Retirement Fit For A King

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elder retired woman with dog“He always wants to go down to the first floor where all the ladies are sitting,” says Julia Diehl. The grandstander she describes is not her husband or her particularly flirtatious grandson. He is her miniature French poodle, Sammy.

In early 2005, Mrs. Diehl decided to move to Mifflin Court Assisted Living in Shillington, PA. Her move was motivated by the desire to be closer to her lifelong friend, who lives in nearby Reading. “I had moved back to Allentown, where I grew up, after my husband died, but as family and friends passed away, I found myself alone,” Mrs. Diehl recalls. When her friend suggested that she move closer, she did not hesitate.

Mrs. Diehl knew she would adjust quickly to a new community. An outgoing personality was essential in her line of work. She was a salesperson for her entire career. At age 16, Mrs. Diehl started as a sales clerk in a local department store. Later, she opened a specialty store with her then-new husband and became an adept lingerie buyer.

When their store closed, she took her skills as a buyer to another department store, where she worked until her retirement. Working in the fashion industry offered unique opportunities. “It was fascinating work. For most of my career, I went to New York once a week-right down to the fabric markets, and I was always there for a couple of days for the opening of the season,” recalls Mrs. Diehl.

After retiring, Mrs. Diehl was able to devote more of her time to her pets. She notes, “I’ve always had dogs, but since retiring, I have had more time to spend with them.” Finding a retirement community that would appreciate her current, four-legged companion was essential.

When she discovered that Mifflin Court welcomes dogs, she knew she was ready for a move. “The community allows dogs now, but Sammy is the first one here,” she says. Being first is just fine with Sammy, who “gets loads of attention.”

Mrs. Diehl has no shortage of new friends either. “Everyone here is so nice and congenial. I have made lots of new friends,” she says. She and her new friends keep busy with a wide range of activities, including weekly entertainment in the community and local bus trips to a wide variety of destinations.

“He practically drags me down to sitting room, so he can be with everyone,” Mrs. Diehl, talking about her beloved pet. She has no problem obliging the dog’s demanding nature. After all, “Sammy is a king here,” she notes matter-of-factly.

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