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Pets, Retirement, and the Pandemic: A Good Mix?

Category: Family and Retirement

August 19, 2020 — If you are like a lot of the people we know, the pandemic might have led you into thinking about adding a pet to the family. Across the country and maybe the world, animal shelters and rescue operations have slimmer pickings, and breeders are not returning phone calls. So this seems like as good a time as any to revisit “Pets and Retirement”. Topretirements has two very popular articles on this topic, “Are Pets and Retirement a Good Mix?“, and “Pets, the X Factor in Retirement“. Between the two they generated almost 100 reader comments, so we know this is a topic that resonates among retirees, who have different needs and lifestyles than working families. If you are tempted to add some type of pet to your family, these articles are a good place to help organize your thoughts and plans.

Carlotta (Lottie)

Your editor and his wife just went down this road, and it has been exciting. Formerly owners of big and very active Australian Shepherds, after much thought we chose a smaller dog that might be easier to travel with. Carlotta (Lottie for short), a Havanese, came to us at 9 weeks old. Never having a puppy in our married life together, this has been an adventure. House training isn’t really possible yet, but accidents are fewer if she goes outside every hour or so. She sleeps through the night, waking up once to go on a pee pad in the bathtub. We hired a puppy training consultant to help us get her off on the right foot (or avoid most of the wrong ones), who made good suggestions about getting her to pay attention to us and be around a leash, among others.

T-Bone and Lottie

In the pandemic having a pet has many advantages. Our social life is much curtailed, so we have the time to pay attention (some people worry pets will have a big adjustment when people have to return to their offices). She is going to be a great companion, not only for us, but for our 2 year Tiger Cat, T-Bone, who came to us from the Florida Keys SPCA. After a 2 week standoff, they are now careening around the house in pursuit of each other. Roberta (Lucy Burdette) has a big presence on social media because of her books, so the two pets now have a huge fanbase.

Have you added a pet recently, or are you thinking of doing so? Please share your adventures and thoughts about whether this was a good idea or not in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on August 18th, 2020


  1. Having a pet during this pandemic, as was noted, can be very helpful for companionship, diversion and a friendly listener. When we take Dante out, we avoid allowing strangers pet him — just one more contagion. Our vet has been scrupulous about managing necessary visits which has been very reassuring.

    The two previous articles and comments linked above are excellent for those who have not read them — especially the “X-factor”. I added two lengthy comments there about traveling that should be helpful. Thousands of road miles with two small dogs (plus many months with an RV), taught us a lot. And the other comments there about ensuring vet’s during your travels are truly important.

    by RichPB — August 19, 2020

  2. Getting a pet in retirement can be a great idea, unless you are a frail 90-year-old and have your sights set on a 250-pound bull mastiff – or a live-in Clydesdale. Veterinarians offer many caveats, while remaining supportive of pets for seniors. For their take, as well as suggestions from psychologists, please visit my website for a Retirement Sage column on this topic. Please click here:

    Comment from Editor: Thanks to Ed for suggesting this topic when he noticed we had a new puppy!

    by Ed LaFreniere — August 21, 2020

  3. We travel too much by plane ( or we were ) to make having a pet practical for us now, but down the road when we’re done wandering, I could definitely see us having a smallish dog.

    by Staci — August 22, 2020

  4. We have been touring Retirement Communities and most condo-style buildings have unit access off a central hallway. We were delighted to see, at one such community, they had screen doors on some units. Since there isn’t pervasive air conditioning, that was for people who had small pets. They could leave their doors open, for ventilation, without letting the pets into the hallway. Also a way to be a little more sociable. Brilliant!

    by Flatearth6 — August 22, 2020

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