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Blog the Change: The Importance of Pet Friendly Housing

Blog the Change: The Importance of Pet Friendly Housing

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Blog the ChangeThis post is a part of the Blog the Change blog hop, hosted by Be the Change for Animals. Once per quarter bloggers from all over band together to share ideas for how to improve the welfare, quality of life and all around awesomeness for animals.

I’ve been hinting that Casa de Kolchak has been a little all over the place lately.

The truth is, that Casa de Kolchak is relocating and we’re all feeling a little anxious about it. Dogs don’t always understand change. Kolchak has lived in one house his entire life. He’s never known anything weird like elevators and I’m more than a little terrified that he’ll take to the whole transition like the Simple Dog from Hyperbole and a Half. Who knows what will happen. Kol could be a mess or he could be just fine. I’ll worry about that later. Our real problem right now is finding an apartment.

There is a serious shortage of pet friendly housing where we live.

I’ve been haunting the “for rent” ads, hunting for the perfect apartment like a lion stalking a zebra. Despite being ready to pounce, so far, in the past two weeks only one suitable apartment has come up. Twenty-three people had applied for it within 4 hours of it being listed. I think we all know how well that ended. I did not get the place. How do I compete against 22 other people? The scary part? Those 22 are probably still looking for a pet friendly place too. It’s kind of like playing musical chairs, only everyone sat down in 1987.

Every few hours, I check the Craigslist and MLS postings for new listings and while there are a ton of new places listed everyday, almost none are pet friendly and of the ones that are, too many specify one pet only. It could be a while before I find a place.

I’m incredibly lucky though.

There’s no rush. No deadline I have to move by and no problem, whether it takes 6 weeks or 6 months. I’d rather get the move over with, but when it happens, it will happen. I can wait for a good apartment in a safe area. Some people aren’t as lucky. I’m painfully aware of the fact that in Vancouver there are too many people who live one paycheque away from homelessness. There are too many people who are so desperate for housing that they’ve had to choose: a place to live or keeping their pets.

I couldn’t imagine having to make that choice.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a man who had fallen on some hard times. The company he worked for closed, leaving him with no job. Despite receiving Unemployment Benefits, he couldn’t make ends meet. He soon defaulted on his mortgage and after many months of searching, he still had no job. He lost his house. He didn’t want to lose his German Shepherd as well. He tried to find a pet friendly apartment for a reasonable price, but Vancouver real estate is notoriously over priced and pet friendly housing is apparently worth it’s weight in gold.

At the time, there was no homeless shelter in our area that would accept big dogs. He camped in the wooded area behind a local church for several months before we stumbled across him and his dog during a walk. Embarrassed, he refused any help for himself, but gratefully accepted a container of food for his dog. Over the next months, we’d make regular trips to bring bags of food, treats and other goodies. We know others also looked out for the pair, doing what we could to ensure they had enough.

After 6 months, the weather turned sour.

The man became ill and was rushed to the hospital. By the time his friends knew, it was too late. The dog had been picked up by the local authorities and turned over to the SPCA.We were never able to determine where he ended up. His owner did not survive. We mourned the loss of a good man, fallen on hard times, who paid the ultimate price for the love of his dog.

The story has stayed with me for many years.

It was needless. There are always so many apartments available and good dog owners can be amazing tenants. A responsible pet owner tends to carry that responsibility into other aspects of their lives. Why couldn’t a safe place for pup & person be found? Why are so many unwilling to take a chance on a renter with pets?

The importance of pet friendly housing

An abundance of pet friendly housing means that no one ever has to choose between living with a furry family member or being homeless.

Plentiful pet friendly housing means that those with depression and other mental illnesses can have the pets that are proven to make them happier.

Access to pet friendly housing means less animals turned over to shelter. It could even mean more adoptions, as more people would be allowed to welcome pets into their homes.

Pet friendly housing means animal lovers everywhere have the freedom to welcome pets into their lives. This is the change I would like to see. A pet in every home and a home for every pet. I just feels right, don’t you think?

Is it difficult to find pet-friendly housing in your area?

Do you happen to own an apartment in my neighbourhood that you’d like to rent to a responsible pet lover with two awesome dogs? (Hey? No harm in throwing it out there…right??)

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