We moved to Bristol Village with our two pets – Reda, our little 10 lb. doggie and Leon, our 20-lb. cat. Leon, a indoor cat, enjoys watching birds and other happenings out of the front window. Reda, on the other hand, goes on daily walks with both myself and my husband, John. She is accustomed to “Pat walks” which means a daily circle through Tranquility park, and “John walks”, often more than eight miles of exploring a much wider area. We adopted Reda from a no-kill shelter when she was 18 months old. She was rescued when less than a year old with five puppies in tow. By the time we met Reda, the puppies had been weaned and adopted and it was time for Reda to return to her puppyhood. She was a scrawny, homely little thing, with sparse rough fur and an endearing face. And she loves to kiss and cuddle. She got her name because she was mistaken for a Portuguese Podengo so we named her “Margarida” or Reda for short. Over time her sparse fur has grown into a healthy, thick covering but now people exclaim how “cute” she is.

Reda loves living at Bristol Village. She especially likes curling up in a chair in our sun room, or watching out the front window waiting for the mailman or another dog to walk by. To our delight Bristol Village is home to many, many dogs which take walks with their owners. There are Sunny, Rudy, Charlie, Sadie, Buster, Bella, Precious, Brutus, Lucky, Brigette Joy, Chloe, and Stevie, just to name a few. There are little dogs, middle sized dogs, and dogs almost larger than their owners. Bristol Village is an ideal home for four-legged pets. All must be walked on a leash which helps everyone get exercise and fresh air. The sidewalks are even, there was paved walking trails through the village, and these is a fenced dog park where pets can run free. The community center even allows dogs on leash to accompany their owners into the building.

Having lived the beginning of her life as a stray, Reda learned how to defend herself with a fearless bark against larger dogs. So, when we arrived at Bristol Village, we were determined to socialize her. Over time Reda has made friends. She leaps for joy when she sees Rudy and Stevie, both about her size. Her favorite friend is Miss Kitty, who is walked on a leash by her owner. When they see each other they both bound towards the other, with the ritual sniffing of noses and nether parts to say hello. Sometimes Miss Kitty likes to play with Reda’s leash. Another favorite friend is Bella, who is walked by her owner in her own “doggie carriage.” There are two dogs in the area that Reda dearly wants to make friends with, but we need to wait until social distancing allows that. One is Buster, a big fluffy puppy who lives across the street. The other Reda sees in the window of a house nearby when she is on a “John walk.” Reda also enjoys greeting some favorite people – DeeAnn, David, Sharlene, Roseanne and others. Some of her greatest joys are the arrival of the mailman, the FedEx man and the USP man, all of which set off furious barking at the door. Also of interest is any truck that comes through the village or that she passes on a walk. But the most exciting events of the day are wildlife occurrences – squirrels scampering up trees, rabbits, geese, and an occasional deer. When she comes home from a “John walk” she races into the house, jumps in my lap, and wags her tail furiously while John fills me in on the latest sighting.

Pets, especially cats and dogs, enrich our lives with joy and companionship. For seniors, they become a special family member and integral part of our daily lives. They provide the exercise of a daily walk and impromptu socializing with neighbors. Their inclusion and acceptance at Bristol Village make it a wonderful and special place to live.

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