Retirement Communities Are Going To The Dogs

While Yappy Hours are typically found at hotels and bars, retirement homes are starting to jump on the 4-legged trend.

Image source: @fotografierenderpunk via Flickr
Image source: @fotografierenderpunk via Flickr

The Palace Coral Gables

A retirement community in South Florida, The Palace Coral Gables, has a Yappy Hour held monthly as part of the luxurious rental community’s activities.

Organized by the community’s social director, Pam Parker, Yappy Hour is one of the most anticipated monthly get-togethers for The Palace’s dog owners. The humans love the opportunity to mix and mingle while their pooches explore their fellow canines.

Wine and finger-food is served while Fido is given special treats. Parker takes pictures of the pets with their owners and each person receives a memento as well as bag of dog treat favors.

Knowing their potential customer would not relocate without a beloved pet, The Palace adapted a pet policy and requires a nonrefundable deposit of $500 for pet owners moving to the community.

The Carlisle Naples

The Carlisle Dog Park. Image source: Carlisle Naples
The Carlisle Dog Park. Image source: Carlisle Naples

At The Carlisle Naples, a luxury independent living community in Southwest Florida, the pet policy allows dogs up to 25 pounds with the stipulation that a resident is able to provide care. The community’s amenities include a dog park and about 20 residents have dogs, mostly Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos.

“With the growing number of seniors owning pets, senior communities recognize the changing needs of resident pet owners,” explains senior housing marketing consultant Janis Ehlers. “Whether it’s Yappy Hour, dog parks or mobile vets and grooming, when communities want to be competitive, they have to provide services.”

Dogs play a vital role in their owner’s life and Shirlye Jacobs of Estero, Fla. will not even consider a community that wouldn’t allow for her dog, Daisy, who she adopted two years ago.

“Wherever I move, my dog has to go too,” she said. “My life would be empty without Daisy. I exercise more and have made many friends at our local dog park.”

Sandwood Village

Recognizing that residents may want to adopt a dog was incorporated into Sandalwood Village’s “Welcome Waggin” event.

Theerancee Schmidt, field market manager for the 55+ community in Naples, said the community has invited Collier County Domestic Animal Services and Naples Humane Society to bring dogs for residents to adopt.

Senior living communities that acknowledge their residents and pets share a common bond are well on their way to staying ahead of the game.

Heritage Of Green Hills

Bob Rasbridge, a resident of The Heritage of Green Hills in Shillington, Pa., with his dog. Image source: Heritage of Green Hills
Bob Rasbridge, a resident of The Heritage of Green Hills in Shillington, Pa., with his dog. Image source: Heritage of Green Hills

Approximately 20 residents keep dogs at the Heritage of Green Hills in Shillington, Pennsylvania, a 55+ healthy living community. They not only don not charge extra for pets, but they have the following amenities:

  • The community has created dog watching and dog walking services for their fellow residents with dogs.
  • A mobile groomer visits the community by appointment for on-site grooming.
  • The community has partnered with a local animal rescue organization to offer dog adoptions to residents and to the surrounding community.

Watercrest at Bryan

The Watercrest at Bryan in College Station, Texas is a resort-style retirement community that rolls out the red carpet for your four-legged companion.

Aside from the dining area, dogs are allowed anywhere in the community. They even had a dog park that is set up for any size dog. The full pet park has a dog park with pet potty stops as well as walking trails, mini fire hydrants for small dogs and drinking fountains.

Watercrest at Bryan's dog park and trails. Image source: Watercrest at Bryan
Watercrest at Bryan’s dog park and trails. Image source: Watercrest at Bryan

“At Watercrest at Bryan, we love all pets big and small,” says Executive Director Mireya Scanlin. “Our residents have the ability to bring their lifestyles with them when they move here, and their pets are certainly part of this new chapter of their lives. We consider ourselves to be a very-pet friendly community and we offer amenities that cater to our furry friends because we consider them to be family, too.”

Spring Hills Senior Communities

Spring Hills has eight locations in four states: Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, and Virginia. Every community has a PAWS Program.

Spring Hill Pawfest. Image source: Spring HIlls Senior Communities
Spring Hill Pawfest. Image source: Spring HIlls Senior Communities

“We believe that pets are a part of your family and you shouldn’t have to leave them behind when you move into an Assisted Living Community. The pets are allowed with the residents throughout the building,” says Hope Horwitz, a representative for Spring Hills.

Spring Hill Pawfest. Image source: Spring HIlls Senior Communities
Spring Hill Pawfest. Image source: Spring HIlls Senior Communities

Each fall, each of the communities holds PawFest – a celebration of pets. They invite our residents’ pets, the residents’ families and their pets, as well as the community and their pets to come and take part. PawFest includes a pet parade and costume contest with prizes for the pets. Local pet shelters attent and hold adoption events, as well as local vendors. In the past, the local K9 police has even come out.

Greenspring

Greenspring, a continuing care retirement community in Springfield, Va., is dog-friendly and even has a “Bark Park” on campus where resident dogs exercise and socialize.

Canine friends enjoying the Bark Park at Greenspring. Image source: Greenspring
Canine friends enjoying the Bark Park at Greenspring. Image source: Greenspring

Additionally, each year a resident group coordinates a dog parade at the community; for many years it was a Halloween Pet Parade where resident dogs dressed up in costume. Last year, it was a Holiday Pet Parade held in early December, where resident dogs donned their favorite holiday attire.

Pekingese Mai Li is the dog of Greenspring residents Lucyann and Fred Billups. Mai Li is a descendent of the ‘royal dogs’ of China and her name means ‘pretty’ in Chinese. Image source: Greenspring
Pekingese Mai Li is the dog of Greenspring residents Lucyann and Fred Billups. Mai Li is a descendent of the ‘royal dogs’ of China and her name means ‘pretty’ in Chinese. Image source: Greenspring

There is also a pet therapy program on campus and a “Blessing of the Pets” ceremony each year in October. One can regularly see mobile pet spas pull onto campus to give the royal treatment to dogs all across campus.

One of Greenspring’s canine inhabitants enjoying the Holiday Pet Parade in 2014. Image source: Greenspring
One of Greenspring’s canine neighbors enjoying the Holiday Pet Parade in 2014. Image source: Greenspring

I don’t know about you, but if my state doesn’t have a retirement facility like one of these, I’m moving to one of these!

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