Saturday, August 14, 2010

Moving with a dog

I see a fair amount of posts on Craigslist from people looking to rehome their dogs, cats, even rabbits and fish because they're moving and "the new apartment doesn't allow pets."  If you read over Craiglist you get the distinct idea that there are no places out there and many people automatically move to taking their pets to shelters or trying to rehome them on CL and other similar places.

At some point in time, I'm going to have to move.  This means the entire idea makes me very nervous.  Will I find a place?  Well, I have to.  There is no doubt in my mind.  Dahlia is part of our family and you don't just dump a member of your family.  I would rather not move and not take a job than leave my girl behind.

Here are a few of the resources I found while doing some research on moving with pets:

1. On Craigslist you can check off "dogs" or "cats" in your search for apartments.  This probably means a lot less will appear, but you're likely to find a number who do allow them.

2. Another site to look on is:  Again, you can find dog or cat friendly housing.

3. Here's yet another:

This, of course, doesn't mean they'll accept your dog. Some places have weight limits.  Some places don't allow dogs of certain breeds.  If you have a larger dog (mine is 50 lbs) or a pit bull or other "banned" animal, you'll have to do some calling around.  Narrow down the choices to the places that look best and then get on their website or contact them about your dog.

The Humane Society has a great list of what do when looking to rent with pets.  The best suggestion there is give yourself time.  A lot of people start looking in the last few weeks.  I knew I was going to be moving back in April when I was hired.  That gave me 4 months to find that perfect pet friendly rental.  Plenty of time!

Another important aspect of this is something most people never think of: Talking to the landlord, especially people who rent out houses or apartments in duplexes.  The place we're renting from is a duplex.  Our landlord owns two rental properties, both duplexes.  He is not part of a company and we aren't going to be living in a complex.  He did have an unofficial "no dogs" rule, but rather than simply walking away from what was a very good apartment at a very good price in a nice part of town, I opted to talk to him.  Here's what I did that won him over:

1. I asked him what it was that caused him to have the "no pets" clause.  In this case, it was destruction and noise.  He was more concerned about the noise and complaints from neighbors about a noisy dog.  He was also concerned about dog excrement ruining his yard.

2. I addressed each of his concerns.  Our dog is quiet.  Our dog is an adult and does not destroy things.  I offered to let him meet her so he could see that she was calm and well-behaved.  I agreed to crate her when we were out if need be.  I also agreed to only have the one dog, though our landlord is so absentee that we could have 6 llamas living there and he'd never know.

3. We agreed that we would find a new place (or "get rid of the dog," though that would not be happening!) if there were numerous complaints about her.  Two and half years on and there have been none.  In fact, our mail man didn't know we had a dog and our landlord, who had dropped by to mow our yard during the first summer we were there, thought we didn't actually bring her until he met us while we were returning from a walk one day.

A couple other things you can do:

1. Create a "pet resume."  Include your dogs picture, information about your dog, and any training your dog has had.  Our dog has had classes at various places, has her CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certificate, and is currently in training for agility.  You can also include letters of reference from current landlords, vets, groomers, and trainers that speak of your dog's nice temperament and your ability to care for him/her.

2. If the landlord you're speaking to sounds like he could decide to allow you to rent with pets, offer to allow him to meet your dog.  Give him a chance to discover how well-behaved your dog is.  You can offer to show how your dog knows basic obedience, greets properly, or is good with children or pets.  Of course, this is all contingent on how well-behaved your dog actually is.  If you think you may have to move into a new apartment sometime and your dog could use a brush-up on manners, please do take a positive reinforcement training class!  Perhaps even try for the CGC certificate.  Anything you can do to make your dog as good a citizen as possible will help you in your move.

Moving with pets is not the easiest thing to do and it takes some planning, but it can be done.  So please, before getting rid of your pet, please just get out there and look.  Don't be afraid to talk to the landlord about your pet!  And if you may move in the future, get yourself together: get some training, get those references, and be prepared in case you have to move.

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