Tundra’s green neckerchief was at the perfect angle: avant-garde.

Maddison (‘Maddie’) flounced the skirt of her Valentine’s Day dress. The jewelled buckle on the big red bow glinted.

They were ready to hit the hallways.

But where was everyone else? Where were Jupiter and Jed? And Summit had planned on wearing the printed pink-and-blue scarf.

Their ‘people’ must be running a few minutes late, adding a couple of extra brush strokes to this morning’s grooming.

It is, after all, a special occasion. It’s the monthly pet visit at Copper Ridge Place.

There’s a friendly group of five gathered in the front lobby this morning. It’s a cold, crisp winter day, but the sun is shining in through the glass doors. It is warm and bright. It matches the feeling in the room.

“Sit, Tundra. Stay.”

Tundra, an impossibly white and fluffy Samoyed, waits patiently for the chit-chat and catching-up conversations to end.

Finally, it’s time to get going.

Each of the five dogs are accompanied by their owner. Each dog walks politely at the end of their leash. They know the rounds.

The dogs love the visits and look forward to seeing their friends again. They know which rooms they can go into and which rooms they can’t.

There are a lot of paintings on the walls and many photographs. Some are professionally done, framed with plaques beside them. Others depict the smiling faces of friends and relatives of the people who live at Copper Ridge Place. The notes beneath them describe who they are and what the occasion is.

Rounding a corner, they arrive at a common room where there is a small gathering of those keen to visit with the dogs.

“Would you like Maddison to sit on your lap?” Penny asks one of the boys. Our Maddie is the princess, no doubt, and she knows it. She’s a French bulldog, just the perfect size for a lap.

“Yes? Okay, Maddie, here you go!”

Jed, the 110-pound Burmese mountain dog peers over. Jed would definitely agree to the offer, as well, but the closest Jed is going to get to a lap is hopping up onto a chair placed beside the one occupied by a human.

It’s just not fair.

In the meantime, Jupiter, the red heeler, is busy on the other side of the room spending some quality time with a woman who wants to scratch his ears. Jupiter is a wise dog who was given a second chance when he was adopted out by the Alberta Rescue Foundation. He is more than happy to share his good life with others.

It was a busy time mingling with the group. The dogs put so much energy into their socializing that once they arrive back home, they nap. As much affection as they absorb by being petted and fussed over, they give back – and more.

Summit, a relaxed, smooth butterscotch-coloured lab wearing a fancy scarf, knows all about it. After all, Summit’s human is an obedience dog judge. Once all your shots are up to date and you’ve passed the entrance requirements, including a temperament test, you are welcomed to the club.

There are pet-visiting programs at Copper Ridge Place: 393-7500 and at Macaulay Lodge: 667-5955. If you and your pet are interested in participating, please call.

Oh, and please note: cats are welcome, too.