When 70-year-old Malcolm Burch moved to a new apartment at Churchill’s Austen Lodge in Basingstoke, he was grateful for the pet-friendly policy which meant Darcy his 7-year-old dachshund could come too. After all, what better home is there for a dog named after Mr Darcy than a development named after Jane Austen!
“There’s no way I’d have moved here if they didn’t allow me to bring Darcy with me,” says Malcolm. “We’ve both settled in well in our new apartment on the second floor. We share the one bedroom but there’s plenty of space for both of us. Darcy wasn’t sure about going in the lift at first, as he’s never been in one, but now he associates it with going out for a walk so he’s very quickly embraced it.”
Darcy is the first pet to move in at Austen Lodge so far, and he’s proving to be a popular member of the new community there. “He gets a bit of fuss from most people we bump into,” says Malcolm. “Everyone here is very friendly and we’re all enjoying getting to know each other. Most people here are from the Basingstoke area, although a few like me and Darcy have moved from further away and didn’t know anyone here, so it’s nice to be making new friends so quickly.”
Recently widowed, Malcolm decided to downsize from his four bedroom house in Maidenhead and relocate to be closer to his daughter and young grandchildren who live nearby. “I enjoy seeing more of them, and they enjoy spending more time with me and Darcy,” he says. “It also means I can help my daughter out by looking after the children whenever she needs me to, and they can return the favour by looking after the dog when I’m on holiday or a weekend away – which they love doing!”