Resident Hertha Hollander and her furry friend, BrandyResident Hertha Hollander and her furry friend, Brandy
Resident Hertha Hollander and her furry friend, Brandy

Visits to retirement communities across the country have been restricted due to the pandemic, but residents at University Village Thousand Oaks have been able to take advantage of the companionship of another kind.

University Village knows the benefits of owning a pet and is a pet-friendly community. For the last several months, that amenity has taken on added importance.

Currently, 65 residents are proud pet parents at University Village. Hertha Hollander is one of them. Hertha brought her rescued 6-year-old terrier, Brandy, with her when she and her husband moved into the community almost six years ago. She says this was a big reason why they chose to call University Village their forever home. Every day, she and nine other residents meet at the community dog park for one hour to socialize — of course, while practicing appropriate social distancing and wearing masks.

“Owning a pet and going to the dog park are my main claims to sanity these days,” said Hertha. “Pets bring so much joy and comfort, and I’m so thankful for Brandy.”

Hertha runs the pet registry at the community and interviews the pets of new residents. “The interviews are to ensure the pet will get along with others and are a good fit for the community,” said Hertha. “It’s a fun process and I always look forward to meeting the newest furry friends of the community. I’ve always vouched for the benefits of owning a pet and I love seeing residents thrive from the companionship and comfort of a pet.”

According to research, owning a pet reduces stress, provides a feeling of safety, improves socialization, and decreases feelings of depression and loneliness. These benefits are especially important during the current pandemic, combating the social isolation and loneliness that have unfortunately followed.

Read more about the group’s effort in the Agoura Hills Patch.