Why we Love Dogs – and the People who Own Them

By Leslie Moore

Drive down most any street, in most any neighborhood, and unless it’s extremely hot or cold, or raining buckets, you’re likely to see at least one person walking their dog. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than half of us own at least one dog (the number goes way up if you add in cats), and asking about the furbaby on the end of the leash is a sure way to strike up a conversation and get to know someone new.

On one such street in Murrells Inlet, neighbors have become friends through a shared love of dogs. Nearly every day, this group of dog lovers gathers to walk their pups and chat. I asked the group why their dogs were so important to making their lives complete.

Kileen and Steve Ludemann live with two Golden Retrievers, Gracie and Journey, and Kileen has volunteered with All4Paws, a local animal rescue organization, as a foster and dog walker. “Our dogs are loving, giving, always happy to see us, always want to be with us and give us kisses.” Kileen believes dogs benefit us in immeasurable ways. “How can we not love them? I feel so lucky to have loved so many dogs in my lifetime and hope to love many more.”

When looking for a home, both Kileen and Steve wanted a place their dogs would be happy. “I felt our circle would be a great place to walk the dogs and it sure is! I know almost all the neighbors, and most of us have dogs. For a short period in my life I didn’t have a dog and felt very isolated without my walking companion. I have a shirt that says, ‘Life is a Journey Best Traveled with Dogs.’ This is so true!”

Another lover of Goldens, Cindy Hines and her husband Greg, share their life with 11 month old Duncan. “Duncan is always happy to see us, always wants to play, never meets a stranger and loves everyone,” Cindy told me when I asked about her love for dogs.

“Our neighborhood families all feel exactly the same,” Cindy began. “Each person loves their animals as much as we love ours. When we see any of our neighbors walking their dog, we greet them and take time to have a friendly conversation.” Cindy loves her dog friendly neighborhood and the friendships that have grown because of a shared love of their four-legged companions. “Our dogs truly create a common bond between us, and it makes our community a special place.”

“Our dogs are our family,” Claudia Simpson said empathically. “They make our house a home and love unconditionally.” Claudia and her husband, Bill, have two English Bulldogs, Peaches and Frankie, as well as a German Shephard, Otis. Claudia is an active volunteer with Bullies 2 the Rescue, an animal rescue organization out of Indian Trail, North Carolina. “They handle the southeast, and we adopted Frankie there,” Cindy said. Peaches came from Long Island Bulldog Rescue in New York, and Claudia is also active with this rescue organization.

“When looking for a neighborhood, dog friendly was at the top of our list,” Cindy began, as she talked about her home. “We wanted to live near people who felt the same as we did about dogs. Every time we looked at this community, a different resident was walking their dog. So it was a no brainer for us, and we knew this was our new home.” Because of their dogs, Cindy and Bill easily made lasting friends with their neighbors. “We walk our dogs often and met all of our neighbors quickly. And every time a new dog family moved in, our dogs acted as the welcoming committee.”

One dog is rarely enough in this neighborhood – just ask Michael and Catherine Spann, and their son, Justin, who own three dogs. Levi and Roxy are Catahoulas and Millie is a Chocolate Lab. “It makes our house very loud and chaotic, but they are our babies. Our family wouldn’t be complete without them, nor could we imagine our lives without them,” said Catherine. The family is proud to support local rescues to help other companion animals find loving homes like theirs. “We donate to All4Paws, and when we lived in Florida, we supported Nassau County Rescue.”

Catherine went on to tell me how much she loves her dog-friendly home. “Our neighborhood is special because at any given time, someone is walking their dog. It creates conversations and friendships, between the dogs and us humans.”

Most of us are way too busy and sometimes overwhelmed by life. Chandler Roy knows his dogs help mitigate the stress of day-to-day life. “When days are tough, coming home to a wagging tail and excited ‘puppy’ face can be priceless. Whether ill, tired or sick your dog will always put a smile on your face.”

Chandler and his wife, Greer, also agree that their bond with their neighbors began with enjoying the antics of everyone’s dogs. As we finished our chat, Chandler told me, “Common interests in a community always bring the ‘home-like’ feeling you remember from your childhood. Having a community of dog owners is something we always wanted, to bring that warm lifestyle to our home.”


About this writer

  • Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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