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Pet tails wag for more than just owners

At Highland Springs and Eagle’s Trace, there’s more than enough pet love to go around

Created date

December 21st, 2010

Linger near the pathways around Highland Springs in north Dallas, and you ll likely catch a glimpse of Pete and Marie Higa walking a dog. Interestingly enough, they don t have a dog of their own anymore. Their miniature dachshunds, a brother and sister pair named Chaucer and Sadie, passed away two years ago. Since then, the couple has emerged as the community s resident pet-sitters. We ve always loved animals, says Mrs. Higa. When Chaucer and Sadie died, some of the other residents felt so sorry for us that they offered to let us walk their dogs. Now Pete and I have regulars we walk each week. The surrogate pet owners aren t limited to canine friends either. They routinely watch cats and fish too. On any given weekend you can find a menagerie of pets playing happily inside their apartment home. We ll take them for a day, two days, a week, or a month, says Mrs. Higa. When residents have an appointment or go on vacation, we re happy to watch their pets. Such an offer is invaluable at a time when professional pet-sitters charge upwards of $20 per day to care for an animal. Factor in the additional love and attention lavished on the pets, and the deal becomes too sweet to pass up. We spoil them and then give them back to their owners, says Mrs. Higa, who was a registered nurse for 42 years before she retired. It s easy to get attached to the animals. They become like family. Having neighbors who love animals is just one of the many perks of living in a community that embraces pets, while at the same time respects non-pet owners by setting up designated areas outside for dog walking. Pet owners are also responsible for cleaning up after their furry friends. Last year, August and Mary Look moved to Eagle s Trace, an Erickson Living community in west Houston, with their dachshund, Liesel. As the family settled into their first floor apartment, Liesel quickly discovered her sweet spot on the patio. Our patio is close to a sidewalk where residents like to walk their dogs, says Mrs. Look. People stop to visit and the pets play. Liesel has even found a best friend. Boudreaux, also a dachshund, makes his home on the fourth floor with his owner, Sandra Dennis. When Dennis and Boudreaux come downstairs for their morning walk, the dog makes a beeline to the sliding door on the Looks patio, hoping for a chance to play with Liesel. We have never seen two dogs so attached to each other, says Look. They are buddy-buddy. They just can t wait to get together and talk. Everyone who sees it just howls.