My little family has a lot of big changes lined up!
Athena, my partner, and I are moving – still within the city, but to a new apartment. My two cats have a big adventure of them, as they’re going to live on my uncle’s farm, which will have to be another post in and of itself (but let’s be clear: it’s REALLY A FARM, not like “he went to the farm” in the way your parent’s told you about your dog when you were a kid). As such, I have moving with animals on the brain! So let’s talk about a couple things:
The Flaws with our Rental System with Regards to Pets:
I am at my wit’s end with landlords right now. We need a new place to live as of November 1st. I know, as most people who have ever rented in Ontario know, that “no pet” clauses in leases are illegal. The only way it can be enforced is if your pet actually causes issues for other tenants or the landlord – major ones, like illness or massive damage.
A6: Only if the pet is dangerous, causes allergic reactions or causes problems for other tenants or the landlord, must you get rid of your pet or consider moving elsewhere as per Landlord application to terminate tenancy based on animals.
Even if you signed a lease with a “no pets” clause, if the pet is not a problem for anybody they can not enforce it; such no pets clauses are invalid under the law.
You do not have to move or get rid of the pet unless the Board issues a written order to do so. (from OntarioTenants.ca)
Landlords still ask, in applications, if you have pets though. And, by sheer coincidence, if you check yes, you will never. get. accepted. I refuse to lie strictly based on principal, but here’s the problem: our system basically forces you to. If you are a responsible pet owner and an honest person, you’ll never get a place. If you lie on your application then move in with your pet anyways, there is nothing they can do about it. It’s infuriating. Three separate places so far have told us point blank that they’ve turned us down because of the dog, and others just never got back to us – despite our good credit scores and good references.
Let’s add to this the level that my dog specifically is, at least an ESA, and at most a psychiatric service dog (which I don’t really feel like getting into again, but feel free to check out the backstory if you are interested); this leaves me feeling a) discriminated against as a person with a pet (illegal) and b) discriminated against as a person with a disability (illegal, and hurtful).
Anyways, we will find a place, and we will find it honestly. I want to have a good relationship with my landlord, and I want them to love Athena. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating, and it doesn’t mean that I’m not starting to get nervous, with three weeks to go.
Best Practices for Moving with a Pet:
Now, let’s – for my sanity – assume that we find a wonderful apartment with a dog-loving landlord. Now what?
Athena has been in our current apartment for more than two of her two and a half years with us. That’s a big change for her! What are best practices for moving with a pet?
1) I love my vet, and as long as we’re in Toronto, I’ll never leave them. However, it’s always a good idea to find a vet in your new neighbourhood – whether you’re in the market for a new vet, or just in case of emergencies.
2) Packing can be stressful for pets. Can they be out on a walk while you pack? Or in a different room? Or perhaps chewing on a delicious frozen kong filled with tripe, so that packing time = delicious time?
3) Keep day to day items separate from the rest of your packing. You don’t want to end up at your new home for the first time with puppy’s food missing and her favourite teddy bear lost in the chaos!
4) Be careful to keep pets out of the way while unpacking! No joke, I knew a girl whose cat died because the movers dropped a mattress on her in a move. Crates or bathrooms are great for this.
5) Leave your pets with something familiar; what’s best for your pet? A tshirt or sweater you wear? A blanket? A toy?
6) Remember to update your pet’s microchip and registration address! If they get lost at the new place, they may not be able to find their way home. Let’s be sure someone can help them back to you should they get disoriented :) And on that note, no offleash time unless it is fenced in or highly supervised until they get to know the new neighbourhood!
Anyone have any other suggestions or best practices for moving? I’d love to hear them! As always, feel free to sound off in the comments below.