Danielle woke up one eye at a time. It’s a dreary winter morning, still dark out with snow drifting down. Her bed was a rumbled pile of blankets, she stretched her back with her eyes still closed. Next to her Fred cuddled up, he turned to poke her face with his cold nose. His gesture said, “I gotta go. Let’s walk. Now. Ok?” He wiggled his tail and his eyes lighted up as she grabbed her running shoes and winter jacket.
Dogs outnumber children in apartments. 70% of apartment dwellers own pets, but where do they roll on the grass, catch a Frisbee, or hide in a pile of leaves? Some landlords are more pet friendly than others, and most charge an extra pet rental for potential damage. Some require a bill of good health and that vaccinations are up to date from the vet. Small dogs are preferred, big dogs don’t stand a chance. Eight million pets are surrendered to shelters every year, and the main reason is moving, “the landlord doesn’t allow pets.” A gentleman that I represented in a foreclosure was forced to give up his loyal 12 year old best friend to move to an apartment. He crumbled, he couldn’t do that to his buddy. It would have been two broken hearts if we didn't find a family member who wanted to take the dog, and offered visits as often as he could.
It might sound surprising, but Millennials have ‘a place for Fred’ high on their must have list in looking for a new home. Think of it more as, Americans are having dogs in place of babies. The birth rate is down about 10%, a trend driven by 16-29 year olds. Both marriage and babies are being deferred, or just not in the plan. The population of small dogs is skyrocketing, but cats won’t be outdone. The US has more cats than any country in the world at 74 million (followed only by the Chinese with 53 million).
A relocation client from the East Coast won the custody of three cats in her divorce. She was planning on a rental, but we only found landlords that demanded that they be declawed. We looked at a townhome development on a golf course in the country, and the rules were that all cats had to be indoor and declawed. I argued with management that we were in farm country in Minnesota, not Manhattan. No go. Instead, she bought a cute house in a first ring suburb so her cats could enjoy the back yard with all of their toes intact.
Our furry family members play a critical role in our emotional comfort, and influence relationships. “Love me, love my dog (or cat)” is the norm. What’s better than snuggling up at the end of a long day with a warm furry snoring dog? It’s no wonder that owners take their needs into consideration in finding a new home where they can be healthy and comfortable. After all, home is where the dog is.