The gentle hills of our community are a dog walker’s dream. My dachshund Bree meets many of his four-legged friends on our daily walks. Bella, Caramel, Maggie and Cooper are a few favorites. But his best buddy is Seymour, another playful doxie in the neighborhood.

Owning a pet provides significant health benefits, especially for seniors. Feeling lonely? Pets are great companions. They are little jesters and provide company in the most fun ways. During these days of isolation, it’s easy to laugh when that waggy tail anticipates a treat or a walk outside. Friend Margaret Gutierrez is owned by the magnificent Feisty, her twelve year old Siamese cat. Feisty is full of adventure, always ready to jump in his carrier for his next outdoor escapade!

A cart ride or walk improves my mood and Bree provides a sure way to get me out the door. Conversations with other pet owners in our friendly Harbor Hills neighborhood at safely social distances is a way for both friends and pets to socialize.

Whether stroking your cat, cuddling your dog or watching your fish swimming gracefully, caring for another living thing lowers anxiety and chronic pain levels. Pet owners may be less likely to suffer from high blood pressure or depression. Neighbor Laurie Carpenter is owned by Scarlett, her certified therapy dog who lifts spirits at assisted living facilities and is the Lady Lake library’s official Reading Dog.

Claudia Labbe is the hardworking Fundraising and PR Chairperson for the Humane Society SPCA. She reminds us that adoptable cats and kittens are currently showcased at Petsense by Lake Sumter Landing and the Petsmart located north of Fresh Market. Gainesville has a rabbit rescue and GREAT is the Greyhound Rescue and Adoptions of Tampa Bay. Visit hsspca.org for more information.

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