It was a beautiful fall day for the First Annual Wheel to Heal event sponsored by the Hunt Valley Rotary on Oct. 29. Participants came with wagons, skateboards, bikes and strollers to tackle a 3-mile loop on the Torrey C. Brown NCR Trail and, according to the organizers, have a “rolling, rollicking good time” in support of Pets on Wheels, a nonprofit organization that brings therapy animals to facilities for friendly visits. Pets on Wheels has more than 480 volunteer teams and visits more than 300 facilities, including nursing homes, hospices, shelters, veteran’s hospitals, schools, libraries and more.

The day featured food, games and lots of fun and prizes with children and adults participating in multiple adventures, including a scavenger hunt, corn hole, balloon animals, duck pond, and more. Kids came in their Halloween costumes and did some trick-or-treating as well. Several of the therapy pets joined in the festivities, such as Mugsy, a petite bulldog and Otis, the Superdog, who was rescued by Tiffany Metzger. As a senior dog in a shelter, Otis had a rough life, but now is a super therapy pet bringing smiles to anyone he meets. The Rotarians and the event’s sponsors were pleased to support such a terrific cause and plan to make the Wheel to Heal event an annual one!

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Ninety-something-year-old Bill Herr typically needs two people to help him walk – with a walker, but he was cutting up a rug last week during Zumba class – a seated Zumba class – dancing across the room.

Theresa DiVenti and Charles Fox sat next to each other kicking their feet and raising their arms, following the lead of their Zumba instructor.

Earlier, across the room and during lunch, Dennis Forman and Peg Burgard were bantering back and forth about what each likes to do.

“She likes flirting with the boys,” Forman said about Burgard.

“I don’t have to flirt, they flirt with me,” Burgard responded.

It was a typical day at the Family and Children’s Services Medical Adult Day Care on the Harford Community College campus, where clients were participating in their first Zumba lesson.

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Everlast’s mop of curly hair and long neck make him the perfect height for looking people in the eye. He is smaller than an average alpaca, but as a therapy animal, he is just right.

Lynn Cherish, the owner and operator of Baggy Britches Farm in Frederick, has turned a rough start in life for a prematurely born alpaca into an opportunity to bring happiness to patients in assisted living centers. On Wednesday, they visited Montevue Assisted Living in Frederick.

“The residents enjoy it,” said Ryan Stanley, Montevue activities director. “They light up and enjoy it.”

Together, Cherish and Everlast visit six assisted living and nursing homes through Pets on Wheels, which takes therapy animals to more than 400 facilities across Maryland, Executive Director Gina Kazimir wrote in an email.

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