Pet Friendly Communities

Category: General Retirement Issues

September 12, 2014 — Our recent article about downsizing and hitting the road sparked a side discussion on pets and pet friendly communities. Since several members have asked us to provide more on that topic, we have created this post for everyone to wag their tails on the subject. Please remember to be civil – people have strong opinions on the subject, so let’s keep it friendly! Also, if you are looking for a pet-friendly active adult or 55+ community, you can select that as an Amenity in our Advanced Search feature.

We have re-posted the comments from the “Downsizing” article here (in one Comment).
Tonka - CFO (Chief Fido Officer) at TopretirementsTonka – CFO (Chief Fido Officer) at Topretirements
Here is an article we wrote 2 years ago on the subject: “Are Pets and Retirement a Good Mix?“, which also has many interesting Comments worth reading.

Please post your comments below. We would especially like to hear about cities, towns, and active communities that are especially pet-friendly.

Sadie with author Peter Spencer

Sadie with author Peter Spencer

Posted by Admin on September 12th, 2014

76 Comments »

  1. These are reposted comments from another post:
    From gigi2:
    Found a new owner for her dog? Since when is a dog just property? I feel sorry for someone who has “owned” a dog instead of enjoying the irreplaceable joy having it become part of the family supplies. I could no more give away my dog than my husband — in fact, a lot of studies show that the latter is easier than the former for most women. LOL!

    From godsgirl:
    gidi2, love it, esp the last part. How true is that.
    It is also why I keep saying that we need absolutely and positively many more truly pet friendly communities. No, not just allow and tolerate, but cater to pets and their human friends.
    It is understood that certain restrictions and compromises must be made when living in such close proximity with each other. But we didn’t come this far in life to be herded like little kids and being told what we can or cannot do.
    We are expected to pay good money, so we must have the communities work for us, not the other way around.
    Call me a rebel, but that is the way I (and my husband) feel.

    From Karen:
    For those of us who do not have a dog/s, for a variety of reasons, surely those with pets can try to understand the other side. If 55+ communities place restrictions on young children, what is so different about restrictions on animals? Many pet people do not clean up after their animals, many dogs create noise and other disturbances. I currently prefer, and chose, a non pet community. Yet they are here anyway. They are in grocery stores and restaurants. I think it’s the non pet people, not those with pets, who are starting to face the limitations and restrictions, in my opinion. Private homes outside of a hoa type community, with some land, might be a better choice for pet lovers. If not, there are plenty of places that allow pets and the restrictions are there for the sake of the human residents.

    by Admin — September 12, 2014

  2. This comment came in from Rich:
    On the pet side, I completely agree that pets aren’t a “thing” to be given away. I have had to put a dog down that had been so traumatized by constantly being handed off all her brief life that she could no longer be trusted with people — especially children. I have adopted so many dogs over the past 40 years that I know very well how I have changed their lives — and what could happen if I deserted them. Five years ago my wife and I took a Mediterranean cruise for our 40th anniversary leaving our dog at home with my sister — very well cared for. But I vowed that I would never again travel without my dog. So we have limited ourselves to US travel and our dog has been with us for more than 20,000 miles. That vow set limits, yes, but pets are their own commitment.

    But I also agree with Karen. When you take in a pet, you take on the commitment including finding appropriate places that accept their presence. If that means not living in a particular place or not eating in a particular restaurant, that’s how it is. It’s their loss — not a loss to be borne by my dog.

    by Admin — September 12, 2014

  3. I think it’s probably easier for us cat owners. My 3 cats are housebound…never go outside. Although I have seen places that limit you to one cat. Why? If the cat stays inside all the time, why the restrictions. Mind you I’m not advocating excessive amounts of kitties…that’s not healthy for the owner or the kitties. But two, three or even four cats? Why not?

    by Stacey — September 12, 2014

  4. admin, thank you so much for creating this section for us to voice our opinions. My hope is that some business savvy communities will open up their hearts and leave a few more responsibilities up to the pet owners.
    We had actually found one (Arcadia Village), but the location wasn’t to our liking, sadly. But kudos to them for their limited pet restriction. To their credit, we weren’t aware of any complaints, and we did keep our ears open while enjoying their guest accommodations.

    To Karen, I agree with you. Pet owners…some…are their worst enemy and make it more difficult for the rest of us, merely by not taking care of their furry friends the way they should. So, of course, rules and regulations must apply, within reason. Here are a few ideas I have in mind.
    Pick up after your pet at all times and never, ever, leave your pet unattended outside.
    Train and work with your pet(s). Our animals must get along with others, people and animals alike, and never be a nuisance to anyone. They are not to jump on anyone and must be reasonably quiet, esp at night.
    Have your pet spayed or neutered.
    Make sure the pet is vaccinated and flea treated, etc
    Those are some of the pet owner’s responsibility, and it should be understood and in writing.
    But here are some suggestions for communities.
    Have a pet corral with some shade and water source (esp in warmer climates), so that the dogs can exercise and frolic off the leash.
    Put less restrictions on size of dog, with the exception of vicious breeds. What is wrong with medium size dogs, even some larger breeds, if the dogs (and owners.. lol) are well behaved and gentle?
    As Stacey mentioned, why does it matter how many cats you have in your own home if you take care of your home and your cats? People can create chaos and filth even without an animal in the house, and those who do should not be part of such a community to begin with.
    Give pet owners some credit. Most of us love our pets and take great care of them. The few who don’t, they can be dealt with accordingly and probably shouldn’t have a pet to begin with.

    by Godsgirl — September 13, 2014

  5. I had a beloved dog growing up and hope to have one in my life again when I am settled enough to give it a stable life, one where I am consistently present. So I DO understand the bond between dogs and the people who love them. That being said, I know from personal experience that not all pets are well cared for nor do their owners always keep them from annoying neighbors. Of course most are not a problem. I am sure that the main reason an older person doesn’t pick up after their dog is because it has become difficult for them, not because they just don’t care. I have witnessed elderly people, even in an airport!, ignoring the mess. Barking dogs are often a problem only when the owner leaves. But you can imagine the difficulty that would ensue if anyone tried to ask a senior, or anyone, to give up their dog. Kind of like asking them/us to stop driving at some point! I grew up in a world where dogs were loved and cared for…..but mostly stayed home or where they were specifically welcome. Not riding in grocery carts or walking thru airports. So I hope there will continue to be a choice in retirement communities, and other hoas, as to dogs or not. Some that allow pets now even have parks for the dogs to run and play. I can’t think of anything more pet friendly than that. But there are reasons for restrictions on size and number in certain types of communities. If they are not easily enforced, problems amongst neighbors will likely ensue. Not the kind of retirement scenario I look forward to :-).

    by Karen — September 13, 2014

  6. The differences between here and Europe are so interesting. Anyone here spent time in France? In France, dogs go everywhere. They go to the grocery store and the restaurant and the theatre. But….and this is a big but….the dogs are super well trained. I have spent weeks in France several times. Been in many cafes or restaurants with dogs under the tables. Never heard a dog bark or misbehave in any way. I don’t know how they do it, but all the dogs seem to be well trained. In the US we are very spoiled and we spoil our dogs. I live in a park where people don’t always pick up after their dog. Sometimes dogs get on barking jags. It isn’t that bad and I think we manage it pretty well, but I think most dogs and owners in the US could use more training. And by the way, even if I didn’t currently have a dog, I would have sought out a pet friendly park. I just like pet friendly people better.

    by Ginger — September 13, 2014

  7. Thanks admin for starting this thread. Dogs are very important to me. I have very reduced family and not enough in any one spot and I have no children, so I love their companionship. They are also part of my social life. I have done search and rescue with one dog (they need a certain temperament for that work) and it became too time consuming when I changed jobs and states. I also have competed in agility, obedience, nosework, etc. with that dog and other of my former dogs. Since I moved a lot for jobs the social aspect of these activities is important to me. Right now the dog that I have does not have the temperament for these activities. However, I still belong to a dog club and much of my social life is with other members of the club…dinner, movies and other non-dog activities as well as helping out at dog activities.

    I was a bit horrified about the giving away the family dog, but realized that perhaps that dog would not have enjoyed that life. Getting a more appropriate home can be justified…as long as they didn’t just “dump” the dog in a shelter and instead found a good situation for their pet.
    Of course, you still have to visit, but some questions can be found on-line, for example http://www.delwebb.com/communities/ga/hoschton/village-at-deaton-creek/12167/index1-planning-and-advice.aspx#.VBSQik3h7Ls Other DelWebb have this under planning resources as well. You get an idea about fences, dog park, dog club, etc.
    Trilogy sometimes have dog clubs, for example: http://www.trilogylifeblog.com/meet-the-trilogy-dog-club/

    Do be aware that pet-friendly can mean anything…sometimes little more than “we allow pets”.
    I do understand where the non-dog folks are coming from. I too get annoyed at those who do not clean up after their pets. I also know that some folks are afraid of dogs. At our conformation event, I usually do the final doggy doo clean up. We even clean up at the main hotel, although most owner are great since they want to be able to come back to the site. Performance owners are usually even better about it. I always carry several clean up bags with me on walks…just in case. If we want to keep places dog friendly, we have to accept responsibility for them. I have no problem with indoor cats, but would cats to be on lead when outside, just like dogs.

    by Elaine — September 13, 2014

  8. More and more communities have ‘dog parks.’ Therefore, i’d have to assume they are exceedingly dog friendly and welcoming to dogs. Should i choose such a community for other reasons (i have two cats), i want the dogs around me to be well-trained. I’ve had over 25 years of barking from both sides (next-door) neighbors, and i’m ready to be in an environment in which a barking dog is brought inside! By the way, i DO like dogs (and cats)!

    by ella — September 14, 2014

  9. First things First. I love dogs BUT they are a continuous problem no matter where u live and especially in 55+ parks. There are ALWAYS a few owners who cause the most problems by not cleaning up after their pets eliminate, barking and yes even some times attacking others (just two weeks ago I experienced a neighbors dog come running out of their yard (supposed to be on a leash) barking and snapping at me. I wasn’t bit but it caused problems with the owners who go mad at me because I yelled at their dog etc!!!! DUH!

    Having said that – we all know that is really ISNT so much the dog problem as it is the uncaring OWNERS who are the real problem. Personally if I didn’t own a pet I would move into a 55+ park with NO PETS – if it is enforced.

    Sorry Dog Lovers but its just a fact of life – DOGS/OWNERS ARE PROBLEMS.

    by Robert — September 14, 2014

  10. NO PET rules have seemingly become difficult to enforce. Used to be “seeing eye” dogs or “hearing” dogs were the only exceptions. But now since you can’t discriminate against people with any type of disability…….”emotional support animals” are in NO PET communities. And it is not difficult to get a dog classified as such. And this is how dogs are now in “no pet” places. No one wants to challenge whether the dog is a pet or a service animal. Even when it is apparent that someone just wanted to bring their dog shopping with them. So, Robert, this is why no pet rules are becoming unenforceable. Maybe it’s just South Florida.

    by Karen — September 14, 2014

  11. Karen, where I live in Washington DC, is a co-op consisting of five buidlings on ten acres. We have a no pets policy, BUT lots of member owners have therapy cats, birds, rabbits. All it takes is a note from a Doctor that it is needed for emotional health. It must be accepted by the Board. We have only one dog that I know of in our community. We do share our property with a condo community that allows dogs of any size and they do walk their pets on the shared property –and they MUST clean up. So far no excessive barking or bad behavior has been detected and I have lived here since 1997. I feel that since people here own their units and if it does not affect me in a negative manner why not have a pet? Older residents are lonely and a companion animal improves the quality of their lives. Who am I to judge. I am also a nurse and we do many of these notes each year.

    In Germany as well as most of Europe as mentioned above dogs are allowed in restaurants and no one really knows they are there until the patron gets up to leave. Funny, no one died from an “dog germs” over there that I know of….we need to accept that pets are a part of the family here and if well behaved should be included in most daily activities.

    by Jennifer — September 14, 2014

  12. What I am going to write may make some pet lovers angry, so stop reading right now if you think opposing positions regarding pets is troublesome to your opinions.
    First off, I will say I have learned to TOLERATE most pets over my lifetime, mostly due to fact that MOST of the people in my family love animals.
    If you are Asking yourself what could possibly have happened to make me feel as I do…….it is because I was attacked by the neighbors dog when I was 8 yrs old at a birthday party. They knew their dog was temperamental, as it had already bit another child, yet they let it loose anyway. I still have both physical and emotional scars from that incident, and I certainly don’t trust dogs until I know them or their owners. I especIally resent owners that don’t clean up after their pets and also owners that don’t muzzle a dog that barks out of the ordinary for no particular reason. Before or after 8 is quiet time for most of us.
    I too lived in Europe. I’m not sure if they just have better obedience schools, or they just choose better breeds that can mix with the public, yet I noticed that they certainly expect their pets NOT to cause issues for others. We were eating at a nice Paris bistro and when my filet steak was served….up popped this huge dog from between the small tables. With one gulp, my steak could easily have been devoured in one second! Fortunately, the dogs owners sensed how totally uncomfortable I became, and pulled the dog away. You may be chuckling, however I was terrified. I have also learned, you are not supposed to let the animal know you are scared, but that is a real challenge, when you really are, and for good reasons.
    Not EVERYONE has had good pet experiences; please take that into account before judging others.

    by Caps — September 14, 2014

  13. Karen – BTW, my daughter has 10 – yes, 10 Great Danes but she lives in a big home on 10 acres and a portion of the dog area is fenced. Once in the house and the dogs know you – all is well. If the dogs are loose and you try to gain entry into the protected area of the homested = WATCH OUT!

    We always had dogs back in the “ole days” when the kids were growing up but we lived out in the country and were responsible pet owners!

    That is quite different from living in a 55+ park or apartment. Yes, you are correct – all the people need to do is go to a Dr. and get some kind of silly note ( sometime justified)
    .
    I also agree that some lonely people 55 or whatever age are comforted by a loving pet BUT that still does not solve the problems that (especially) dogs cause in communites and its a problem that really is very difficult to solve.

    by Robert — September 15, 2014

  14. I lived in Switzerland and training classes are mandatory for dog owners. I believe that is why dogs are so well behaved out in public and in restaurants. No one seems to have a problem with this, as it makes for a more peaceful community. I can only imagine the outcry in the US if dog training was made mandatory – shrills would claim that “our freedom is being taken away!” Yes, we have a lot to learn about trying to live together in this “right to whatever” society.

    by Fionna — September 15, 2014

  15. Caps, I am sorry about your frightening experiences and it makes me wish more pet owners would realize that not everyone loves their animals, or is as comfortable with them, as much as they do, and act accordingly.
    Robert, thanks for your comments. Until dogs are as well integrated into our society as folks here are saying they are in parts of Europe, we all have to go through these growing pains.
    Jennifer, from my perspective, a community like yours might, at some point, need to stop calling itself a no pet community. If there is one dog, there are likely to be others on the way. My community is NO DOGS and NO VISITING DOGS but the rule is not evenly enforced. I dislike the hypocrisy, as well as with other thoughtful restrictions that are unenforce d. Yes, therapy animals, or pets as companions, is a wonderful concept…..if people are responsible and if the community stands behind its self imposed restrictions…….if not, it just adds another unnecessary stress to retirement living. Just one more thing to consider as I search for my next home.

    by Karen — September 15, 2014

  16. I volunteer at our local Humane Society and walk dogs. The saddest dogs are usually the older ones that have lived in a home for 10+ years and they have no idea why they end up at the shelter. That makes 2 of us, but people have changes in their lives (health, divorce) and it doesn’t leave them many options. There are wonderful shelter dogs waiting for a good home. We know first hand, because we adopted a 12 year old dog. Best dog I’ve ever had and already potty trained! I hope everyone keeps an open mind when someone moves in next to them with a dog. Not all owners allow their dogs to bark. My dog is never allowed to bark outside for no reason. If someone is breaking into my home, I want my dog to bark. We plan to move to a pet friendly 55+ community. We have found several very pet friendly communities in Florida.

    by Sunny — September 15, 2014

  17. In europe, it is a combination of training and socialization. It is hard to socialize your dog to public places, especially restaurants in their formative years. And of course most are intact. But note that they have far less oops puppies.

    by DogMa — September 15, 2014

  18. Sunny, I love the concept of adopting older dogs. Older dogs for older humans 🙂

    But how do you “not allow” a dog to bark, particularly when you are not around? A stranger passing by does not always mean someone is about to break in! Dogs bark, that is their nature! If you mean professional training, o.k., that could work. But no body can compel a dog owner to go to training. I have heard of the particularly cruel procedure of removing the vocal cords so a dog won’t bark. AWFUL!!! People actually do this so they can live in a certain place.

    I think I will want a pet companion as I age and will of course live in a pet friendly community, hopefully with responsible people. But for those who don’t want dogs as neighbors, I hope there will be communities where their preferences are equally respected.

    by Karen — September 15, 2014

  19. I get it. There are many dog owners that are not responsible that ruin it for everyone else. Having adopted many of the abused or abandoned there is no way I would leave him behind when I move. The issue here is finding accommodating 55+ communities where dogs especially over 50 pounds are welcome. Larger breeds are often left out and often behave better than smaller breeds. Your right training a dog is key, but taking yor family and companion with you is a greater joy. I praise Quinta for making it accessible to travel with your pet.

    by Darby's mom — September 15, 2014

  20. Hi Karen: We had a no visiting dogs policy and I had to laugh when I found out my neighbor, who is also a dear friend, was walking a Golden Retriever who was visiting the elderly couple who lived across the hall at the time. I had NO IDEA that their children had brought a dog! LOL The dog visited with the family for several days and was gone before anyone ever knew he was there. I am not sure how they walked the dog since we have 24/7 guards who walk the property….must have been in the dead of the night! Oh well funny story. Most people who are staff here could care less who has a pet cat or dog etc. They service our units and leave. I found that even our live-in plumber has a cat. In time the Membership may change the rules–it takes a 3/4 vote. So far no one on the Board has had the courage to do so, or so I have been told. I do not live in a retirement community, but many people are lifers here as we have a few amenities on premises they use like a grocery and a dry cleaners and the bus services runs right out side our property.

    by Jennifer — September 16, 2014

  21. Hi Karen,
    Perhaps you misunderstood the concept under consideration. The way to not have a dog bark outside is not to have a dog outside when you’re not home, and to bring a dog inside while barking when you are. If you can’t keep your dog inside while you’re not home, live many miles away from your neighbors so that if your dogs do bark for hours it doesn’t harass them.

    by ella — September 16, 2014

  22. All, please let me reemphasize that I didn’t bring up the topic to convince those who don’t feel comfortable around dogs to accept dogs around them. What I wish for are communities to cater to all of us,
    the animal lover…and I must really emphasize once again, well behaved/trained/groomed pets are the owner’s responsibility…,
    the ones who rather not have any pets around them, and even
    a third choice for those who don’t mind either way…that would include pet friendly communities, where pets are semi allowed with waiver and other restrictions or stipulations.
    To each their own. We all come from different backgrounds and have various preferences, so we much choose whatever is right for us.
    What I am hoping for are future communities where older, larger dogs are just as welcome as the small ones, and the community doggy park is well laid out and large enough to accommodate various size dogs, have shade and water…where staff is not only accepting of the dogs, but caters to them.
    We have found some communities pretending to be dog friendly, but its not very genuine.
    One dog under 25 lbs, dog must be driven to the dog park because they don’t allow you to walk your dog T/O the community, and various other stipulations.
    Many animal lovers are their own worst enemy. Many don’t bother to train them or leave their pets unattended, don’t care for them, groom them or pick up after them. We have shelters filled with unwanted pets (rarely is there an excuse) and it should be the irresponsible owners who should be locked up, not the animal.
    We live in an area that offers one free neuter/spay per household per year, yet we continue to see stray pregnant dogs or puppies roaming around. Why, pray tell?
    Darby’s mom, you got it. We too stay at LaQuinta when out and about. Thank you for mentioning it.
    Other motels/hotels don’t allow pets, that is fine with us, but we are so glad that someone business savvy enough filled a void. Its so refreshing to see doggie treats at the counter when you walk in.
    BTW, they are open to suggestions on how to make your stay with the pet a more pleasant one.

    by Godsgirl — September 16, 2014

  23. Karen,
    I have 3 dogs (chocolate lab, black lab and golden retriever-yes all rescued dogs). They do not bark outside when we are home. We don’t leave them outside when we aren’t home. They were trained by us with no abuse involved. We trained all 3 of them with positive reinforcement (treats and praise). I can let my dogs out in my front yard without a leash and they do not leave the yard, even if a dog is walking on the sidewalk across the street. Dogs are easy to train, it just takes time and lots of treats and love!
    I agree with you completely regarding removing their vocal cords. I agree, that is cruel and unnecessary.

    Ella, I agree with you completely. Don’t leave your dogs outside when you’re not home or live far away from everyone else. No one wants a barking dog next door. Be considerate if you choose to own a dog.

    Darby’s mom and Godsgirl, There are a few communities that we’ve seen that allow large dogs. They restrict by breed, not by size. They usually limit the amount to 2 dogs. No, we won’t get rid of 1 dog just to move.

    by Sunny — September 16, 2014

  24. I don’t understand how you can restrict by breed. That assumes that certain breeds are more dangerous, which just isn’t true. In my park, several owners have larger breeds. A couple of them have pit bulls. These dogs behave no worse than any other breed. When I am walking my little 8 lb girl, yes, I keep her away from those dogs but because of my fears…not because of anything those dogs have done. And I have personally known a few really sweet pit bulls. I think most of the time it is our fears, from watching sensational news which is always going to report on the worst incidents only, that cause people to make these dumb rules. My girlfriend has a huge golden retriever that is a too sweet lap dog. Many big dogs are so gentle.

    by Ginger — September 16, 2014

  25. It seems as though some breeds just have a tendency to bark more than others. When our family dog had one of those “barking days,” and we couldn’t get her to stop…….we would show her the muzzle my husband bought for her during obedience training. She was embarrassed if she had to wear it, so just showing it to her usually got her cooperation. They look similar to a horse bridal, are made from heavy cloth and can be purchased by size at a pet store.
    Just an FYI, for what it’s worth.

    by Caps — September 16, 2014

  26. I happen to like Pit Bulls. They really are gentle dogs…it’s people that turn them into killers. Some rescues are trying to change people’s opinions about Pits through education. A worthwhile program indeed.

    by Stacey — September 16, 2014

  27. Does anyone know of a 55 plus community in Florida that will let me keep my 3 dogs. They are a 14 lb mix, a 12 poodle, and a 3 1/2 lb chihuahua. None of my dogs ever go outside without me. All are trained and well behaved. I want to move to retirement community in Florida but can’t part with my dogs.

    by Nancy — September 17, 2014

  28. Wonder what kind of world we would have IF people loved each other as much as they love their pets?

    by Robert — September 17, 2014

  29. We live in Robson Ranch, Texas and have two dogs. We knew this 55+ community would be perfect for our dogs when we were met by signs stating “DON’T LEAVE YOUR PETS IN THE CAR, THEY ARE WELCOME HERE”…and they meant it. Homeowners can install iron fencing along the perimeter of their back yards which was a welcome change from most 55+ communities we visited. Our back yard measures 60′ x 75′ allowing the dogs to run and play. This community has a few common sense restrictions on pets (clean up after them, no excessive barking and they must be on leash when in “public areas”) but no size or breed restrictions. Robson has a dog park setup with shade trees, plastic pools, and water dishes set by spigots. One park for small and another for larger dogs. The lodge (restaurant) has indoor and outdoor seating and our dogs are welcome at the outdoor tables.

    by Sondie — September 17, 2014

  30. Robert….I agree. Also, sounds like some of the
    Well trained pets described here might make more considerate neighbors than some currently residing in my over 55 community.

    Regarding dogs barking, I was actually referring to pets left alone INDOORS who may ceaselessly bark while mom and dad are away. This would mostly refer to condo and apartment style communities where the adjoining neighbor’s wall may not be well insulated. Perhaps pet restrictions are more important in these types of communities. Like where I currently live. Not as much in single family homes that are not zero lot line.

    As far as breed restrictions, if people are more fearful of some, there is usually a reason. It is unfortunate that the whole breed should pay the price for bad behavior of a few…..even if the bad behavior was caused by the humans…..but that is just reality. These communities are for people
    first and the majority rightly makes the rules about
    animal residents.

    by Karen — September 17, 2014

  31. Sondie, how wonderful! Robson Ranch isn’t even listed as “pet friendly” but the website lists the dogs parks as well as a bunch of other activities that sound great! Thank you for pointing this out!

    by Shumidog — September 17, 2014

  32. This comment came in from Laraine:
    When you are highlighting specific communities would you consider indicating whether or not they are pet friendly? This is an item of concern for many of us. In particular, I’ve crossed Florida off of my list because most properties are not pet friendly. Just a thought. Thanks


    Editor response. Good thought. Normally our weekly “Best Places” newsletter doesn’t specifically mention individual communities – just towns/cities. The weekly East and West Communities newsletters do, and we will consider. But better than that, we encourage you to use our Search feature in the top center navigation. You can specify “pet friendly” and come up with a list, by state, of communities we know to be pet friendly. Of course we don’t always know, as was the case with Robson Ranch (see above comment – now fixed)., but we try. Anybody who knows of pet friendly communities, please let us know!

    by Admin — September 17, 2014

  33. Sondie and admin, thank you so much. Progress. ***smiles***

    by Godsgirl — September 17, 2014

  34. I’d rather die than give up my dog. He’s my partner, best friend, keeps me entertained and gets me out and about. I think I need him more than he needs me! He’s a gorgeous Old English Sheepdog, I know that he would be adopted by someone else in a heartbeat, but he means too much to me to give up. I’m planning my travel and retirement home to accomodates both of us here in the USA.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find out it is much easier and cheaper than I thought to fly overseas with my dog. I can take him back to Italy with me for part of the year, as long as his health will tolerate the trips.

    by Gelsomina — September 17, 2014

  35. I recently looked at a 55+ building on a beach in New Hampshire – beautiful place, parking, good sized place, but, upon reading the covenants, pets were not allowed.

    I noted this to the Realtor as the reason I had no further interest. He checked and told me that many people have cats.

    I would not consider this place, because you never know what the condo board would do if you purchased the place and brought your cats.

    Be careful of what the real estate agent says, and make sure you read the covenants before you make a decision to buy.

    by Lynne — September 17, 2014

  36. We have three small dogs — the largest is 20 pounds. We also have four indoor cats. When we retire to Florida in early 2016, we have no intention of giving up any of these animals, though moving them cross-country will be an ordeal of the first order. But that’s a story for another time.

    I despair of finding any 55+ community that will allow them. In my experience, if a development is structured as a condominium, it mostly will restrict dogs to one or (more likely) none. Beware of the innocent-sounding words, “Pet Friendly.” They may mean they take one dog, or two small dogs, or two animals. It generally does not allow flexibility to accommodate a crew like ours. We’re still looking, but I am afraid we may have to move to an house in a regular neighborhood, which would not be my first choice of living arrangements.

    If anyone knows of communities in the Melbourne-to-Stuart area of east central Florida that allow more flexibility with pets, I sure would appreciate the information. Thanks.

    by Tom — September 17, 2014

  37. Lately, in reading community literature, i’ve read of “Dog Parks” being established. As i’ve stated earlier, i have two cats, so i haven’t given this feature too much thought. However, it would seem to me that a community incurring the expense of a dog park would be dog friendly. May be a good search feature. Just a thought.

    by ella — September 18, 2014

  38. For those who do not wish to have dogs around…Wynmoor is an older established 55+ community in Coconut Creek, FL (that has many younger retirees as well) that restricts pets.
    http://www.bestsouthfloridamls.com/idx/Coconut+Creek-wynmoor+village-subdivision . I do not know anyone who lived there that did not enjoy it.

    PS I hope that those who are not fans of pets stay on this blog.

    by Elaine — September 18, 2014

  39. Elaine,
    Here’s a pet fanatic who totally agrees with you. We need both points of view on here. I’m still looking for the pet-friendly community where we can settle in with our three small dogs and four house cats,. People who don’t want to deal with animals and the occasionally idiotic people who own them should absolutely have communities available to them. We look at promotions for communities all the time and when we see non=pet places, we say, “Their loss, not ours.” I’m dead certain you would feel differently, but that’s what makes the world go round, right?

    by Tom — September 18, 2014

  40. Hi Tom, I am NOT the opposite point of view. I am the one who has done SAR with my dog, I also have done agility, obedience, nosework, etc.with several dogs. When I am looking (on-line) and if there is a place that appeals, I look for training facilities nearby and some performance trials as well since I still want to compete. I want a fence-able yard and would like enough space to have a couple of jumps and a tunnel in the yard to exercise my dogs. Walking is my exercise and their socialization, but they need more exercise.

    I just think it is important to realize that the other side has valid points and we will continue to have more rights if we are responsible dog owners. I have great respect for service dogs of all types, but am concerned about those who fake service dog certifications to take ill-mannered dog with them everywhere.

    by Elaine — September 19, 2014

  41. Elaine,
    Sorry I misunderstood your situation. Seems we’re saying pretty much the same thing.I know people who selfishly say their dogs are`service dogs and get away with it.

    by Tom — September 19, 2014

  42. Took some of you may find this link interesting.
    http://www.55places.com/blog/active-adult-communities-welcome-animal-lovers

    by Elaine — September 20, 2014

  43. All good points. I was born in ’65 and have noticed a radical change in how people in general react to barking. First, my view: I have a loud air filter which I turn on at times that I want to sleep or just not hear external sounds (like noise from the high school across the street). With it on, I can blissfully avoid almost any disturbance, other than someone ringing my doorbell or thunder, which my dogs find maddening. I take responsibility for my own peace of mind that way, rather than grumping that high schools should be required to stop having football games or dogs should all be silenced (remarks not unheard, here in my retirement community – yes, my age is ok, here). I am frequently ill and admit that, when I’m not well, persistent noise is hard for me to mentally screen out. However, I also take responsibility for that, and don’t feel the world should change so that I can enjoy feeling sick. I think that people who are angered by community noise should consider that they are suffering from an abnormal inability to screen out unwanted stimuli and attend to addressing that, on their own. Depression, for instance, can make a person feel like isolating, and can be treated.

    Our lives have become more stressful in the last 30 years, and, communally, our patience has worn thin, which has lead to more rudeness, overall, which leads to a sense of having “had it” with irritations, and a tendency to react aggressively when, in the past, we would have overlooked something. However, awareness of that can give us the ability to take control of what we can control, and stop focusing on what we can’t, or struggling with others to win the battle for more mental spaciousness (sound pollution is a real problem, but it can be dealt with).

    When I grew up in the ’60’s and ’70’s in a very nice neighborhood, dogs barked all of the time. Some literally barked all day, every day. No one cared or remarked on it. Our next door neighbors left their sheepdog locked in the garage for two weeks at a time when on vacation (with food, but no caregiver! – Not something we would think of as compassionate or responsible, today). She howled 24/7 the entire time, all night long, and my bedroom was next to their garage. No one ever thought to complain (not just to the owners, but grumping about it); we just felt sorry for poor Nellie, who was so unhappy.

    From that to the constant complaining we all hear about various community disturbances is a big change. I guess I’d like to suggest that people take responsibility for their own responses – when something is not actually harmful – notice the anger response beginning to build, and first, address that directly, by breathing, stopping and taking stock of their own condition, releasing their discomfort, and then, second, develop a strategy for dealing with their expectation that others will change to accommodate their stress. If no attempts to do so work, then develop a plan based on compassionate communication and understanding that living in a community of any type is their choice, and that doing so requires compromise. No one is forcing anyone to live close to town; there’s always a few acres in Death Valley, if community living is irritating.

    It’s all relative, really, and developing a broader perspective is helpful in many ways. I’ve lived in a lot of places and sometimes as a bit of a bohemian. People who really believe barking dogs or playing children are a problem might benefit from going on a “cultural safari” and living next door to a family suffering from domestic violence who scream and hit each other until the police arrive, or next door to a family of drug addicts (two situations I’ve experience in expensive neighborhoods), or in a picturesque Alaskan trailer park in the woods next door to a bunch of disenfranchised folk who carouse and fight all night and lie, deathlike, passed out all day on the floor, causing one to be afraid that one night, one will be shot by a stray bullet, ripping through paper thin walls and settling in one’s own torso.

    It’s all a matter of perspective.

    by Bea — September 20, 2014

  44. dear Bea,
    Your attitude is great. I wish i shared it. However, i live in NYS and it’s cold here most of the year. For the few months that i can open my windows and enjoy the outdoors, i want to do so. I love sleeping with my windows open for a few short months each year. Call me selfish, but i don’t want to have to live in a closed box (as is necessary in winter) with fans blasting at me to compensate for lack of air and the noise of barking dogs.

    LIkewise, i like to enjoy the outdoors during the day without the sound of barking dogs or loud music ripping through the sound waves. I want to hear the sound of crickets and wind in the leaves of trees. There is the noise of cars on the road, and of course i put up with that. But, barking dogs, no. That noise is unneseccesary. Let their owners take responsibility for that noise. Their dogs are not my responsibility. Trust me, i have plenty of my own! Obviously if i had your mindset my life would be easier, but i don’t. I do admire your ability to ‘live and let live,’ however!

    by ella — September 21, 2014

  45. Bea not all places are like that. I live in a neighborhood where almost everyone has a dog/dogs. There are many children and retirees. The dogs bark, the kids play. It’s all good. BTW I’ve never heard of anyone locking a dog up for two weeks. That would have been unheard of in any decade.

    by easilyamused — September 21, 2014

  46. Bea, While I appreciate your Byron Katie attitude to a degree, I believe noise and disturbances for people who choose to live in community with others (not in an isolated remote spot) must be a balanced sort of thing. Yes, some tolerance is required. But it is not appropriate, either, to be a victim of other people’s rudeness or lack of consideration. Or of people who flaunt the regulations or ordinances. Especially in retirement communities, where people are more likely to have health challenges or slightly less patience often due to difficulties with ageing, noise can be a problem.
    You, too, may feel differently as time goes by. Some seniors, however, lose their hearing….. then they don’t even hear a knock on their door:)

    by Karen — September 21, 2014

  47. In response to Karen’s reply, i have a true life experience that will shock all; but is a great example of ‘rights’ gone awry. My friend’s neighbor was dying of cancer. (She passed on this past August.) She called her next-door neighbor to ask her to bring her dog inside because the dog’s barking (according to my friend, it went on for hours) was preventing her from getting much-needed rest. The dog’s owner replied that if she didn’t like it she could move. True story!
    So while extreme, i think this story goes to show the need for consideration on every level of the spectrum. My feeling is your dog – your responsibility. (Just like when i mow grass, i don’t leave it on the road; and i don’t drain my excess water onto your property. Call me weird!) We don’t live in a forest amongst wild animals. I don’t want to hear barking. And yes, i love well-behaved dogs.

    by ella — September 21, 2014

  48. Ella, sounds like you make a great neighbor. Can’t recall where you are planning to retire, but if it’s in Florida…. or wherever I land……I would be happy to live nearby, dogs welcome!

    by Karen — September 22, 2014

  49. Thanks, Karen. You’re a sweetheart! No, it won’t be Florida. If it were, i would enjoy our meeting.
    No dogs, two cats and one husband only!
    With warm greetings,
    ella

    by ella — September 22, 2014

  50. I have 3 indoor cats, 9 and 11 years old, a sister/brother and an older cat that has one eye because previous owner didn’t care for him. I HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH HELL (sorry) trying to find a place for me and my cats. I finally challenged a community and said, “how do you know the quality of the person with two cats?” It’s not about the cats, be careful who you sell a home to…Thank you for the blog. Now, if you can just find communities who allow 3 cats, I’d like that…thanks again..

    by Millie — September 28, 2014

  51. Wow, i’m amazed! NEVER knew this would be a factor! Crazy! Hope you find just the right home for yourself and your kitties, Millie.

    by ella — September 29, 2014

  52. Millie, I know some active adult that allow 3 pets per household…canine, feline, avian…not sure on other pets (I have heard some some that disallow parrots, but that was awhile ago). Pets usually must be leased when outdoors. I think most of the newer developments allow pets. I only research unattached units which is what I look at. I am not sure about condo style. However, many rentals do not allow cats.

    You are right on about the owner vs the pet. Thank you for taking care of the unwanted one-eyed cat.

    A good resource in some DelWebb communities…go to planning resources and then to “ask a resident”. Of course, these are residents that are happy! However, they give good info on pet restrictions, fencing, property tax, etc. It reminds me of questions to ask. You can certainly ask about cats for these options.. I wish more communities had this resource.

    by Elaine — September 29, 2014

  53. Anyone know of pet friendly active adult in NC, SC or GA…tell me. I think that communities other than active adult are a bit easier, but if you know of towns or cities that are good bets, let me know.

    Okay, now that we now that there are a large number of us who want a pet friendly community…lets name names of that you KNOW are pet-friendly. The post above that mentioned someone having to drive to the dog park because she couldn’t walk to it confirms what we all know saying you are pet friendly doesn’t necessarily mean it.

    So if anyone has good ideas in NC, SC or GA, let me know.

    In Fredericksburg, VA area: These are all pet friendly. I drive through them and always see people walking dogs and stop and ask about how they like living there with dogs. As far as cats, I know they allow them…not sure about any restrictions about cats. They allow 3 pets and no breed or size restrictions. There are other smaller places that allow pets (a Toll Brothers community http://www.tollbrothers.com/VA/Regency_at_Chancellorsville , but I do not know how pet friendly they really are…but I do see folks walking dogs.
    -Virginia Heritage
    -Celebrate Virginia
    -Falls Run

    Do remember that if the community has breed restrictions an active adult community will need to repect that.

    by Elaine — October 8, 2014

  54. We will be visiting several Fl communities in the near future, and I shall report on the accuracy of their “pet friendliness”.

    by Godsgirl — October 9, 2014

  55. Tom, I’m one of those who says that my dog is a service dog, and that’s because that’s exactly what she is. And I’m not being “selfish,” either. Note: she is my only dog.

    P.S. With your three dogs and four cats, you WILL NOT find a condominium, 55+ or otherwise, even in pet-friendly Florida, that will accept your menagerie, and for good reason. You wouldn’t be able to keep a cow or pigs or chickens in a condominium, either. Count on living in a single-family house in your retirement until your menagerie has thinned out to one or two (at most) dogs or cats.
    —————————————————————————————
    Elaine,
    Sorry I misunderstood your situation. Seems we’re saying pretty much the same thing.I know people who selfishly say their dogs are`service dogs and get away with it.

    by Tom — September 19, 2014

    by Charlotte — December 3, 2014

  56. Where are the best communities for people with pets. I have small dogs but we need a forum for moving to places that encourage people with pets.

    And please ignore the trolls who try to shut down conversations. If you don’t want to live around animals you have plenty to choose from, we don’t.

    by shumidog — May 16, 2015

  57. shumidog, where are you looking?

    by godsgirl — May 17, 2015

  58. I’m looking in the west (Reno/Sparks) and the northwest Oregon and Washington. Thanks

    by Shumidog — May 18, 2015

  59. On the other side of the equation, is anyone aware of communities where dogs are NOT allowed? Thinking about coastal GA, northern FL.

    by Fiona — May 19, 2015

  60. Fiona

    You should start another blog on that subject, from the comments above there are a lot of people out there who don’t want to deal with us pet lovers. But I don’t think even the most restrictive community can bar a service animal.

    by Shumidog — May 20, 2015

  61. Shumidog,

    I love well-behaved pets, and enjoy seeing dogs out in public. Just hate the “junk yard” barkers whose owners won’t take responsibility for walking/training them. At this point in my life, just looking for some peace and quiet and am tired of putting up with unnecessary noise. Thanks for listening!

    Fiona

    by Fiona — May 21, 2015

  62. Fiona, I mentioned a place (Wynmoor) in a previous post above that does not although dogs, but it is in Coconut Creek, FL…southern FL. But virtually everywhere else that I am personally aware of allows dogs and cats…usually up to three pets. Condos seem to have more size restrictions, but detached and villas are rather liberal in restrictions of size and breed.

    I wish to find some locations in NC, SC, northern GA or even northern FL that have larger yards…and I am not talking acreage…just enough to fence in an area of ~40 by 50 feet.

    PS if you are interested in FL and enjoy dog sports , you might enjoy this website. http://www.floridaagility.com/ see map on this site it is very useful. Wish other states had this https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zmUVISQdmM74.kXFlqscksNYk at bottom of map click on training centers

    One problem that I have come across is when the grandkids are visiting and do not get the “clean up” restriction. So if you have grandkids that want to walk the dog, go with them. Do not ruin it for us dog people.

    by elaine — May 22, 2015

  63. […] further reading: Are Pets and Retirement a Good Mix Pet Friendly Communities (many Comments) (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle ||[]).push({}); Comments? We know you have a lot […]

    by » Pets and Your Golden Years - Topretirements — May 23, 2015

  64. I am looking for communities on Treasure Coast that allow 3 dogs.

    by Joyce Morab — November 22, 2015

  65. Joyce- You should check out PGA Verano (Kotler Homes ), Port St Lucie, Florida. They have a dog run and very friendly.

    by Ceil — November 23, 2015

  66. Discouraging afternoon looking at 55+ and finding over and over again that I have one cat too many. The three are indoor only. Two look alike. I’ve been advised to admit to two and sneak the other one in. Also that I would not be the first and will not be the last.

    Ethically I don’t feel this is right, but I’ve been told no one will know and no one would care. I am looking to purchase, and would not even consider this in a rental situation. I, too, am looking in the PNW.

    Any comments or feedback? Although I don’t have a dog now I enjoy them. (Even) barking dogs are more tolerable to me than screaming children.

    by moondancecat — November 28, 2015

  67. Moondancecat: I sympathise. I am living temporarily in a non-55+ community with a HOA. This community is full of busybodies who watch each other like hawks looking for violations. Neighbors constantly fight with each other over small things. (It’s very unpleasant, and I look forward to moving after I retire!) Based on this experience, I’d worry about getting reported if someone visited and discovered the “violation.” Or if the 3 cats decided to sit in a sunny window together…

    You might try to get a waiver from the HOA of communities that you like – such as by getting permission to move in with 3 cats, if you promise not to replace one when it dies. This could be easier if a developer is still running the HOA and is eager to make a sale.

    by Kate — November 29, 2015

  68. Moondancecat, Solivita in central Florida allows three pets. If PNW means Pacific Northwest that won’t do you much good, but it is nice to know that some places allow more than two pets.

    by Tessa — November 29, 2015

  69. Some communities have a pet limit, but will let you move in with more than the limit as long as you don’t replace any over limit pets when they die. If I remember correctly, On Top of the World Ocala and The Villages have that.
    Standard Disclaimer: As always, confirm this first with the Powers-That-Be before buying.

    by Art Bonds — November 29, 2015

  70. Ashburn VA is the most pet friendly place I have lived in a suburban setting. People are out being walked by their dogs 24 hours a day around here. The doggy version of Facebook has outlets all over the place in the form of fire hydrants and cable conduit plugs, where the canines leave their messages (if they can resist their servant’s desires to move along, just long enough to grab a whiff and a tinkle). The townhouse across from me has 4 dogs in it as well as a family of people to attend to their every need. When I lived in a condo community, there were 4 dogs living in the condo across the street, and everyone but us had more throughout the community. We could not have pets by our landlords restrictions since we were renters. The only drawback with Ashburn is that it is expensive to live here if you are not already well-heeled and especially so when you are not working, but there are quite a number of retirees here in the area. There are multiple 55+ communities growing like mushroom fields just down the street from us. If you live in an apartment complex you will find the usual size/breed/etc rules. Most people who own their own house or townhouse seem to get along OK with their multiple pets but they do keep their dogs leashed and pick up after them, which the HOA rules necessitate everywhere. I do believe that there may be breed restrictions around here also, as of all the thousands of dogs I see daily, I have never seen a pit bull out and about.

    by Karyl — November 29, 2015

  71. moondancecats, this probably doesn’t help you. I have looked in VA, NC, SC and GA. Everywhere that I looked allows 3 pets and this includes DelWebb, Suncity Del Webb, Heritage (Lennar), Toll Brothers and Cresswind. When looking at communities, I move them up on my list if I see many folks out dog walking and dogs enjoying rides in golf carts. A well run dog park can be a plus. The only restrictions I have found are imposed by the county or local government, not the community.

    by elaine — November 29, 2015

  72. Thank you for your responses and your help.

    Yes, I am looking in the Salem and mid-coast areas of Oregon and the Lacey and Issaquah areas of Washington. In Issaquah I am attracted to Providence Point- either their condo or I think they call it villa style homes (share one common wall, usually garage; I would use the term patio home). In Salem, Salemtowne is all detached single family homes. Little Whale Cove, in Depoe Bay has an HOA but is not 55+. The houses are termed condos but are not attached. Panorama in Lacey is a buy-in, costly, and the minimum entry age is 63; none of which will work for me.

    All are established communities; so no developer involvement. After posting last night and before reading your comments today my thoughts went more strongly in the direction of not trying to get one of the kitties in on the sly. I don’t want to live like that: always apprehensive. Your comments reinforced that.

    There has to be somewhere for me and my guys. Relocation will be an 1800 mile move, so even a look-see involves planning in terms of time, logistics and money. And, of course, boarding or having a house sitter for the kitties.

    I have not found it easy to locate any community’s CC&R’s online. When I have found specifics for limits it seems that it was either an addition on the part of the realtor or it took some investigation on my part- such as searching for newsletters. As other posters have pointed out the term “pet-friendly” really amounts to very little.

    by moondancecat — November 29, 2015

  73. Moondancecat, I googled “retirement community lacey washington pet friendly” and found the link http://www.aplaceformom.com/pet-friendly-senior-living/washington/olympia I lived in the Olympia/Lacey area for many years, I believe it would be wonderful places to retire.

    I don’t know if you have used a service that finds true pet-friendly retirement communities, but if not, that may be another resource for you to access. Good luck. This is one reason I choose to not go into a retirement community, the limitations of what I choose for my own life. I hope you find a good place for you and your cats.

    by Elaine C. — November 30, 2015

  74. Elaine C, I think that you realize this, but wasn’t sure because of your comment that you would not go into a retirement community because of the limitation of what you choose for your own life. There are many “all age” communities that are just as restrictive and highly managed or even more so than retirement communities. This seems especially so in communitieswith a large percentage of stay at home moms.

    I know that once I could have happily lived as a hermit. Now, my priorities have changed and having grocery nearby is high on my list!

    by elaine — December 1, 2015

  75. Oh, grocery stores! Depoe Bay OR is splendid in its beauty. Often (or so I have read) it is not chosen for retirement, especially by those who are solo. This seems to be because, as one poster put it on another forum- “what is there to do besides look at the ocean?”

    Give me a Trader Joe’s next door to a Wegman’s next door to a Pottery Barn.

    Thank you to those who recommended the different communities. What I have mostly come across is Shea, Trilogy and Jubilee. Many posts here point to VA which is ironic for me since my best friend of all my decades is retiring there from PA.

    I once read that someone in an HOA community and I don’t know if it was 55+ or not, was fined for not retrieving their newspaper from their driveway by whatever the appointed time was!

    by moondancecat — December 1, 2015

  76. You’re correct, elaine, in your assumption that I realize that the ubiquitous HOAs, formal and informal, exist in many communities. And we are all bound by local laws. What is desirable for one, may not be for another; yet, I hope to find kindred spirits here so we can support each other in our retirement choices, even if they are different from the majority. A Trader Joe’s close by would be great, but not essential. Where I will live, the closest is 1 1/2 hours away by freeway – sigh – but, I’ll figure it out.

    by Elaine C. — December 2, 2015

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