Other than a new baby, nothing will make you as happy and drive you as crazy as a new puppy (I know I said I was going to get back to aging issues. Bear with me, I'll tie this in one way or another). At my house all we talk about is the last time the puppy peed or pooped. While they take a ton of time and energy, there's nothing like coming home to that wagging tail and taking time out of your day to play. It's the best stress relief in the world!
Sunrise Senior Living is one senior housing community that understands the importance of pets. The one located in Golden Valley has a "house dog" named Baxter. He's a big yellow lab that roams the halls of the assisted living community and offers a warm wet nose and a tail wag to anyone who wants to say hello. This is a dog that's shared among many seniors and, in my opinion, one lucky hound.
As senior housing becomes less institutionalized and more like home, and boomers come up with new creative forms of housing, why not incorporate new forms of pet-ownership? There's a new company that hasn't made it's way to Minnesota yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. FlexPetz is an organization that offers an alternative to full-time dog ownership. They offer an opportunity for people to take a pooch on "loan" for a few hours or few days at a time. The best part is these are rescued dogs that have been vet-checked and fully trained. This seems like a great opportunity for empty-nesters, periodic visits to a friend recovering from an illness, or even therapy visits to nursing homes. If I weren't already elbow-deep in my own business, this is one I would look into!