Pets and Your Golden Years

Category: Family and Retirement

May 23, 2015 — Americans are crazy about their pets. There were 164 million pets in the U.S. in 2012, according to the Humane Society of the U.S., with about 62% of households having a pet. Pet ownership for retirees, however, is a little different than it is for younger Americans. The Retirement section of the New York Times recently did a feature, “Pets of the Golden Years“, which profiled some of those differences. This article will highlight some of the issues that affect retirees and their pets (see end of article for our previous articles on this topic).

Some differences
For starters, a smaller percentage of retirees own pets than younger people (41% of people 65 and over, 68% aged 45-54, and 76% aged 18-24 – Source: Mintel). Another difference is that people of retirement age are evenly split between cat and dogs, whereas younger folks tend to have dogs more than cats (about 60-40). We don’t have any hard data on the reasons for this difference, but it does seem intuitive that because cats tend to be less demanding than dogs, they are a better fit for retirees looking to simplify their lives in retirement.

Smaller dogs also tend to the preferred choice for retired people. Reasons for this include the ability to fly with a small dog in the main cabin of an airplane. They tend to be more welcome in active communities and apartment complexes, and less likely to knock over someone unsteady on their feet.

Some pluses
Owning a pet can offer many benefits for retirees. There is the companionship factor, an answer to the loneliness and isolation that many empty nesters and widows can experience. Pets can provide human companionship as well; spending time in dog parks, vet offices, or walking the dog around the block is a known way to make new human friends.

Owning a pet usually means its human owner gets more exercise and lower stress. Some studies suggest that pet ownership brings benefits like lower blood pressure and cholesterol. But competing studies point out that 85,000 people a year end up in the emergency department with broken bones caused by their pets – so not everything about owning a pet adds to your health.

Headaches too
Pets are not without their downsides, which are many. Some of those include:

Travel. You can’t always take your pet with you. And that means finding a kennel or caretaker ($$$), or not going. Finding a hotel that will take you and your dog is getting easier, but cats are generally not wanted. The airlines permit a small number of pets (in carriers) in the main cabin, but you will pay for the privilege. If you want to take an extended trip or do a long volunteer stint far away, your pet is going to be a challenge for you.

Active adult, retirement communities, and snowbirding. Tolerance of pets is increasing in communities, mainly because so many people have them, but there are still plenty of restrictions. Most snowbird rentals do not permit pets. Even if you own your own home in a community some breeds are prohibited, weight limits are often imposed, and the number of pets is restricted.

Expense. Vet bills, shots, food, pet-sitters – our furry friends can be budget busters.

Behavior issues. Most pets are well behaved. But if yours becomes a barker or a nipper it will cramp your style. Usually the pet is not the problem: it is the owner who doesn’t clean up after his pet or leaves it neglected for hours that causes issues.

Once you are gone. You also have to think about what will happen to your pet if she outlives you.

For further reading:
Are Pets and Retirement a Good Mix
Pet Friendly Communities (many Comments)

Comments? We know you have a lot to say on this subject. Please share your experiences and thoughts about pet ownership in retirement in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on May 23rd, 2015

51 Comments »

  1. Pets can be a good thing at any age especially if you have the right kind of pet(s)
    They can be s lot of work / expense but worth it. Basically it’s like having children except they don’t ever leave the nest. We spoil our pets and enjoy them immensely. We have 3 cats 5,7,12 years old. I can’t imagine never having them but if we decide to change our lifestyle we would/ could adapt accordingly. That’s 1 reason we chose cats as they are independent and can be left alone for a few days without supervision. Put out lots of water and food and we put out extra litter boxes. If gone more than 3 days we have someone check on them and they supplies ready to go so all they do is add food water. Litter boxes have bags of litter so u tie up the dirty bags put in outside can and have clean litterbags already made up to put in litter boxes. Simple n easy. Love our kiddies

    by Vic — May 24, 2015

  2. Pets can be a real problem for people who must deal with them after the owner is gone. I inherited a dog which would never be adopted if I didn’t keep it. People really should consider what they are doing when they take on an animal that is likely to outlive them.

    by LFremont — May 24, 2015

  3. LFremont Contact the AKC breed club/breed rescue for your breed. They can help you with a lot of the issues you face. I took a dog after the original owner passed, the family couldn’t handle the dog and the next owner was having problems. Had him for seven years. He was a sweetheart but he was very true to his breed, and a terrier through and through. The people though well meaning couldn’t handle that type of dog.

    http://www.AKC.org is the basic site select breeds from the top menu and search for your breed. You don’t mention what breed your dog is or I could be more specific. BTW if you are having trouble handling this dog or just never wanted a dog breed rescue can help you place him in a new home. You are not failing an absent friend by doing this!

    by Shumidog — May 24, 2015

  4. Vic. I have 3 cats as well. Didn’t plan on the 3rd but someone dumped her near my office and the weather was starting to turn, so….. I love them all to death and honestly couldn’t see my life without a kittie. I love dogs as well but they need much more care than cats. When I go away, I hire someone to come in once a day to feed, water and play with them. Works well

    by Stacey — May 24, 2015

  5. Shumidog, it was interesting to me that you presumed the dog was a particular breed. Mutts Rule! 🙂 LFremont I admire your compassion for taking in the dog. I didn’t get the impression LFremont wanted to get rid of the dog, but Breed rescues are a good option. However, as with placing human children, if someone with a connection can take the animal, especially one with issues, it’s best. Rescues do their very best (some better than others) to place animals in permanent, loving homes, but often things do not work out. A person with a commitment, as LFremont has, is best. Dogs get bounced around. I am the third home for a little Yorkie who was only one and a half when we adopted her from a breed rescue. We see why. 🙂 But we are in for as long as we live and have created a pet estate to sweeten the pot for her next home and named her vet as the responsible party, should we not make it. Sadly, I won’t get another dog because the responsibility is great and one never knows what will happen. I used to say that I never wanted to live without a dog, maybe I won’t, but I see the danger is to the animal I could leave behind. Not having an animal is just another of the things that we seem to have to face with aging. I find it a little saddening.

    by Elisha — May 25, 2015

  6. Our condo association prohibits all pets other than service animals. This has been quite a bone of contention, but the Boards have persisted over the years. Based on the Board discussions, it seems that having an animal declared a service animal by health care providers is not a particularly challenging thing.

    by Lynn — May 25, 2015

  7. While I understand that people of certain age have to consider the welfare of their pets if something should happen, please don’t forget that, a young couple in their thirties might get into a car accident and die, or become incapacitated, and leave a pet behind just as easily.
    Life does not come with guarantees. Of course it is always wise to think ahead.

    by godsgirl — May 25, 2015

  8. Shumidog

    Thanks for your thoughts. The dog is a middle-aged, mixed breed. Not a good combination to be.

    by LFremont — May 25, 2015

  9. – good point. All 3 of my cats were rescues. I agree we can’t predict the future but we do need to enjoy life and if that means pets then by all means adopt from a shelter/rescue. It is therapeutic to have pets to most but please think ahead and plan responsibly. deoending on your age and ability to get around maybe an older pet is for u. I don’t think kittens or puppies are the ideal choice for retirees. Be smart and pick the right pet and everyone comes out a winner.

    by Vic — May 25, 2015

  10. Fostering is a wonderful way to have a pet with a backup plan.

    by easilyamused — May 26, 2015

  11. […] For further reading: Pets and Your Golden Years […]

    by » Are Pets and Retirement A Good Mix? - Topretirements — May 26, 2015

  12. Vic,
    Thanks for your insightful comment. Like Elisha, i don’t want to enter my later years without a pet (cat(s) in my case). The two i have now are young and should still be around until i’m in my middle 70’s. Then i’ll follow your advice and adopt an older cat. Thanks!

    by ella — May 26, 2015

  13. I understand the Mutt/mixed breed/designer breed issue. Even AKC is loosening up a bit and allowing them in most everything except the “beauty pageants” There are other breed clubs, some independent like the Jack Russel club and others like the UKC which has been around almost as long as the AKC.. There are also a number of groups, like Best Friends. who take and place dogs, rehabilitating if necessary and keeping if they can’t be re-homed. Help is out there. Dedication is great for the soul but there is no need to be a martyr if pets are not.something you enjoy.

    I have purebred dogs, so, if anything happens to me, the rescue will re-home them. I have also set it up that they will get a contribution when they take the dog to help with the process. I am doubtful about an ‘estate’ or grant going with the dog, because, if it is large enough, some unscrupulous person may take the dog for the money and abandon or kill the dog. So I trust pros or /dedicated volunteers to have the best interest of my dogs paramount. (One of my relatives falls in the money grubbing category.)

    Also, when you set up a fund/estate/grant, make sure that your doing it in accordance with the laws of the state. It is not always something you can deal with in a will, or by just telling your family what you want and expecting that they’ll do it when your gone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen the way you want.

    by Shumidog — May 26, 2015

  14. A good breeder will take their breeding back and take responsibility for rehoming the dog…so make sure everyone knows who the breeder is! And keep in touch withe the breeder.

    I have it set up that there are two folks (contact first then second if necessary) responsible for contacting my breeder and if the breeder does not or cannot take the dog back or breeder is unkown (rescue) they are willing to find an appropriate home. $5,000 goes with each dog and the contact person is named in the will for their trouble. The person accepting the dog will not know about the $5,000 until deemed a good home. These are responsible dog people.

    There are many experts in the field and almost a give for the large parrots to be provided for. As Shumidog mentioned best to use an expert in the state you live in.

    by elaine — May 26, 2015

  15. And don’t forget that Timeshares are also very restrictive as far as allowing pets. We are members of RCI and unfortunately don’t take advantage of it because of our 2 small dogs. RCI has a few Timeshare properties that allow dogs, but they are usually the older and ‘dumpy’ timeshares. So we utilize LaQuinta Inns & Suites when traveling and almost all of these properties are really nice and folks staying there do take responsibility for their dogs. It’s too bad that Timeshares lag behind hotels in accepting pets….and there are many upscale hotels that do.

    by CJ — May 28, 2015

  16. My recent pet, a cat, passed away in 2013 and I’ve been reluctant to replace her. With my daughter now in her own apartment it’s kind of nice not having to clean up after anyone but myself! And the thought of caring for an elderly animal while I am elderly myself is not appealing! Presently 63 and in good health.

    by Marianne — May 28, 2015

  17. Life without a furry member is no life to me. I’ve been a pet owner for almost 65 years, including my horses,and my retirement includes them as a major part of my plan and my life’s next great adventure. I pick them over a retirement community, no contest.

    by Elaine C. — May 29, 2015

  18. My husband and I are in our mid 60s, retired last year, and live in a 55+ community. Our pets (dog, 2 yrs old, small mixed breed and 15 year old cat). Our pets are our furry little grandchildren since it looks like we are not going to have any human grandchildren. Our HOA allows two pets under 25 lbs. The HOA prefers that the cats are indoors only, but there are several cats in this neighborhood who go outside, including ours because it is nearly impossible to teach an old cat new tricks. We do not plan on getting another cat when she is no longer with us so that we will be in compliance with the HOA rules. Having a dog makes us get outside daily for a long walk. We adopted her from the Seattle Humane Society and now we are both volunteering there. We cannot imagine life without the companionship of a pet but may need to re-evaluate as we age.

    by Sue Schmitz — May 29, 2015

  19. Has anyone bought a home at Valencia Cove in Boynton Beach FL, and if so are you happy with it and with all the regulations? Is anyone considering purchasing a home at Valencia Cove, and if so, who is your agent that you are dealing with. I like the homes, but don’t wanted to be taken advantage of. Thanks everyone.

    by marilyn — June 28, 2015

  20. To paraphrase researcher Panteleimon “Paddy” Ekkekakis, Ph.D.: The best piece of exercise equipment might be a dog on a leash.

    I’ve found my dog, along with my FitBit, are powerful incentives to walk.

    Jan Cullinane, author, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley)

    by Jan Cullinane — June 29, 2015

  21. to anyone. do you recommend one rents for a few months where they want to relocate
    before they sell their present house or just make a few visits at different times of the year.any comments on Greenville-Simpsonville-Greer ………SC.

    by john v — June 30, 2015

  22. Hello John V,

    I would highly recommend renting before you buy. We moved to the Greenville area last summer and it’s quite nice, bought in south Greenville/Piedmont, which is close to Simpsonville. I think by renting one gets a better idea of living in an area on a daily basis (vs. just visiting). One can really get a lot of house here for the $ and property taxes are quite reasonable, even if one has several acres of land. Downside to living in the Greenville area are “bad” roads in need of repair and possibly having to drive around 15-20 mins. to get to the big shopping area along Woodruff Road (which can be horribly congested if one does not get out to shop early). I don’t think that Greenville has the “vibe” that Asheville does, but it’s only a 90 minute drive from where we live. I think Greer is very nice and more rural, depending on what type of location you are looking for. Good Luck!

    by Fionna — June 30, 2015

  23. Hello John V,

    Please give me your contact info. if you wish to speak with me or if I can answer any questions.

    Fionna

    by Fionna — July 1, 2015

  24. Fionna thank you very much for your response. We were down there in may , and I laughed
    when you mentioned bad roads and traffic. I come from staten island ny and I live with BAD
    roads and parking lot traffic every day. down there to me the roads were ok, and if you do
    your chores between 10-4 there is no traffic to me. is there a problem with palmetto flies
    that you need to spray twice a year. we met the Greek priest last visit and told us he sprays every 6 months. you are right on the taxes. we are seniors and on a $ 180,000 house with senior
    exemptions taxes would be around $ 900.00 a yr. coming from ny I assume and will check on
    a second visit in oct, that utilities, home ins, car ins etc would be a lot less than ny.
    I found the area has everything I have up here with a whole lot less stress. people actually
    say hello there. you have Costco,Kohls, Walmart, Applebees, Olive Garden, Dunkin etc.
    in extensive research it’s down to greer, Simpsonville,easley and suburb of Greenville.
    again thank you and anything you can add would be appreciated. this would be the last move so you know it is scary not to make a mistake.

    john v.

    by john v — July 1, 2015

  25. hi Fionna,
    sorry to bother you again. I meant to ask you if your situation is similar to mine
    in that are you also retired and how long did you research the Greenville area and what attracted
    you to it. also, from where did you relocate . i’m guessing it wasn’t ny because of your traffic
    comment. thanks again.

    john v.

    by john v — July 1, 2015

  26. How do you find a rental which allows pets? The last few questions don’t even mention this.

    by Shumidog — July 1, 2015

  27. John V. the taxes on the $180k home at $900 a year is AWESOME! I just got my tax bill today for my pretty average size Raised Ranch house on one acre in Litchfield County, CT and it come to $4,582 for the year! Is the $180k home example located in Greenville or Greer or would they both be similar? You mentioned Costco too which is one of the things on my list as a desired store to live near. What town is that in? You are making the right decision to go down South! Good luck!

    by Louise — July 1, 2015

  28. Folks, lets try to keep on topic here, which is pets. To find other topics that might be more germane to taxes, SC, or specific active communities go to the Blog, and if you dont see one on the topic look in the categories on the side.
    http://www.topretirements.com/blog/

    Thanks

    by Admin — July 1, 2015

  29. Louise,

    the $900 R.E. taxes was in Simpsonville, and I believe the Costco was also in
    Simpsonville. good luck !

    by john v — July 2, 2015

  30. Shumidog,
    Are you asking about renting with pets in general or in a specific area or a specific type of housing?

    It does seem to vary in different locations. When I moved here I had two dogs and a bird. I happened to luck out that the owners were at home if one of the houses I was interested in and finishing up painting. I got to talk to them in person. This was before I retired and not active adult so I do not know if that matters or not. One thing that I want is a fenced yard….it does not have to be big. Most active adult that I would be interested in allow fences. But finding a rental with a fence…not likely. I did have to take a four bedroom house then since I did need a large yard then for my dog “stuff” (competing in agility).

    I have not looked at condos so I do not know about them, nor do I know about cats or other pets. Although I did find that some rentals do not allow birds.

    In some locations Craig’s list is useful because you can add filters like dog, cat, etc as well as fenced. In other markets, craigs list is useless and full of “ads” or one realtor. Recently, realtor.com has added a filter for pets.
    Some markets have a good website for real estate local, etc.

    by elaine — July 2, 2015

  31. Elaine,
    Having three dogs, all small, I have never really considered renting as an option. But almost every message I read says to rent first. I am retired and to be ‘proactive’ I want to move to a place without stairs. (as well as a fenced yard, etc.) out of Michigan. Then I see these comments, in the pet owners blog about renting and wonder is this a possibility which would allow me to move with my dogs and then find a place or is it just someone blindly repeating something without any knowledge of what a pet owner goes through when trying to find a new home. (From the lack of reply from these people, I suspect they are not pet owners.)

    I want to move west, but distrust the information on the drought/water issues provided by the media. But I’m sure that there are people in the east that are wondering the same type of thing.

    If you would please share the types of things you have encountered. I have hit not buying because of limit laws and ending up with intolerant neighbors complaints to animal control when their own dogs were the problem. (I ended up stopping that by going to the police station and explaining/complaining to them.) My experience with Animal Control is that they are good people who are understaffed and underfunded, never had a problem with them.

    Thanks! Shumidog

    by Shumidog — July 3, 2015

  32. Shumidog, Actually, I would buy before moving when I had a dog so I haven’t had much experience renting with a dogs. I was looking in the Raleigh area a couple of years ago. I worked with a realtor (one the first year that I looked and a different one the following yea)r..neither was that interested, but I would also ask them to check ones that I found on-line. There were a fair number of rentals that accepted dogs (again dogs is most of my experience). They were mostly less expensive houses in neighborhoods that seemed to have young famiilies of limited means. Small yards, privacy fences some one level. I think that cheaper housing, put up quickly for that type of market is a good place to look since they are slow to sell when a family wants to move. I decided not to move to Raleigh area

    Most of my experience was with my current move for a job. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to sell my house
    that was in another state. I worded with a realtor and she was nice worked very hard, but wasn’t that efficient. Luckily that was the place were the owners were home. I moved in the same area and found a house on-line at the website of the newspaper. The landlord is non responsive and I am trying to decide whether to find a new place here or in an area that I am interested in for my retirement.

    I have never had a problem with neighbors, but that can happen whether buy or rent. Sometimes the HOA can be restrictive, but I did not run into that so far. My prior dogs were very well trained and behaved well. Not so much with my present dog who I “inherited”. She came with problems and still is very much a project in progress. I always talk to neighbors and explain her behavior and they see that I am responsible and take care that she is not a nuisance.

    I did have to take a larger more expensive rental to get what I wanted.

    If yoru dogs are well behaved, offer to have the landloard meet them. If it is a property managment company do not bother…they really do not seem to care.

    Try Craigs list with filter for dogs and for any other needs…I used keyword, fenced, garage.
    Try Realtor.com use filter for dogs (remember that they will say case by case so it is no guarantee. I did not find filter for fence, but that may not be important for you.

    by elaine — July 3, 2015

  33. Shumidog continued….I got “cut off”

    Try the local newspaper (not the print version, but the on-line verison.
    Search for property managemnt firms, but you will need to try several. If you use realtor.com, it will tell you the sourse and you can find a property management for realtor that way as well.

    Good luck…they are worth it.

    by elaine — July 3, 2015

  34. We have three large dogs and are looking to move from NY to Nc/Sc/Fl . Our issue seems to be finding gated communities that allow fenced yards. Websites and brochures indicate pet friendly communities and show walking trails with people and their dogs. But, building lots of .15 of an acre and no fence just won’t work for us. Any specific suggestions for communities to consider? We are also looking for dog friendly areas with active and welcoming dog clubs (agility, obedience, dock diving)

    by Marcia — July 4, 2015

  35. Marcia, a person after my heart. I am looking in VA, NC, SC, GA and possibility FL. Let me know what you find.

    Although FL is not my first choice, you might find this website useful…look around. I wish other states had this.
    http://floridaagility.com/ . I imagine that other dog sports are easy to find in FL if you are near agility.

    I thought that I found it in The Havens in Bluffton, SC (near Hilton Head). Nice size lots and fencing. But I did not find much in dog training in the area…seemed like I would have to go to Savannah. Not much in trials either. Also didn’t get a feeling that I was home when I visited.

    I found that many places allowed fencing, but…even if you find a nice size (it is all relative, I would just like a fenceable area of approx 40′ by 40′ okay). yard that is fenceable, you may be limited with what you can do in the yard. I found if you have jumps, tunnel, etc you would probably have to store it after each use. If there is a good training facility nearby that might be less of an issue since I do not have big pieces anymore anyway.

    Any other dog sports folks out there?

    by elaine — July 4, 2015

  36. Marcia, we moved from NY to Pawleys Island SC, actually in a Litchfield by the Sea community. The area is next to the ocean, the communities are gated and yards can be fenced for your dog. Also, the beach is dog friendly but must be leached from 9am to 7pm. There is also a beautiful gated community a short drive south-Debordieu, which is gated and yards can be fenced for your pet. Good luck in your search.

    by Gerry — July 5, 2015

  37. Hi Elaine! We dabble in agility but only have some jumps, weaves and a tire. I am worried about Florida being too hot. Maybe we should look first for areas with lots of dog activities and clubs and then look for the right community! If I find anything interesting I will let you know. I think Wilmington. NC area may have some clubs.

    by Marcia — July 5, 2015

  38. Marcia, I lived in Wilmington NC a 10 ago and it was not great for agility training back then. There are a number of nice folks who do qutte well in agility , but not much in good facilities and instruction. Some folks went to BonClyde which was a good distance away in Sanford, NC and took prvate lessons there. At the time there was a great agility instructor there. There is the Azalea Dog Training Club, where those folks I mentioned can be found, but it is a small facility with conformation style mats over concrete which is not good for jumping and there are columns in the facility. But at least you will have some like-minded folks. Check to make sure that the instructors instructors have titles in agility.

    This was awhile ago. Now things may have changed as that area expands. worth checking.

    Wilmington is not on my list for retirement.. One thing I did not like was the long “stem” time when traveling from Wilmington. You are right there at I-40. But it takes awhile to be “somewhere” .

    by elaine — July 5, 2015

  39. Marcia, I lived in south central PA, Maryland, and Virginia at different times. There are good training facilities and easy access for driving to trials in the area. Also, check Wilmington, DE. They had a very active kennel club when I lived in the area. Good Luck! (or Happy Hunting)

    by Shumidog — July 6, 2015

  40. Shumidog, thanks for the hints. Wilmington Delaware sounds like a maybe! .I will need to explore that further.

    What area of Virginia? I know of some training facilities like A Click Above, but that would be difficult to find what I can afford in the area.

    It has been several years since my competition dog died so I have been waiting for retirement to get back into the game. I was sorry that Clean Run deleted its section on Clubs. My on-line searchs haven’t come up with much in the area of GA that I am interested in. Although there appears to be alot in the area NW of Atlanta

    thanks, again.

    by elaine — July 6, 2015

  41. I have three dogs and also breed occasionally. I found a place in Arizona, new build, and can put fence,. I will also out fake grass in an area for the hot days,

    by Nancy — July 7, 2015

  42. Marcia, I went on-line and it appears that there is more agility stuff in Wilmington now. So let me know if you do visit, how you like it. If you visit, I will give you a name of a good person to know, give me a way to contact you off list. I can also give you additional info, not much, but will share.

    by elaine — July 7, 2015

  43. Nancy, what general area of AZ? Do you and the dogs have trouble with the heat? Is there much in taining in the area. I assume that if you breed, there musst at least be some good conformation shows. Are you in an adult- targeted community, all age or an age-restricted community? If it is a good place for dogs, please share.

    by elaine — July 7, 2015

  44. Elaine, I was living in south central PA when I trained at A Click Above. It took almost an hour to get there, but an easy drive. You head for Leesburg There is also an all breed dog club in Point of Rocks MD that had training which you pass close to on the way down. (Rt 15) In PA there was a good kennel/training facility south east of Harrisburg, it’s in the country, I think around Lewisberry. (The big thing wrong with PA is local property taxes.) There are a bunch of others more toward Baltimore, One is Catoctin KC. in the Camp David area. They held a couple of trials each year.There was also a training facility some friends used in eastern MD toward Annapolis. The friends were from the MD and VA suburbs of DC and said it was a trek, so it is out closer to Annapolis. I’m sure some have changed but it was a good area for training a few years ago.

    by Shumidog — July 7, 2015

  45. Elaine, building place at canta Mia still in Michigan till completed. Near Phoenix

    by Nancy — July 8, 2015

  46. Thanks Shuidog, but it a bit to expensive for me in the area. But I will see if there is somewhere close. PA had not been a consideration maybe I should look. If I choose northern Virginia, I wouldn’t have enoughmoney left over to play in dog sports

    Nancy, keep us updated about the phoenix area, but I will probably end up in the s0uth east. I looked up CantaMia…looks beautiful…and a bit intimating for a blue eyed (used to be) redhead. But I know folks own dogs there. Have fun with your new home.

    by elaine — July 8, 2015

  47. Elaine Don’t forget to include the panhandle of WV. The ‘big city’ is Martinsburg. That stretch of WV on I 80 is around 25 miles long, The stretch of I 89 through MD is even shorter. So the larger cities of Winchester, VA and Hagerstown, MD are a reasonable drive. In PA your looking at Franklin Co. The cities are Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Mercersburg, and Greencastle. Chambersburg is the largest. All are small and except for Chambersburg are on the quaint side, but not tourist destinations. Tourists stay in Gettysburg, Adams Co. to the east.

    One thing about the area that may not be obvious, it is bedroom to Wash. DC There were commuter trains that ran between Martinsburg, WV and Wash DC through MD daily. They follow the Potomac River. So if your interested in day trips to the Smitsonian, you don’t have to drive.

    by Shumidog — July 9, 2015

  48. Elaine Got the route # wrong the Interstate is I 81.

    by Shumidog — July 9, 2015

  49. to fionna,rich,ella, larry and anyone willing to share their opinion, if you were on an annual
    income around $30,000 and no mortgage to pay, which of these states would you concentrate
    on, PA…SC…DE . not looking especially for 55+ comm. healthcare, shopping, traffic and safe
    peace & quiet are the priorities. having plenty of sleepness nights lately. thanks for any
    comments. have a good day.
    p.s. I know where my heart is leaning. trying to keep everyone happy.

    by john v — July 13, 2015

  50. Has anyone used an RV to check on places to retire with your pets? Just to take a short vacation or to check for an extended stay? Or maybe to do a short stay while you look for a place to purchase or rent? Since I’ve never lived in a RV I have no idea as to what would be involved or even how I might go about it. Thoughts anyone?

    by Shumidog — July 15, 2015

  51. John V., I wish i had more to offer, as i really don’t know those areas other than what i’ve read on this website. I’m driven by weather and (lack of) congestion. SC would be too hot for me in the summer, and PA to cold in the winter. Folks on this site seem to love DE. Where is your heart being called to?

    by ella — July 16, 2015

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