The joy of running free! Rudy, a cocker spaniel, one of many four-legged Willow Valley Communities residents.

Willow Valley Communities residents love their pets. Though there have been many studies showing how owning a pet can be beneficial to physical and emotional health, if you are a pet owner, you probably don’t need the research to tell you this. Have you ever noticed how you simply feel better when you’re close with your pet? Spending time with a dog, cat, or other favorite animal can have a positive impact on your mood as well as on your physical health. Pets can be calming stress-fighters. Pets are part of your family, and they’re part of your life.

Pets continue to be part of life at Willow Valley Communities as our pet population grows. Residents have dogs, cats, birds, and other pets; they’re all loved and welcomed at Willow Valley Communities.

Henry and Carol Mauermeyer moved to Willow Valley in 2015 with their already senior cats. Initially, they moved from a large Victorian home in New Jersey to an apartment in Manor and then relocated to a larger apartment in North. They were pleased that the new space had a large tree outside the balcony where their cats enjoy hours of bird-watching. Throughout the entire moving process, Carol says she spent as much time considering her cats’ happiness as that of her and her husband.

Pets enjoying one of our Willow Valley Communities Dog Parks.

When Al and Claire Lunde moved to Willow Valley 12 years ago, they had decided to not have any pets. In the past, they had bred and showed cats and knew the work and care the animals require. Besides, Claire had not yet retired from her career as a nurse anesthetist, and Al was still working as a professor and chair of the music department at Cairn University. They knew that they would be too busy to give proper care to a cat or dog.

Still, the Lundes missed having a pet. “Just to have some other companion, to keep us company,” Al explains. The Lundes considered what their schedules would be able to accommodate and what their level of commitment was for a pet. Soon Tequila, a parakeet, came to live with them at Willow Valley Communities. Al remembered how Tequila would sit on his shoulder and how he could say “pretty bird,” “I love you,” and for some odd reason, “Newt Gingrich,” something he probably picked up from television. Tequila passed away a few years ago and the Lundes now have another parakeet named Topsy. Al says having a pet is all about companionship and having a parakeet also fits well into the Lundes’ travel schedule “You can leave a bird alone with food for a few days; if we are gone longer, there are a number of kind people here who will take care of him. We all trade off caring for each other’s pets.”

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