Traveling Dog Lady: Landlords who allow pets also save lives

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Landlords who allow pets also save lives

As owner and manager of several rental properties, it is unimaginable to me to forbid my tenants from having pets. I've rented to tenants with dogs, cats, birds and even snakes, lizards, tarantulas, various rodents... well, you get the picture. If there is a pet in your family, it is welcome to stay with you when you rent from me.

Now, don't all get excited submitting applications and inquiries to me. My properties are all rented, and I don't foresee them becoming available any time soon.

My purpose in writing this post today is to give encouragement to two kinds of people:

1) Pet parents.

2) Property owners/managers.

We all remember the heartbreak we felt when watching thousands of New Orleanians leave their pets behind because pets were not allowed at human shelters during Katrina, and there were no provisions to accommodate pets in case of a disaster.

Today, years later, we pet lovers watch as the housing crisis hits millions of families who have been forced to relinquish the dogs and cats they love because property owners/managers will not allow pets in the apartments and houses that are for rent. This is a crushing blow to American dogs and cats, most of whom will be placed at shelters for a week and then euthanized if not adopted. "No-kill" shelters are few, particularly in certain parts of the country. Others are lucky enough to be placed at a no-kill shelter, but may be destined to live many, many months and years there without being adopted.

Meanwhile, children and adults alike are left heartbroken at having to "give away their best friend". And at a crucial time when a family has lost their home, jobs, and many other material things, to also lose that special furry friend couldn't happen at a worse moment. People who own pets are proven to be healthier because of sharing their lives with a pet. Pets comfort us in our moments of grief and sadness. Dogs and cats cuddle with us and show us affection, and allow us to express affection and emotions without judgment. They also bring us out of depression by not letting us sit and wallow in our grief "Take me for a walk!" "Let's go out and play ball!" "Let's go the the dog park!" There is nothing like the love and companionship of a dog to drag a human out of his or her funk.

And so, I ask pet parents who may be facing foreclosure or eviction, exhaust all your efforts before giving your pet over to a shelter. Ask friends and family members if your pet can stay with them until you get back on your feet. Ask more than one, so they can perhaps share the burden. Offer your new landlord extra money per month for your pet. And, most importantly, explain (nicely) to the property owner or manager that a carpet or door jam can be replaced, but Rover and Fluffy are living, breathing creatures who can never be replaced and are not disposable.

Landlords and property managers, please re-read that last part.

Thanks for listening.

K2