Holiday parties, outings to St. Armands restaurants, health and wellness seminars—these are standard fare in many Southwest Florida communities. But at Taylor Morrison’s four Esplanade developments in Sarasota and Manatee counties, these events are organized for the four-legged residents.
That’s right, Taylor Morrison has launched a concierge program for the dogs that live in Esplanade at Artisan Lakes in Palmetto, Esplanade by Siesta Key, Esplanade Golf and Country Club at Lakewood Ranch and Cobblestone on Palmer Ranch, as well as its Esplanade communities nationwide.
“We like to primp and pamper our pets, sometimes more than our children,” says Kathleen Gagg, vice president of Pope Properties, the company that manages Esplanade communities from Naples to Orlando. To that end, local Esplanades host monthly visits at their amenity centers by a local husband-and-wife company, Wash ‘n Waggin’, that provides eco-friendly dog washes, with a solar-powered water system for giving warm baths and organic shampoos and conditioners.
Residents schedule their dog washes through the Esplanades’ full-time lifestyle managers. (“They’re like Julie of The Love Boat, but on land,” says Gagg.) The lifestyle managers also plan pet-centered health and wellness seminars and bring in dog trainers to deal with behavioral issues, and are even planning to bring mobile veterinary units to deliver vaccinations.
Play dates are scheduled at each Esplanade “bark park,” and around the resorts’ pools. On National Dog Day in late August, an ice cream cake (made of dog-friendly ice cream, of course) was served. Outings to dog beaches like Brohard Beach in Venice are organized, as are lunches at dog-friendly restaurants on St. Armands. The annual Howl-a-Ween costume party is a big event. “The doggie play dates are huge. It’s a time for the dogs to get together and for residents to meet each other,” says Gagg.
Human residents can purchase Esplanade-themed merchandise like customized dog bowls, leashes, collars, dog tags and bandanas.
“As people started moving into the Esplanades, it was very evident that they love their dogs,” says Gagg. “It’s been a great program; it brings not only the dogs together but the residents are making friends by having something in common. To them, their dogs are like their kids.”