Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Reality of Dogs and Frugal Retirement-Or My Kids Left The Nest But I Still Have These These Dogs!

One year later, I like to think that I have positioned myself pretty well in retirement.  While I did not make the huge step of moving to a yard-less condo, I did position myself in such a way that I have minimal maintenance, lower payments, and the ability to be mobile when and where I want-an important part of my life.

After all, while my travel is limited to a month to three per year, I am still a person who wants to go when I go, homebody or not. My moving to 1300 square feet, renting from someone I know well (eliminating the pesky maintenance but allowing me to paint in turquoise and yellow) and overall lowering my expenses have allowed me to be more mobile AND allowed me financial flexibility.

There is, however, one area where my "free as a bird lifestyle" is, well, not so free. You see, I have two canines. These four legged family members have to be fed on a regular basis, let out, and played with.  While I may not have to get a sitter or plan dinner for the kids, I still have to go home and feed the dog!  I know that people all over the world manage to go to work with dogs crated for ten hours per day, after about six hours my pups rebel.

In other words, the "go for breakfast then go shopping, meet for lunch, go to knitting and then hit happy hour" lifestyle is not for me.  I try to be out of the house either the morning OR the afternoon. They need to be fed around five. Since I cannot even on my best day keep up with the dog or walk as long as he can, I need to have a dog walker.  When I travel, it's board or bring.  It goes on.

Having said all that, I would not live without either of them.  My previous dogs, which some readers may remember, lived to be 18 and 19 respectively.  They slept with my husband and I (and then myself) all that time.  They went to Germany with us, with all that entailed.  I was worried more about the dogs than myself-and I went to Germany hating to fly and deathly ill, ready to have surgery as soon as I arrived.

When I lost my second dog, I thought I would wait some time before inviting dogs into my life again.  I was wrong. My six month or a year hiatus turned into welcoming a new family member a couple months later-and I have no regrets.  Will I have dogs when these puppies leave me?  Probably not.  Might these dogs go to live with my son someday when he moves out?  Possibly, as they have grown greatly attached.

Meanwhile though, my canines are part and parcel of my retirement.  When I have to leave happy hour to come and feed them.  When I pay the friendly dog walker.  When we're driving cross country and one of them wakes up from the back seats and licks my neck. And when I'm trying to sleep late on Saturday and a wet tongue wakes me up-like it or not.  

What would I do without them, after all!

11 comments:

  1. We have THREE dogs so I feel your pain...no, not pain, but you know what I mean. It's like having toddlers for eternity but I wouldn't change it for the world. We are off for a few days and we have to mentally add $40 to our hotel room because that is what we pay their caregiver. But it sure is nice to come home to that furry little pack.

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    1. Truly, I would not know what to do without them, I expect.

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  2. No dogs here Barb, but we do have one spoiled cat. We can go away for the day with no problem, but if we leave longer....someone has to cat sit for us. Then when we do get home it's the cold shoulder for a couple of days. Ah, well, we love our furry friends.

    God bless.

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    1. Yes we do. Cats seem to be m ore independent and can do without longer.....

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  3. We have 2 cats and love them dearly. They don't mind if we are gone all day or even all weekend. Our daughter lives nearby and acts as the "cat concierge" when we are gone for more than a weekend. Enjoying my cats is part of my happy retirement.

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    1. Yes, cats do seem to deal better with being left. I could no more leave them alone all day than leave a baby or toddler

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  4. I envy your minimal maintenance, lower payments, and ability to be mobile when and where you want. For us the dog (we only have one) is not much of a problem b/c we have one son who sometimes dog sits for free; one neighbor who dog sits in return for taking care of her two cats when she's away; and another neighbor with a son who wants a dog but can't get one and so he'll dog sit at a very reasonable price. The only problem is: when we're away, we miss our dog!

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  5. Tom, I also miss my dog. My previous dogs were boarded many times when we were in Germany. But they were literally brothers (slept on top of each other on the same blanket) and loved it. these two have not had that every few weekends experience, but I do have family to watch them. right now, fortunately, boarding would not be in my equation-but the walking is still an issue!!

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  6. We have cats, so I hear you. We also have a lovely lady who takes care of them while we are away. Cats are easier to leave than a dog, though.

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  7. This is such a timely post. We have been debating whether or not to get a dog. While we like dogs and have had them in the past, we don't know if having one will curtail our "retired" lifestyle. The debate goes on...

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    1. I would never be without my dogs, and the truth is that after these I will probably have others.

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