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North Reading’s Nana awaits her crowning moment

Susan Demetri
Abuela, 15 (left) with potential prom queen Nana, 13, in their North Reading home.
Susan Demetri, self-proclaimed Crazy Dog Lady.

Nana is holding tea parties for her housemates as she patiently waits to see if she’s elected queen of the prom.

The Grey Muzzle Organization is giving senior canines a chance to wag their tails and strut their stuff with its first-ever Senior Dog Prom. Nana, a 13-year-old chocolate lab from North Reading, is one of four finalists for the title of prom queen in the virtual event, which is meant to shine a spotlight on senior dog adoption.

“It sounds super corny, but it’s amazing what love can do . . . A puppy is great, but it’s a lot of work. For me, a senior is just instant family,” said Nana’s owner, Susan Demetri.

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She found out about the prom through social media and immediately thought it would be a perfect fit for the photogenic Nana. Demetri’s other senior dog, a black lab mix named Abuela, 15, isn’t camera shy, either, and the pair won an honorable mention in the cutest couple portion of the competition.

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Demetri has a special interest in sheltering animals that might not otherwise be adopted, and she originally took in both Nana and Abuela as hospice dogs.

Released into Demetri’s care by the MSPCA’s Nevins Farm in Methuen following surgery to remove a tumor over a year ago, no one was certain how long Nana would survive. Today, she’s cancer-free and thriving.

Whether Nana is elected prom queen or not, the real reward is spreading awareness and helping other senior dogs find loving homes, said Demetri.

“We got such a great response and the stories have been so heartwarming,” said Lisa Lunghofer, executive director of Grey Muzzle, about the prom.

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Lunghofer said the event generated over 100 photo submissions from across the country and has already resulted in several adoptions. While many entrants have owners, some are still looking for homes.

In addition to prom queen, visitors to the Grey Muzzle website can cast votes up until May 31 for the categories of prom king and cutest couple. Winners will be announced in early June.

“I love all of them,” said Lunghofer. “Every time we’d get a picture, we’d say ‘This is the cutest dog.’ Then we’d get another one and say ‘No, this is the cutest dog.’”

To vote, go to www.greymuzzle.org.

Leah Dearborn can be reached at leahdearborn84@gmail.com.