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Devonshire Dog Owners Enjoy Loving Companionship—and Health Benefits

June 18, 2021

According to “Get Healthy, Get a Dog,” a special health report from Harvard Medical School, dog owners enjoy a wide range of health benefits, including less stress, lower blood pressure, improved physical fitness, and increased social connectivity.

Dog owners at Devonshire at PGA National, an Erickson Senior Living community at PGA National, experience these benefits every day. In addition, they enjoy constant companionship within a community supportive of their canine friends.

“Devonshire community members are welcome to share their lives with dogs, cats, and most birds,” says Community Resource Manager Marty Bores. “As a courtesy to our non-pet owners, of course, we ask that pets remain with their owners either inside their homes or leashed in our outdoor spaces. Our residents' beloved pets are integral, loved members of our community.”

Constant companionship

For more than 60 years, Devonshire community member Diane Wendy has enjoyed the company of a beloved poodle.

“They were always with me," she says. “Even when I was working in antiques promotion, my poodle would accompany me to antique shows in New York City. I’m often asked why I love poodles so much. First and foremost, I find them to be very smart and very endearing. In addition, they do not shed and are quick learners. I’ve experienced, firsthand that, with patience, you can teach a poodle anything.”

As a result, Diane knew that in choosing a retirement community, it was absolutely essential to find a community that not only accepted, but welcomed and appreciated dog owners. Since moving to Devonshire in 2015, she has not been disappointed.

“I noticed quickly that many of my neighbors own dogs,” she says. “That was a relief as well as a jumping off point when it came to meeting new people. When two dog owners meet they immediately enjoy something in common.”

When Diane’s beloved poodle Ben died unexpectedly, the care and concern from neighbors was immediate and heartfelt. “I received over 50 cards and phone calls, all of which meant so much,” she says. “Even [Devonshire Executive Director] Jim Wingardner reached out to me.”

Adopting Daisy

It was with the support of this loving environment that Diane decided to adopt another poodle. “There is no replacing Ben; he was special,” she says. “But I knew that I wanted a poodle by my side. I contacted Ben’s breeder and adopted Daisy almost a year ago." She continues, "She’s wonderful. I walk her around the Devonshire community twice a day. Like Ben, Daisy has made many friends. She loves other dogs and people.”

A member of the family

Like Diane, Peggy Flah’s decision to move to Devonshire included the need to find a welcoming environment for her beloved Havapoo, GG.

“GG has been a part of my family for the last nine years,” she says. “My husband and I adopted her when she was just eight weeks old.”

Planning her move to Devonshire from their previous home in Eastpointe Country Club, the couple only considered homes that welcomed GG. When Peggy’s husband died prior to their move, the need to keep GG close was even greater.

“She is my best friend,” says Peggy. “GG is great company and her friendly nature makes it easier for me to meet new people. My neighbors now know her by name—many of whom I’ve met on our frequent walks around the campus. Everyone is very accepting and welcoming.”

Both Diane and Peggy enjoy sharing their lives with their dogs, appreciating both the time together and the welcome barks they receive when they return home at the end of a busy day.

“Daisy and I spend a lot of time together,” says Diane. “Especially last year when I trained her as a young puppy. Now, when I return home, either from dinner or from an activity, she greets me right away. She’s such a joy.”

Peggy enjoys the “welcome home” barks she receives from GG as well. Together, the two enjoy curling up on Peggy’s porch, reading the paper. “Our porch is one of our favorite places,” says Peggy. “GG just curls up right under my feet. She makes me very happy; we both have a wonderful life and home here at Devonshire.”

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