A few years ago my husband and I sold up and found ourselves devouring the Bath property papers in the hunt for a rental property. We couldn't afford to buy in the area we had wanted to move to. However, given the very buoyant rental market at the time we didn't think it would be a problem finding a property to suit our growing family.
Wanted- one family home in nice residential area, near top schools, to comfortably house one toddler, have room for more kids and must accept dogs.
On offer- All of the above BUT NO DOGS.
We didn't have a dog at the time, but it was on our agenda and so I refused to move if the landlord wouldn't budge on the matter. My husband and I watched our toddler spilling her cornflakes everywhere as we quibbled this issue. How can landlords accept kids but not dogs? Can dogs really cause more issues or damage than a teeny tiny person?
Simply put- NO
Okay Okay there may be exceptions to the rule- I realise a massive puppy left alone to their own devices all day may cause issues (view Marley and Me as example) but I don't leave my dog all day and so here are my findings....
- A toddler left unattended (while you believe them to be sleeping) can in fact find the only loose piece of wallpaper in their room and proceed to strip the entire room within twenty minutes.
- A toddler can also decorate an entire room in felt tip pen in the time it takes you to boil a kettle.
- Kids are very messy at mealtimes. Dogs are very good at clearing up at mealtimes. With a dog on the premises it is rare for jam to be squashed into carpet, it simply doesn't last long enough to be stepped on.
- Noise pollution? You can train a dog not to bark unnecessarily, in fact so long as they are exercised and amused they rarely bark indoors anyway, kids on the other hand? Trying to keep my kids volume in check generally finds me exceeding my own decibels...
- Smell. So long as I regularly wash my dog and children body odour is usually kept in check. However, you try getting the smell out of the carpet when the kids bring home the winter vomiting bug. Again. (n.b. Dogs get sick too but their vom is not nearly so bad and four years after rescuing said dog she has only had one 'poo accident'... can't say the same about kids.)
- Whilst on the subject, house training a dog takes about two weeks, it took my kids two years before they stopped shitting themselves... and they were 'early' what is with that!?
- The garden- Ok so I have to clean up dog poo, but I am a responsible owner and this is kept on top of. My dog also doesn't dig, my kids do. In a honesty though, storms Doris and Ophelia have definitely caused more garden damage in a day then my kids and dog have in three years at our current abode.
- You can stop a dog from going into parts of the house you want to keep 'dog hair free'. Pretty sure if I banned my kids from going upstairs social services would have something to say.
- Kids often throw food back in your face (on the walls, curtains) when they don't like it. My dog never complains about her food and yet it looks like a pile of crap.
- On a more personal note... dogs make a wonderful cuddling companion on a cold winters evening, when I try to cuddle my toddler I usually get punched in the face.
Four house moves and one relocation since that day we perused those Bath property pages in amazement. I can say in all honesty, as we clear a house before we go, we always find ourselves having to repair the damage our kids have made. In all those moves I have NEVER had to repair damage the dog has done. I think landlords (or anyone thinking of taking 'the next step' in their relationship), its time to rethink those rules, if you are precious about your property get a dog, not a child.