Many homebuyers today consider their beloved dogs when purchasing a home. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Mortgage reported that 33 percent of Millennial homebuyers said space for their dog influenced their decision to buy their first home.

Local builder Rob Rice understands that homeowners’ love of dogs can often bring people together in a neighborhood. It is the reason he set aside some of the six acres of open space in his lovely community of Villages at South Hill in Puyallup for a unique off-leash dog park.

Bellamae Dog
The Rices’ beloved rescue Bella Mae was a ringbearer in the Rice wedding and is pictured here with son Alex as a baby. Photo courtesy: Rob Rice Homes

“Rob put the dog park in at Villages for the social aspect it brings to a neighborhood,” said Helena Rice, Rob’s wife. “Rob has a great desire to create a sense of community and encourage neighbor interaction, and the dog park does just that.”

Setting aside a neighborhood gathering place is just one of the Best of South Sound builder’s inspirations for this rare dog park. He and his family are avid dog lovers, too.

For the Love of Dogs

Rob and Helena and their sons, Alex and Carson, have another family member, their much-loved dog Rainier, named after the road where they rescued him more than 10 years ago.

“I picked him up running down the middle of Rainier Road in East Olympia,” Helena explained. “It was the best decision ever. I saw something special in him and knew I could rehab him. He is a great dog for our two boys. He comes and alerts me if our boys are fighting or someone is crying. I call him my ‘nanny’ dog.”

Rainier is an “only dog,” but Helena explained that their family at one time had three dogs and that they plan on having more someday.

“Rob has a rule for me though,” said Helena smiling. “Any rescue has to be over 35 pounds…before I accessorize.”

Helena had three rescue dogs when she and Rob first met. Bella Mae, one of those rescues, was a ringbearer in the Rice wedding.

Rob Rice Bellamae Ct
A street at the Rob Rice Community of Black Lake Palisades is named after Bella Mae. Photo credit: Rob Rice Homes

“Rob was living in a pet-free home at the time,” said Helena. “But, within a few months, Rob was traveling around with Bella Mae, even taking her to the office for the day.”

And though Bella Mae has passed away, there is a street named after her in the Rob Rice Community of Black Lake Palisades in Tumwater, WA.

Rob has picked up stray dogs in the communities where he builds or out on a highway to make sure they get back home or to a shelter to be helped.

“A few years ago, Rob stopped on I-5 on the North Fork Lewis River Bridge where he saw a confused dog running in the freeway,” Helena described. “He crawled underneath a truck to get him, brought him home, took him to the vet and found Lewis – named after that bridge – a great home with one of our staff.”

Every year, Rob and Helena sponsor a fundraising auction for Concern for Animals, the local non-profit that assists low income families with care for their pets and rescue animals. A few years ago, Rob even donated the work for a full remodel for the group’s office.

Rob and Helena Rice are passionate about the benefits of adopting rescue dogs because they understand personally what great pets they make.

“We rescue because there are so many dogs in need,” said Helena. “These days, there are even many full-bred dogs on Petfinder waiting for a good home.”

Rob Rice Homes
The luxurious and elegant Poplar is now move-in ready at Villages. Photo courtesy: Rob Rice Homes

Beautiful Home Choices

Buyers (and their dogs!) love Villages at South Hill in Puyallup beyond the community’s amazing open space and off-leash dog park.

The homes have attracted many families, retirees and military households with its choices of well-thought-out floorplans, from spacious two-story models to an array of luxury rambler and master down plans.

The elegant five-bedroom Poplar (2692 sq. ft.) is ready right now at 4025 23rd Street SE with luxurious features like a master bedroom with a view of Mount Rainier and an over-sized fully tiled master shower. The Aspen (2492 sq. ft.), offers a main-floor master suite and plenty of storage. It is also ready and available at 2351 40th Avenue SE.

Whether you are looking for a new home for you or your dog, please don’t miss out on the six homes currently under construction. Buying early in the construction process on some of these homes will allow you to choose your interior surface selections for flooring, countertops, tile and more.

Rob Rice Homes are known for their premium features like quartz or granite counters, hardwood flooring and unique designer touches in backsplash tile, beautiful lighting fixtures and rich wood and soft-close cabinetry, all of which are included in the price of the home.

Rob Rice VSH dog park
The off-leash dog park at Villages is a huge attraction for today’s home buyers and their dogs. Photo courtesy: Rob Rice Homes

Ideally located near parks and trails, shopping and health centers, the community has quick access to Highway 512 and Interstate 5 and is minutes from the Sounder train. The location is so convenient that Seattle buyers have made Villages at South Hill their home.

And, for the many buyers who make their pets a priority like Rob and Helena, the off-leash dog park is a rare opportunity in a community of superior-built homes at Villages at South Hill in Puyallup.

Rob Rice is one of the area’s largest local builders who has been voted the Best of South Sound for the last four years. His entry in Olympia Master Builders Tour of Homes won “Best of Show.” He has built nearly 3,000 homes in 43 different new home communities over more than 30 years.

Rob and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons, Alex and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.


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