During successive Lockdowns, pet ownership rose by nearly 20%, now almost a third of UK households own a dog.

Richard Williams of Cognatum says, “Lockdown was an unexpected taste of retirement. What the wider population discovered is what the retired have known for years; that when the pressures of day to day work subside; and life takes on a more gentle pace, a dog is a wonderful companion. However, while retirement accommodation is designed for the elderly, it often isn’t thought to be suitable for dogs.

“At Cognatum we positively encourage dog ownership on our sixty retirement estates. The physical and mental benefits are overwhelming. Dog owners have to go for a walk or two every day, whatever the weather. Canine companions help owners settle into a regular routine, reduce stress, and provide a good point of contact for conversation and friendship – it’s very easy to strike up a conversation with neighbours and locals when you already know you have an interest in dogs in common.

“On average, our estates sit in over two acres of beautiful grounds; many have areas of woodland or pasture, or access to rivers, streams or lakes, so they are ideal for dog owners. Residents generally find that non-dog-owning neighbours are more than willing to help out with walks and feeding when required.

“When choosing a retirement estate as a dog owner, or potential dog owners, check at an early stage that dogs are welcome.

“Dog owners looking for a later life home should choose wisely. Suitable space is obviously vital – with immediately adjacent outside space early morning and late night for comfort breaks, and walks on the doorstep that don’t require a car.

“Totally open plan space can be tricky with resident dogs – a separate utility area, or downstairs room, where a dog can be kept quiet and comfortable when they’re wet or dirty, or when you’re entertaining, is a huge bonus.

“Get talking to your new neighbours. Lots of people who would like a dog don’t feel their lifestyle suits a permanent canine resident but would like to borrow one from time to time. It’s a good idea to identify friends who meet these criteria and to see if they’re willing to help with exercising and feeding if you’re ever unable to yourself.

“A great charity is The Cinnamon Trust, a national charity that works in partnership with elderly pet owners. The Trust has volunteers who will step in if residents are unable to care for their pet, either temporarily, or permanently. They provide a fostering service for pets whose owners face a spell in hospital, or long-term care for owners who are no longer able to keep their pet.

Cognatum’s retirement estate, Stuart Court in Minchinhampton near Stroud, is an extensive estate with landscaped grounds and its own area of woodland. The village itself is surrounded by hundreds of acres of common land, much of which is National Trust, allowing for gorgeous walks alongside quietly grazing horses and cattle. Prices from £435,000 – £695,000.

Cognatum’s retirement estate, Petersfinger Farm near Salisbury, is a development of four barn conversions set in 37 acres of Wiltshire wildlife including wildflower meadows, orchards and ancient oak trees. An enchanting walk through arches of trees and water meadows, pausing to identify an orchid or a butterfly, leads to the banks of the River Avon where a small summer house offers a spot to sit and rest and contemplate the view. It’s a canine paradise. Prices start at £725,000.

For press information, contact Amanda MacCaw:
07977 238175 / amanda@wildmaccaw.co.uk

Cognatum, an independent not for profit company, has 60 retirement estates across central and southern England. All are in prime locations within vibrant market towns or villages, within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Each estate benefits from thoughtful architecture, landscaped grounds, and a dedicated estate manager.

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