinton Woodward, president from the Red Oak Chamber, took to their seats to analyze the contestants.

Taking home third place was the 7-year old poodle Honey, who wore a red tutu, barking left and right with an attitude. She won a basket of $50 merchandise from PetSmart.

Honey the poodle awaits her time to shine in her red tutu, alongside her owner Dwayne Rogers.

In second-place as runner up, Erika the wiener also took home a basket of $50 merchandise from PetSmart, waddling in her wiener dog. 

Erika the wiener dog awaited for the show to commence with owner Mary Smith.

“Now it’s time for our intermission,”  joked Willis before announcing the first place winner. “For our first place winner of our first annual Puppy Pet Parade for Arabella of Red Oak it’s our Frenchie Sparkles.”

Sparkles led her owner, Noe Arroyo, on the sidewalk runway in her pumpkin tutu.

French Bulldog Sparkles, led by his owner Noe Aroyo, took home a $100 gift card and merchandise from PetSmart worth $50 as first place winner. 

Sparkles wore an orange costume, strutting her way down the aisle. 

The event ended as each resident received a goodie bag. 

“Everyone else, I just wanna thank you guys so much for coming out and joining in. I hope you had a good time, and next year I hope you bring your friends,” said Willis. 

Arabella staff and volunteers made silly poses for a photo after the event concluded.

Leonard also shared how the Howl-a-ween Parade and Dog Contest event came to be. 

"We came up with this event because today is National Dog Day. Whenever we heard that it was National Dog Day, we were like, what better way to go out and let everybody know and appreciate everyone that has dogs in their life. So we wanted to do a parade for them and that's what we did," Leonard said. "They were so excited. They said that they had never heard of anything like this in the Red Oak community and they were extremely excited that we were going to actually be doing something like this, not just for Arabella but for the community itself."

Events will be held once a month at Arabella of Red Oak. In November, the facility will host a Veteran Attendance event.

"I'm excited to see how our second annual [Dog Costume] is going to be," Leonard said.

For additional information on Arabella of Red Oak, visit https://civitasseniorliving.com/our-communities/arabella-of-red-oak/ .