Interaction with pets can be an important part of an enrichment program, and the Denham Springs Animal Shelter is helping the Maison de Fleur Assisted & Independent Living facility with that.

The facility on Rushing Road has a house puppy that stays on property during the day, but the staff and residents wanted to extend a hand to homeless pets.

Enter Harley.

Maison de Fleur contacted the Denham Springs Animal Shelter to see if any dogs would enjoy some time in another location and their temperament was compatible with seniors.

The shelter had answer, a “laid back” shepherd mix named Harley. After the flood, Harley -- a senior citizen, himself -- returned to the Denham Springs Animal Shelter, where he had been adopted 190 years ago.

Harley’s owner was unable to care for him any longer due to change of circumstances after the August flood.

Now, once a week, the Maison de Fleur staff check Harley out of the shelter and bring him to their facility to enjoy an afternoon of relaxing on the porch with residents.

Harley usually has a pep in his step when he returns to the shelter after a day of belly rubs and attention.

Residents greet Harley and often reminisce about pets they’ve owned. “We want to know our residents, not just as residents, but as individuals, as friends,” said Susie Richard, Maison de Fleur director.

“We embrace the narratives our residents have to tell about who they are, the things they’ve seen and done and the places they’ve been in life.”

The Maison de Fleur staff and residents look forward to Harley’s visits, but also hope he will find his forever home with his own family.

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