October 21, 2105 — Many of us baby boomers are talking a lot about downsizing, in fact some of our most popular and commented upon articles are on that topic (see further reading below). But there is one aspect of downsizing that doesn’t get mentioned as often – your dog.
Americans love their pets, especially their dogs. But as we enter retirement it is worth some time thinking about whether or not you want to have a dog when your current one goes on to Fido heaven, and if you do, what type and particularly, size. We know that many people, including your editor’s wife, could not face living without a pet (in our case a dog and a cat).
There are many good reasons to think about finding a smaller dog if having one is your decision:
– Trips and falls. A big dog could knock you, or someone else, over. Or pull you over via the leash. One-in- three adults over 65 will fall every year, according to the CDC. The last thing we want at our age is a fall and the problems that could cause.
– Rules and restrictions. Most active communities and HOA’s have restrictions on the size, number, and breed of dogs permitted. We know this personally, as Tonka, our 60 pound Australian Shepherd, was dis-invited from our mother’s Ft. Myers community a few years ago – he was deemed 35 pounds over the limit! So look around at the restrictions that might apply where you are thinking of living – most limits are in the 25-30 pound area. Having too many dogs, the wrong breed (pit bulls are usually verboten), or one that is too big could severely limit where you live.
Finding your new pet
The American Kennel Club and other organizations provide plenty of information about how to select a pet. Don’t forget the pound or one of the many Rescue operations that most breeds have. It is a humane and kind thing to provide a good home for a pet that needs a good home.
Comments? Have you had issues relating to your selection of pet when it comes to where you retire? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below.