Let’s Make SaddleBrooke More Dog Friendly—for Everybody

Andrea Molberg

Dogs + exercise + nature are good for our mental and physical health. Dog ownership has even been associated with a 24% reduction in “all-cause mortality,” so let’s make SaddleBrooke more dog friendly.

Let us enjoy our fabulous sunsets while walking or riding with a canine buddy on the SaddleBrooke TWO golf cart paths, something especially wonderful for nongolfers like me who have never even seen all the beautiful fairways. Most residents don’t play, yet they do pay to fund the courses. Permitting dogs on the paths helps nongolfers who are having trouble swallowing the rise in dues caused by golf.

After hours, dogs are allowed in SaddleBrooke One, and residents and canines love it. Some SaddleBrookers whose pets have died still frequent the courses in the mornings and evenings to socialize, reduce stress, and reconnect with canine friends.

When serving on the SaddleBrooke TWO strategic planning committee, I routinely asked everyone I encountered, “How do you like SaddleBrooke?” Two new SaddleBrooke TWO residents separately hesitated while answering my casual question. One immediately expressed irritation and the other sizable disappointment about being unable to walk their dogs on SaddleBrooke TWO’s golf course paths. “You can’t even drive the paths after hours with dogs in your cart!”

Though neither new neighbor was a golfer (only about a third of SaddleBrooke residents are), they were attracted to the beauty the courses provide and knew their dues were needed to maintain the fairways. “But I never realized I couldn’t walk on SaddleBrooke TWO’s courses. I wish I’d done more research before moving here.”

At the time, SaddleBrooke TWO board member Bob Kolenda explained access was denied because not all pet owners would be conscientious in picking up after their pets, and many nasty chemicals are sprayed and could potentially harm the pets. None of these reasons, however, precluded pets from at least being allowed to ride in carts.

A dog-friendly neighborhood is a marketer’s dream. Three out of five Americans and 66% of current U.S. households own dogs. A decade ago, about a third of adults in the 70-and-older age group owned pets. In 2016, when the leading edge of the Boomer generation began to turn 70, this percentage jumped to around 40%. Pet ownership is expected to rise.

Welcome dogs to SaddleBrooke and make SaddleBrooke happy to have them around by picking up dog waste. No one wants poop on paths or bags left on curbs. Pitch in. Can’t we prove that we are mature enough adults and good enough citizens to walk and ride on the paths that we own?