Harold Zelt turned his love of dogs into a calendar benefiting SPCA, after finding a way to fill his time within the pandemic. (Contributed photo)

Harold Zelt turned his love of dogs into a calendar benefiting SPCA, after finding a way to fill his time within the pandemic. (Contributed photo)

Senior ‘hero’ showcases White Rock dogs in calendar to benefit SPCA

Harold Zelt has photographed more than 100 dogs since the pandemic started

Harold Zelt may not be enjoying pandemic-related restrictions, but the White Rock senior has found a way to make the most of them.

“Has it ever changed our lives,” Zelt said Thursday (Nov. 5). “We’ll probably never get back to what we call normal.”

READ MORE: ‘Outpouring of love and support’ at White Rock retirement residence

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For the past several months, Zelt’s “normal” has included photographing dogs he meets while out and about in the city on his scooter.

He’s also made a habit of sharing his photos with fellow residents; sending them out via email upon his return, “just for the fun of it.”

Now, in addition to putting smiles in the hearts of his neighbours and residence staff, the 93-year-old’s collection of four-legged subjects is going to help other dogs.

“I’ve built up quite a library of dog pictures and the recreation director here (Elsie) said to me one day, ‘Why don’t you make a calendar? I’ll help you.’ That’s how the whole thing started,” Zelt said.

Net proceeds from the sale of Zelt’s newly minted Dogs of White Rock 2021 calendar will be donated to the SPCA. The first 50 copies were quickly snapped up, and another 50 are on order, the residence’s community relations manager Si Cussen told Peace Arch News, noting the printing cost was done “at a great rate” by Buchanan Printing.

Zelt said each month of the calendar features eight dogs, all of which live “in the fairly immediate area” of White Rock Seniors Village. He met each of them along a sometimes twice-daily route that typically takes him to Five Corners, along Johnston Road to Semiahmoo Shopping Centre, and then down North Bluff Road.

“On the way, I encounter all kinds of people walking their dogs. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, (the owners) are happy to have their dog’s picture taken,” he said. “I usually ask them what the breed of the dog is, how old is the dog and what is the dog’s name.”

Zelt described capturing the images as “something to do and it entertains myself and it entertains the residents here.”

“I like dogs anyway, and it was fun.

“They certainly do (add to our lives),” he added. “They say the dog’s a man’s best friend. It’s not only a man’s best friends, but a lady’s best friend, too.”

Cussen praised Zelt’s creativity and cheery outlook.

“It is amazing how a senior figured out what to do during the pandemic, his love of dogs kept him smiling,” she said by email.

“He is such a positive force in these trying times… a kind, generous and thoughtful senior hero who found a way to battle the confines of COVID while staying socially distanced.”

To order a calendar ($15), email scussen@retirementconcepts.com or call Cussen at 604-541-4663, ext. 101.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
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