The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

March 30, 2014

Ryan Richardson: Search for living space complicated by pets

JOPLIN, Mo. — I am a pretty laid-back guy when it comes to most everything in life, except when it comes to moving.

Someone once told me that moving causes stress equal to a death in the family or the breakup of a long-term relationship. After moving no less than three times in a year, I was inclined to believe him. From scouting potential locations to packing up everything I own and transporting it to a new home, the whole process makes me lose what little hair I have left.

With my lease ending in April, I have decided to at least test the local rental market. When I moved here in 2012, I had a window of about four days where I had to find an apartment that was in my price range, big enough and allowed pets.

That was a herculean task considering I was also going to have to pack everything up in that time frame and move it down here. Luckily, I landed on my feet, and I found a great starter apartment in Airport Drive. Now that my lease is up, I'm going to see what else is out there.

My dog is my greatest priority in my search. Parting with her is not an option, so I have to toss out more than half of the potential locations I could move to.

While I think it is silly that a landlord would limit their potential applicants by not allowing pets, I understand where they are coming from. I've seen pets do some serious damage to a property if their owners aren't responsible by taking the proper percautions.

Needless to say, don't be that kind of owner. Cleaning up after your pets goes surprisingly far when it comes to a landlord's perception of a tenant.

If you have the type of pet that you take outdoors for bathroom breaks, make sure you are cleaning it up. Trust me, they notice the yards of owners who do that. If they make a mess inside, make sure that it is cleaned up as soon as possible.

If something is damaged, let your landlord know so it can be fixed. Most problems that stem from pet ownership on a rental property can be handled with a little bit of communication.

I know I preach responsibility a lot, but this is one of those no-brainers that people let slide, then it impacts everyone else. Its frustrating to be out on the market knowing others have already ruined it.

I'll be keeping you posted in the next month on my search, even if I decide that my present location is where I will stay. I've been wanting to broach this subject for a while, but it is one of those things in which you must actively participate to really understand what's going on out there.

I also wanted to thank the people who emailed me regarding last week's column about bringfido.com. I've already heard from serious road-trippers who are going to start using the site.

For the local people who emailed me, I strongly encourage you to submit your own reviews about these pet-friendly establishments in Joplin. I'm glad that together, we can help get out the word at places that welcome pets and their owners together.

Contact Ryan Richardson about this column or other topic suggestions at rrichardson@joplinglobe.com or 417-627-7363.

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