They say home is where the heart is, but in the case of two Chatham senior citizens, home is also where their pet is.
For Joanna Allen and Doreen Suter, who live at Maple City Retirement Residence, that’s not a problem.
Joanna’s eight-year-old cat Heidi and Suter’s seven-year-old dog Taffy are both welcome at the residence, according to general manager Andrea Sullivan.
“It’s a quality of life issue for us,” said Sullivan. “Our parent company Diversicare has that as their policy.”
Both Allen and Suter said having their pets live with them is an important part of their life.
“I had cats all my life,” said the 89-year-old Allen. “I came from Holland 70 years ago and I’ve always had a cat.”
She said Heidi sits on a window ledge and looks outside.
“There aren’t a lot of birds right now but she enjoys it in the warmer months,” she said.
Suter said she wasn’t ready to move somewhere without Taffy, a sentiment Sullivan said is common.
“Moving from the home you’ve had for years is a big adjustment,” she said. “People who are used to having a house, a yard and a garden face more stress if they can’t take a pet with them.”
She said the residence only allows smaller animals as pets due to space constraints but encourages anyone interested in having a pet with them to contact her.
“It’s not really fair to have a large animal in a smaller space but we do the best we can to accommodate everyone,” she said.
“If I couldn’t have Taffy I don’t know what I’d do,” Suter said. “Having a pet is just part of my life.”