The X Factor in Retirement: Your Pets

Category: Family and Retirement

January 30, 2018 — When you are planning your retirement there is one factor you might have overlooked – how your pet(s) fits into your plans. Retirement often means big changes in lifestyles that can affect our furry friends. For example many of us might want to move to an active community, where there might be restrictions on the breed, size, and number of pets we can own. We might be traveling more, either on long delayed bucket list trips or visiting grandchildren, and that means more periods when you need to find someone to care for Flossie.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association 36% of American households own a dog and 30% have a cat. Surprisingly, cats outnumber dogs – 86 million to 76 million – because people tend to own more cats per household. Pet owning households are very passionate about their pets, usually viewing them as members of the family. This comment from Robert sums it up: “Wonder what kind of world we would have IF people loved each other as much as they love their pets”?

Many people are just not ready to give up their pets, even if it means they have to modify their retirement plans. In this article we will review some of the issues around having pets in retirement. To do that we have gone to the best source of practical information we have – our Members. We’ve selected a sample of the more than 150 comments you made to past articles about pets (see bottom of page for those), and then arranged the comments by topic. We are eager to see what additional comments you might have for us.

Other people’s pets
Some pet owners 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 (godsgirl)


I love dogs BUT they are a continuous problem no matter where you live and especially in 55+ parks. There are ALWAYS a few owners who cause the most problems by not cleaning up after their pets, barking and yes even some times attacking others. ..we all know that is really isn’t 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. (Robert)

Finding a community that welcomes pets
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.

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. (Sondie)

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. (Elaine)

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 leashed 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. (Gerry)

Our condominium is probably the best place in this city of 25,000 people to have a pet. Many developments do not allow pets at all. We live at Lakeridge Condominium in Winter Haven FL. (David Lane)

What I find as a limitation is that many of the places I am looking at have ‘pet’ and ‘non-pet’ sections, and, typically the pet sections rarely have resales. there is huge demand for the ‘pet’ sections. And, the units are usually higher priced (because they can get it, I’m sure). So this is a concern for me. (Ginger)

My husband and I, both retired, are looking to move from our large home into a 55+ active adult community. Problem – We have 4 dogs and an aged cat….oh, and there is the horse, but he is really not a factor.

If you’re planning on getting a pet to keep you company during retirement, plan ahead. When they say they accept two animals, ASK whether they mean two animals that people see outdoors, i.e. your dogs, or that they also accept house cats as long as they are kept in the house. Some places accept only house cats (find out how many first!) and some accept a dog, but only one. The rules are all over the place. (Tom)

Traveling with pets
The only problem I’ve run into is that one particular hotel chain puts people with pets in the most disgusting, filthy rooms they can find. We tend to stay at Best Western – clean rooms and most try to put you in a room convenient to a grassy area if they know you’re traveling with a pet. We do have a motorhome that we use if we’re taking a longer trip. (Kathie)

Yoda prepares for vacation

Caretakers
I can’t imagine never having them but if we decide to change our lifestyle we could adapt accordingly. That’s one reason we chose cats, as they are independent and can be left alone for a few days without supervision. (Vic)

We love our 3 cats dearly and wouldn’t trade them for a retirement community. They give endless, unconditional love in return for food and a clean litter box. If one wants to travel, one must recognize the cost of boarding or getting a pet sitter. It is far less stressful to have our cats than to have boomerang kids! (Carol)

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. (LFremont) (Note: Shumidog suggested “Contact the AKC breed club/breed rescue for your breed”.)

(After I lost my cat…) living on my own I got “lonely” for that pet/kitty companionship. So I got a rescue kitty and he has been great. I factored in that boarding would be part of travel expenses if I went away for longer than a few days. That has worked well. But now … my daughter and husband are expecting their first child. Great news. And (now)… they are moving/job related to Australia! I plan to go in April for up to three months. And that is way too long, not to mention very expensive, for boarding. So now what do I do? (Karen C)

Unable to part with pets
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 (Gigi2)

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. (Gelsomina)

Service dogs
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. (Karen)

Pet problems
I believe noise and disturbances for people who choose to live in community with others 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. (Karen)

Benefits of owning a pet
To paraphrase researcher Panteleimon “Paddy” Ekkekakis, Ph.D.: The best piece of exercise equipment might be a dog on a leash. (Jan Cullinane)

Bottom line
It is clear from all of these comments and many casual conversations that pets are a very emotional subject. Even folks who genuinely don’t like pets have to consider that factor when they evaluate a place to retire. Many pet lovers will never give up their pets, while others are in the “enjoy our last pet because we are not going to get another” camp (and sometimes there is no matrimonial agreement on that)! If you are among those that intend to retire with pets, then you had better think how you are going to manage that. It’s not just about how much read automatic litter box reviews here and other cat products there, it’s about commitment and love. As you can see from this article there are a host of decisions to be made, starting with what kind of community you are going to retire to, as well as what kind of pet(s) you decide to have. Bottom line: it is better to think these issues through earlier than later.

Comments
Please share your thoughts about pets and retirement in the Comments section below.

For further reading:
Are Pets and Retirement a Good Mix?
Pet Friendly Communities
Pets and Your Golden Years




Posted by Admin on January 29th, 2018

38 Comments »

  1. Excellent point that I haven’t thought much about. We need to downsize and are busy fixing up our house to market it in the next year or two. However, we haven’t discussed much about where or how we will want to live after it is sold. We currently have some nice paved trails throughout our community that run along the lake and the golf course that we walk our dog on daily. I usually do a 2-mile walk with him every day, weather permitting. Walking him on the sidewalks is ok but I prefer to walk on the trails away from cars and in a more scenic environment. I would strongly prefer to move to a community with a trail system nearby that we can both enjoy. It’s good for both of us, physically and mentally.

    by LS — January 30, 2018

  2. Here is an experience we ran into while looking at homes in Sun City Festival. If you plan on selling a home in a community and have a pet or pets a few pointers. Clean up the yard of your pet’s waste, take your pet away from the house when it is being shown, be aware there might be a pet smell you are accustomed to and others are not, like litter boxes.
    One home we had an appointment to view, was delayed for 20 minutes because they needed to secure there pets, which put us behind on the rest of our viewing schedule. They never took the three dogs away from the house and with them barking and growling we could not look at the back yard where they had the dogs. As you might imagine we didn’t buy that house. I love pets but keep in mind if you are selling, what is normal for you, may not be for others. Just another thing to consider having pets in retirement.

    by bruce — January 30, 2018

  3. I’ve been looking at 55+ communities in the west – CA, CO, WA and the ones I’m interested in don’t seem to permit fenced yards, meaning my dogs (3 small ones) will never be able to go outside on their own. So I cross these off my list immediately. I wish more developers would realize that people who have pets often regard them as integral members of the family. In my current home, I have a kennel outside with predator panels on top (to keep the dogs from becoming coyote snacks) but I haven’t found a 55+ community yet that would allow such a thing, even if it is hidden by a fence and landscaping and can’t be seen from neighboring houses (because of course, fences aren’t allowed). Ultimately, this means I probably won’t be able to live in one of these communities.

    by JoannC — January 31, 2018

  4. A recent professional study illustrated with facts that folks with dogs live longer!

    by Chuck — January 31, 2018

  5. Proximity to a good vet with extended hours is something that is factoring into my decision about where to move. It seems that a lot of the 55+ communities are not close to a veterinarian’s office, or if they are the vet is only open on weekdays until 5PM. At least, that is the case in my area and it is not good for those of us who still work. You would think some enterprising vet would recognize the need to be close to older folks and have evening and weekend office hours.

    by nancy — January 31, 2018

  6. We are currently owned by two elderly dogs, a Pug and an Australian Silky Terrier. Recently, we purchased a townhome for retirement in New Hampshire ( not everyone’s idea ?of a retirement climate; hah!) and their pet friendliness was the clincher for us.

    This development is on 66 acres of land with lots of walking trails and was formerly a 55+ community. Now, all ages are accepted and ai actually prefer that scenario.

    Dogs must be leashed outdoors and owners must pick up their waste, all of which seems reasonable to us. I’d say roughly 40% of people here own a dog and i’m Sure many have house cats as well.

    So far, we haven’t heard any barking or noise of any type, so I’d say we made a good choice.

    We don’t travel much, but if we do in the future , we have family close by to look after the dogs for a week or so. There won’t be any extended trips while the dogs are still with us because they are elderly with health issues. I can’t say as yet whether or not they will be our last pets, but time will tell.

    I will say it took us quite some time to find such a pet friendly community; perhaps a year or more of research. If we were unable to find such a community, we would have just remained in our former home.

    by Jannamar — January 31, 2018

  7. We downsized to a condo. The main reason we bought here was we had the freedom to fence in a very nice courtyard area that’s off the kitchen. Our dog can be out there all day if we’re home and she wants to. About 1/2 the residents have dogs. It’s never been a problem. There is a size restriction. This isn’t a restricted age community either. There are several single professionals women here. This will probably be our last dog. After years of responsibility we’d like to be able to make last minute decisions to go out of town. We can board her but most dogs hate that.

    by Kate — January 31, 2018

  8. JoannC, my wife and I looked at a couple of communities that had similar restrictions regarding fences. When we told the sales agent that “no fences” would be a deal breaker for us she did say we could get one of those underground electric fences. My wife immediately asked, “…and how will that keep my neighbor’s dog OUT of our yard”? The sales agent had no answer. We walked away after thanking her for her time.

    by Tim — January 31, 2018

  9. The article was interesting. We always had dogs and cats when the house was full of people, including kids who helped to care for them One of my kids gave me an expensive kitten a year ago to keep me company in retirement. I now pay for litter, cat food, vet bills, toys, a cat tree and more. I clean cat litter, wash cat dishes, have to put breakables that I loved away, watch out for tripping hazards (cat loves to run between my legs), brush the cat and clean cat hair off chairs, and more. Planning a vacation or house hunting in another area is much more complicated due to needing affordable pet care in my area. I can no longer leave paper towels or napkins out (the cat eats paper). My kids have their own pets so I can’t offer this cat to them – aside from knowing this kid will have HURT FEELINGS if the gift is rejected. I will admit I do enjoy the cat once in awhile. My point of this is that I’m ambivalent about pet ownership in retirement. I think it might have been better for me to have an older cat down the road, instead of early in retirement when I have so many non-pet activities.

    by Kate — February 1, 2018

  10. Kate, I am relatively young-63.5 and I have my last cat period. He is 14 now and I will enjoy him as long as possible, but when he crosses rainbow bridge–he will be my last cat that I own. I love cats and dogs and may become a professional dog walker or sitter, but I will not own another animal just so I can go and travel as I please. I may change later…but that is my plan for now. I am semi retired at this point.

    by Jennifer — February 1, 2018

  11. Our wonderful pup was with us for 14 years til he passed. It was a great time when the kids were growing up, but once we were empty nesters it really dampened our sense of adventure. It is easier now looking for travel and retirement destinations without a pet in the equation. I think I would definitely have another dog, but only after I’m done wandering and am settled in one place.

    by Staci — February 1, 2018

  12. I plan to retire in a few years and two of our three pets are elderly now. We won’t get anymore until much later in life after we’re done doing the traveling we plan on.

    by Kay Lynn — February 1, 2018

  13. Lots of good information regarding pets and retirement. We have two cats that are 12 years old. Got as kittens right after we retired. Enjoyed their kitten years but they were little terrors! Since moving to a 55+ retirement community in Fort Myers, FL 6 years ago we have been very fortunate in that there are numerous pet sitters living here and for a very reasonable price will come to your home once or twice a day and take care of your kitties, your mail, garbage, etc. so we are free to travel as much as we like. I think if you are in a mostly retired community you will find many people who like to make a little extra money so you really don’t have to stop having pets. But with that said, I know from seeing some heartbreaking photos and stories from shelters in our area, there are many senior kitties and dogs that wind up there because their owner has passed away or can no longer care for their pets. On the bright side, the shelters here go to great lengths to urge seniors who still want pets to always adopt older pets and leave the kittens and puppies to the younger folks. The education is working so there are many happy endings.

    by Toni — February 1, 2018

  14. This conversation is so relevant to my life! My husband and have lived with at least one dog nearly all our lives and would feel the house was empty without one. We have a reciprocal agreement with family members to care for each other’s pets when we travel. However, on the rare occasions when our family travels en masse, pet care a very costly proposition.

    Also, being retired we travel a lot more than they do so it’s not exactly an equal equation.

    Like many others commenting on this discussion, I’ll be in a quandary when our somewhat elderly dog passes on. Perhaps we will hold off on the next animal until the bulk of our traveling is behind us. That seems a reasonable solution to me, but selling it to the hubby will be a horse of an entirely different color.

    by JCarol — February 1, 2018

  15. Most topics about pets in retirement have been well covered here, but there are a few things that I can add that may help others in or nearing retirement. We’ve had at least two dogs for the past 42 years. Most were large dogs for whom we mostly got sitters when we traveled or kenneled when necessary. In the ’80s, one toy Brussels mix was so small he could fit in a coat pocket and went everywhere with us including tubing. After retiring 15 years ago, as our dogs aged and died they were succeeded by smaller dogs (max 15 lbs). I made the choice 11 years ago, after losing my Malemute to bloat while kenneled, to always take our dogs when traveling which pretty much has left us traveling by car in the US. (Fortunately, business travel years earlier had gotten us nice trips to Europe.) More recently, there are now some options for air and train travel with dogs — be sure to check that out if it matters to you.

    I really wonder if most retirees realize what an incredible resource of fascinating places we have here in the US, Canada and even Mexico that can be reached by car. Our two Affens have journeyed 30,000+ and 20,000+ road miles respectively in all parts of the US. Yet after tracing all our travels on a large US map, I remain astonished at how much of our country we have yet to visit — and naturally, there are many places that really need a return visit. Without question, having smaller dogs makes this MUCH easier. Also, be aware that our dogs have NEVER been allowed off-leash when away from home. They are OUR responsibility.

    Mostly in these travels, we have stayed in pet-friendly hotels. Unlike that one comment above, we have never found “disgusting” though at times we are placed in the older rooms. If you find “disgusting” ask for a change or move to another hotel. Also, ask to see the room before accepting it. We’ve found that Red Roof, Econolodge, La Quinta and others all accept dogs with little or no extra charge. Many Days Inn, Comfort Inn and others also will take dogs. Always check in advance. When on a road trip, we start after lunch checking the internet or referring to our current AAA “Traveling with Your Pet” book (well worth the cost and very inexpensive for AAA members) and call ahead to where we think we may stop for the day.

    We’ve also had a great deal of luck searching Homeaway/VRBO, etc. for a place to stay for longer periods of a week to a month. MOST pet fees are reasonable and our dogs are well-behaved so we have no fear of damage costs. Invest a little time on research before you go to these places and there shouldn’t be significant problems. We particularly look for places with fencing, on arrival we personally verify that indeed our small dogs will have no means for escape (and block any areas of concern). At times we buy or take along a lightweight plastic fencing material and fiberglass “posts” (both available at any “builder supply” to create a small, safe “yard” (with absolutely no damage to the property). We always clean up after our dogs.

    Our dogs are now 10+ years old. When they pass we don’t expect to bring in another dog and hope to then enjoy more overseas travel. My wife also has the option to travel overseas with a friend while I live up to my commitment to stay with the dogs.. If we decide at some later point to take in another dog, it will be by means of dog care (walking, sitting), fostering, or adopting an older dog. We’ve made plans with appropriate relatives and friends to take on the pets we have now in the event of our both passing. This is especially important given the special needs of one of our dogs.

    I used to say my Malemute made me smile every day. My Affen makes me laugh every day and more than once. Living and traveling with our dogs makes life significantly more enjoyable. One is an ardent tourist, the other just accepts whatever comes as long as we are there. We can say the same.

    by RichPB — February 2, 2018

  16. We have 4 dogs and plan to retire to New Mexico or Tuscon. We did at stay at Robson Ranch and everyone said they loved having dogs around. I think because some people don’t have them anymore. All mine are 10+ so don’t know how long I will have them. I still plan on fostering and helping out the local shelters. I don’t know if I can ever be pet free. I guess I will adopt a purse dog so it can go everywhere. I would actually love more info on New Mexico if anyone has looked it retired there.

    by Tomi Huntley — February 2, 2018

  17. JoanneC, Tomi Huntley(again:)) Victory in az is 10 times more dog friendly than I’ve even see and was an unexpected gift. No dog limit, , allows fenced yards, even covered runs , most people here have dogs and many multiple. Lots of regular parks. Lots of local pet sitters,in your home or theirs, and good vets, emergency clinic about 20 minutes away. My home is on the market less than value for more info Nancy.cavaliers@gmail.com

    by Nancy — February 3, 2018

  18. I currently have 4 dogs from 92 pounds on down to 7 pounds. I expect to have dogs until the day I die. We have an RV so they can travel with us. We were very selective on where we would retire and have decided on the Robson community of Quail Creek in the Green Valley/Sahuarita area. We’re thrilled. They are dog friendly, have a beautiful dog park, so many people out walking their dogs, or ride around with their dogs on their golf carts. We love the friendliness of the community, the views, all the things to do, the beautiful night sky; everything about it is a fit for us. Our house is being built and we move there this summer. Can’t wait!

    by Brenda P — February 4, 2018

  19. Brenda , we looked at Quail Creek and that is on our list. I know if we choose AZ over NM we will probably buy an RV and travel during the summer.

    by Tomi Huntley — February 4, 2018

  20. Hi Tomi,
    I would love to meet you if you come that way. I understand they have an active RV club at QC as well. We’re very new to RVing, so probably can learn a lot from the others in the club. There’s lots to do there. We found it and just stopped looking elsewhere. I have a sister in Canada, so I know that I have somewhere cooler to visit in the summer. 😉

    by Brenda P — February 7, 2018

  21. I thought this story was about pets and retirement–
    Traveling with pets can be challenging AND amusing. Do you usually crate your pets when you leave them in a hotel room when owners go out? Leave them in the car? I have a “barker” which can be scary when left unattended in a hotel!

    by Florence — February 8, 2018

  22. Florence, You bring up good points in traveling with pets — what to do with them if you don’t want to take them with you on various outings from your destination(s). Since we travel far from home for anywhere from a week to 2 – 3 months and, to me, kenneling is not an option, we prepare for almost anything. (“Kenneling” is bad enough when you know and “trust” the kennel. Keep in mind that no kennel is going to watch and pay attention to your dog like you do. That’s why my Malamute died from bloat while in a trusted kennel — the problem killed him before they found him. That is also why I have decided on travel only if our dogs can go with us. The only alternative for me is to have a highly trusted friend or relative stay IN OUR HOME with our dogs.) Since I won’t kennel, in a pinch such as a period during my unanticipated bypass surgery while on a trip away from home, we have used a respected local “dog kindergarten” for day care — constant care and attention.

    Regardless of plans, when travelling we always take a folding crate large enough for both of our dogs to have room. If they must be left in a hotel room or rented house for a museum visit, etc., we leave them in the crate. But yes, most hotels have prohibitions against constant barking and many will reserve the option to enter the room and take action (?) if there are complaints. (To say nothing of evicting you from the room.) Fortunately our dogs don’t “normally” bark constantly but instead will sleep except for sudden noises. If we leave while they are crated in the room, we always advise the staff so that they know there will be barking while they service the room. In your case, Florence, I would consider covering the crate with heavy quilts or blankets (except for maybe a “window” opening) and definitely discuss with the manager before even taking the room.

    As far as leaving them in the car, I’m sure it’s not necessary to say that pets should never be left in a car even briefly on a sunny day above 60 degrees (or even lower) regardless of open windows and any breeze — the likelihood of death is much too high. Be mindful of state and local laws regarding pets left in cars — many localities absolutely prohibit leaving pets in cars under any circumstances (Fayetteville, NC and some states). Florida has a new law that allows any passerby to break into a car to free a pet if they appear to be in distress — no legal penalty. You are far better off to plan ahead for how you will manage your pet(s) in the event you need to leave them alone for a while. (Seriously, consider a heavy chain and padlock binding a crate around a tree or post — and a padlock on the crate door. Dognapping is always a possibility and it’s too easy for a dog to slip loose of a tied leash — especially with help. My personal take is that the locked crate would only be an option if I could keep an eye on the situation (such as from a restaurant window) — I don’t want strangers to have access to my dogs.) And remember that dogs ALWAYS need water.

    When traveling, keeping your dog safe and secure is of primary importance and only you can assure that. Are these measures difficult or extreme? At times, but as you said Florence, “Traveling with pets can be challenging AND amusing.”

    by RichPB — February 8, 2018

  23. On travel or in a strange hotel, I would also leave a piece of clothing, like a shirt, that I have worn with my pets so they will hopefully know you will be back, Make sure they have been walked before placing them in the crate and make sure the crate is lined with comfortable pads or old blankets, yes water is a must, do doubt about it. My schnauzer loved her crate when we traveled and she would sometimes shut the door herself. We rarely locked the door as she used it as her bed and did not ever cause a problem when we were out.

    by Jennifer — February 9, 2018

  24. My Poodle is 14 years old and has been an excellent watch dog and never, ever misses a trick. If a doorbell on the tv rings he barks, if someone knocks on our door he barks, if he sees someone drive up our driveway he barks. If he sees my husband drive up the driveway he loses his mind and barks and shrieks like a banshee. He barks at everything, joggers, kids at the bus stop or anything that is not normal he recognizes as something to worry about. He paces and does boarder patrol in the garage and if he notices a box on the floor that wasn’t there yesterday he stops short and has to examine it. There are hoses hanging on the wall in the boiler room and he never has liked them and barks at them. He is also very protective and we are afraid he will bite strangers. In his whole life he has only been to the kennel once and it was due to my hub having surgery and we had no one to watch him. He was totally hysterical for about 3 hours after we brought him home. Whining and shrieking. He and his brother the Pomeranian stayed in the same run for two nights. The Pom is a What EVA type guy but the Poodle is a full time job. Can’t imagine ever travelling with him unless it was just a short jaunt. He is too smart.

    by Louise — February 9, 2018

  25. One of the parameters I use in finding a new spot is the proximity to veterinary emergency and specialty care clinics as well as a top notch veterinary practice. I have utilized the former more times than I care to admit Over the past 25 years and it is absolutely critical to have one at least within an hours drive, closer if possible. Visit them first, same as with vet clinics. And interview. Nothing worse than going to a clinic that doesn’t care about your trusted companion or you for that matter more than they care about your money they can grab and a cold, non caring, attitude. Beware of corporate owned facilities. If your pets are important to you and a trusted member of your family treat their medical care as you do your own. And of course visit the kennels close by so in an emergency you know where you can safely board them. Your retirement will be much happier without the stress of substandard care.

    by Susan — February 10, 2018

  26. Interesting all have mentioned dogs and cats, but what about birds? Currently I live in a condominium development and have a few little birds and one big bird. Traveling overnight to leave them is acceptable, but any additional time away requires a pet sitter that I pay to take care of them.

    A community for 55+ in the surrounding areas of Cleveland, OH would be ideal. Currently work part time, but always looking ahead to the future for my birds and I to live in an active area where seniors look out for one another along with their pets. Could not part with my birds, as they are my family and keep me company.

    Glad pets are important to so many people. Thanks all for sharing.

    by Pamela — February 10, 2018

  27. Susan – I’m so glad to hear someone else does this too. I’m contemplating a move to France and everyone keeps trying to talk me into village life. But as appealing as that is, I don’t want a village vet for my pets and am checking out cities for regular, emergency, and specialty vets as a primary consideration for where to settle. Because one of my dogs is going to need lifelong care from a neurologist, my choices are limited. It’s the same when looking for a community here and I again have decided to restrict my search to areas either near vet schools or excellent vet hospitals. I lost my heart dog because of an insensitive, incompetent vet practice and will never again assume that a fancy clinic means good doctors.

    by JoannC — February 11, 2018

  28. Joanne, glad to hear there is someone else out there that feels vet care is a critical part of where to move. My friends think I’ve got a loose screw in my head. But it only takes one disastrous experience to realize the importance of it. I’m sorry about your dog. I almost lost one due to incompetence or ignorance but luckily got him to an emergency clinic where a recent tufts grad took control. And I have another one now that needs lifelong care from specialists and quality physical therapy. Luckily I have a choice of 3 ER’s, 2 critical care/specialty clinics, and I travel 140 miles twice a week for his PT. Richmond, VA area is blessed with a few good spots and several not so good. Raleigh NC has an excellent vet school, as does Colorado state. There’s a good one in Georgia and in North Central Fl. Those are the vet schools, I’ve heard of. The 24hr specialty/ ER clinics with board certified vets that have the testing facilities needed, I think have to be visited with dog in tow to see how they are. And how your dog reacts when there. I’m hampered with also trying to find a spot that offers vet supervised PT, not just water treadmilll, but laser, untrasound, massage and stretching. Done improperly can cause a lot of harm. But they are few and far between. May unfortunately be staying put for several more years. I wish you luck in your search in France. From what I have heard and read, the breeding practices in Europe are much more stringent than here in the states so perhaps their vet practices are the same.

    by Susan — February 12, 2018

  29. I’m another pet and horse owner with high maintenance health issues. We have access to 24/7 top rated small animal hospital about 10 minutes from our home. Also, I have excellent access to large animal vet practise around the corner. Likewise, being in a densely populated NJ have our pick of large nearby hospitals and physicians to choose from. These are all priorities on the top of my list for a future move. I usually don’t pay much attention to state or city rating guides when healthcare is not even mentioned. Or they display a map of all the local restaurants and food stores – what about doctors and hospitals? Yes, taxes and cost of living, home prices are important but as we get older so is access to quality healthcare that is not hours away.

    by JoannL — February 13, 2018

  30. Louise – I feel bad that your poodle barks so much. In a 55+, there is an assumption that it would be quieter than a general population without kids screaming as they play (like a girl next door that felt she should scream at the top of her lungs – as if she were being kidnapped – the entire time she was outdoors). The dogs in our neighborhood are spaced so far apart that when we hear barking it stops fairly soon. We’ve had two dogs stop by when their owners were at work, both breaking whatever restraints they had.

    Basically, if I went to live in an area where I had to take care of other people’s runaway dogs or have to listen to the dog next door constantly, I’d go nuts. We are indoor cat people. We have NEVER allowed our cats out. Your comments make me feel that I need a cat but no-dog 55+, but I don’t know if they exist.

    I really like dogs, and I’d love to have one, but the your poodle barking is just like my mother’s poodle – a constant barker – and I could only take that dog in really short visits.

    by Trappercat — February 15, 2018

  31. Trappercat, the Poodle is high strung for sure. We do not allow him to be a nuisance to the neighborhood. We bring him in right away if he starts up. Mostly WE have to listen to his antics and try to calm him down. It isn’t easy when this 15 lb dog thinks he is the boss! Sometimes the only thing that gets him to stop is a little spray from a water pistol. He’d stand in the rain for the longest time if I would let him but this little shot of water, when unexpected, jolts him into reality again. I wouldn’t like to live in a neighborhood either with barking dogs. There are two boarder collies that are close by and when we get our mail, they bark at us and the Poodle and them have barking contests at times, till I drag him in. Now the people across the street have a dog the Poodle likes to bark at. It is a 3 ring circus at times. Thank goodness my Pom is laid back! I cannot envision living in a community, condo with my dogs.

    by Louise — February 16, 2018

  32. Moved in retirement to Southeastern Florida with two small dogs. Pets restrictions are a big issue with 55+ communities, a majority of condo communities in the Palm Beach County area do not allow any pets. Looked at several ocean front condos and many 55+ communities. All had no pet restrictions. Our friends live in an affordable 55+ community very close to downtown Delray Beach. Would have purchase there but they had strict no pet rules. After looking and purchasing a home 15 miles away, I found out many owners just bring pets in flaunting the pet rules. Now I am so disgusted ready to sell and leave the area.

    by jeanneart — March 1, 2018

  33. Finally found a 55+ mfg home community in Florence, OR that will allow 3 pets and you own the land as well….it’s called Greentrees….

    by Mary11 — March 2, 2018

  34. Victory in verrado has no pet limit. Buckeye Arizona.

    by Nancy — March 2, 2018

  35. Mary 11 where is greentrees located? Is that large dogs too? I understand what Jean is saying that plus high HOA and good hospitals are major reason I feel not trapped but certainly restricted on where to move. I wish we could have afforded a summer house in the mountains which accepted large fur babies. But that would involve two upkeeps also. Not appealing in reality.

    by LMB — March 3, 2018

  36. Mary11, do you have any other contact info for Greentrees? I’m very interested.

    Sharon

    by Sharon Alexander — March 3, 2018

  37. We moved the last few comments that drifted away from pets to a Blog about living in Oregon:
    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/dueling-retirement-states-the-pacific-northwest-or-and-wa.html/#comment-307852

    by Jane at Topretirements — March 4, 2018

  38. These comments were moved here for a better fit:

    SandyZ – where in SC are you? We’re coming in July to get a feel for the weather, crowds and how accepting places are of our dog! Looking at the Mt Pleasant area and Hilton Head. Thanks!
    by Dian — March 12, 2018 

    Dian,
    Mt.Pleasant is pretty dog friendly overall and only increasing. Dog parks and tons of doggie day care available.Many bars/pubs allow for dogs but some restrict to outside only. Pay close attention to dog licensing for beach use on Sullivan’s island and Isle of Palms beaches ( if you go) even if you live in Mt Pleasant. No mulligans on issuing tickets as far as dogs are concerned. Winter is less restrictive at both beaches, Honestly summer is tough on most dogs here, too hot. Also too hot for my husband and I and after being here since 1990 we’ve opted to leave. More crowded than when we first moved here but crowding is a relative thing,compared to where you are currently.It is a rapidly growing area and housing demands are not being met easily.But you can look at other websites for that to see what it would cost for the type home you’d like.
    by C — March 12, 2018 

    by Jane at Topretirements — March 12, 2018

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