Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Moving When a Family Member is Four-Legged

Lately, I've been having to deal with many "grown-up" financial issues that have baffled professionals. My husband and I had a lovely time trying to do our taxes (which are thankfully done now) due to issues with unemployment, independent contracting, and what to do when your company is shut down and doesn't actually send you a W-2...all compounded by the fact that I'm going to grad school soon and I need financial aid!

So, it's oh-so-convenient that we also need to move right now. 

Steven and I moved in together into our current apartment in late April/early May of 2012, and had only been here for about a month when our four-legged bundle of joy came bounding out of a parking lot and into our lives. Luckily, neither of us were thinking rationally when we found him, so we brushed off thoughts of the challenges of apartment living with Apple in anticipation of getting a place with a yard as soon as our lease was up...11 months later.

Well, our lease is up very soon, and we had to put in 60 days notice...which of course means that we put in the notice well before we had a place secured. Before we put in the notice, we contacted a locator that we thought we could trust, who told us that we would start a thorough search in late March.

Then, late March came, and he hadn't responded to our emails...

When he finally did contact us, he was really stand-offish and sent us four properties...but only one would actually accommodate our dog. The others required the dog to be under 35 or even 20 pounds! 

That's when I realized this wouldn't be easy. 

We started a search on our own and came across a house in Southeast Austin that we really liked, so we emailed the locator, and when he didn't respond, we called the realtor who was listing the house. He told us that he would accommodate a 70 pound dog, but then he asked his age...at only 14 months, the realtor wouldn't take him. He said he wouldn't accept a puppy.

It was difficult to realize just how hard this moving process would be. Obviously, we can't stay here because we already put in our notice. We are moving for Apple, not for ourselves, and the landlords don't want to take him. We gave him a home, but we still need someone to look at our big puppy and be willing to give us a HOUSE. 

However, it gets better. We found an agent who responds very quickly to us and is taking us out to see some properties tomorrow. I really hope that we can apply for one after we see them! She checked in advance to make sure they would take Apple, so everything should be okay on that front.

The moral of this story is that apartment living with a dog is hard, but trying to find a rental home for your dog is MUCH harder! Most apartments accept dogs, while houses don't, because the landlords are individuals who don't want to have to deal with the liability that a dog brings. (Hey, kids can destroy homes, too.) Dog ownership in a good home environment seems to be limited to those who can afford to buy a house...just another issue of doggie social justice that favors wealthy dog parents who have the credit and stability to be accepted for a mortgage. It's simply not an option for us.

I personally think that people who provide good homes for their dogs (and treat them like children) should be able to claim them as a "dependent pet" on their tax returns. Obviously, the deduction would be less than for a child, but if you could provide documentation of regular vet appointments, training, health, etc, you could claim them. It would probably help get dogs out of shelters! But maybe it would invite too much more bureaucracy into our lives.

I guess I just have to accept that I have to pay taxes and that moving is hard. The joys of being an adult.

I'll make sure to keep this series running, as we are sure to encounter more challenges along the way of moving with Apple in tow! (Packing will be FUN)

We're a great family! Please give us a home!


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