Photo by Gary Miller Photography


While visiting an older adult friend at the Fleischman Residence/Blumberg Plaza, Jewish Senior Life of Metropolitan Detroit - a senior residence in W. Bloomfield, Michigan, Myrna Gelman Shanker met Lazar, the 10-year old Golden Retriever rescue dog who lives there.

Myrna immediately saw how Lazar's presence there enhances the lives of those elders whose families and pets live elsewhere, thus eliminating the negative effects of loneliness, vulnerability and boredom. Lazar makes regular visits to his resident seniors, participates in their daily activities, and provides the unconditional love and attention the elderly need and the respect of which they are so deserving. The lives of both Lazar and our seniors emerge healthier and happier from this unique and positive relationship.

This sweet, kind good deed dog piqued Myrna's interest, and Lazar became her vehicle to encourage both parents and children alike to share time with our older adults, satisfy their needs, and also be enriched from their vast and varied experiences. How fascinating to hear what this extraordinary generation has to say about life: their views on childhood, parenting, relationships, careers, and spiritual beliefs, too.

As parents, we want our kids to grow up to be happy, healthy, clever and responsible. It is Myrna's belief that it is also important for them to be other-directed: kind, compassionate, and interested in the lives of others. To give of themselves in a selfless, loving way...doing good just for the sake of making the world a better place. It is her hope that Lazar inspires each of us to do just that.



Myrna Gelman Shanker grew up in the Metropolitan Detroit area and received both her B.A. and her M.A. from the University of Michigan. She also lived in Paris, London and New York, and had careers in both teaching and in advertising. Her poignant relationships with family, community and animals inspired her to write Lazar, the Good Deed Dog: Giving Love and Respect to Our Elderly. It is her first children's book. Myrna has written countless speeches, parodies and candlelighting ceremonies and is available for commissioned work.

Linda Robinson is still growing up close to where she was born in beautiful Michigan. She has illustrated twenty books and is the author of the novel Chantepleuré. Linda loved drawing Lazar and the folks that Lazar cares for. Like her father and brother, they need hugs and loving care every day.

Lazar is a ten-year-old Golden Retriever who was rescued from an animal shelter in Flint, Michigan and brought to the Fleischman Residence/Blumberg Plaza – a senior residence in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Thanks to the generosity of The Alpern Life Enhancement Program, Lazar now dedicates his days to Acts of Kindness by visiting his fellow seniors and participating in their daily activities. Both Lazar and his resident friends feel happier, healthier, and more stimulated from this unique and tender relationship. Lazar enjoys taking walks, taking naps, and noshing on the many treats he receives from his appreciative companions.