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Pets are good for us

May 27, 2012 - Jodelle Greiner
One of the problems with too many dogs and cats winding up at shelters is the fact that landlords do not want renters to have pets.

Look at any For Rent ad: you will almost always see “No pets” in the ad. (The exception seems to be housing for senior citizens or the disabled.)

I know why. Landlords say that pets pee on the carpet, claw up fixtures like door frames, shed hair on everything, and their barking and yowling disturbs the neighbors.

I’ve rented for a long time and I’ve seen humans rip out fixtures such as sinks and punch holes in the walls. There were some walls that I didn’t even want to touch because it looked like something had been sprayed on them. I’ve seen cigarette burns in carpeting and patch marks in other places from God knows what.

The worst, by far, is the noise. Not from pets, but from humans. And no amount of asking to turn it down decreases it.

Loud music and TVs, starting from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. Yelling, cursing and screaming that even my headphones and rock music didn’t drown out. The phone calls I could follow almost word for word through the ceiling. The vacuum cleaner being run at 10:30 p.m. And don’t get me started on the squeaky bedsprings and heavy breathing. I’ve heard it all.

All in all, I’d rather live next to someone with a pet than a human who doesn’t care if they disturb their neighbors no end.

In addition to all that, there’s evidence that pet owners are happier and healthier. Just the companionship of having another living, breathing being in the house makes a difference. Animals are great listeners and never tell your secrets. Having a pet gives a person a reason to get up and take care of the critter. Dog owners need to walk Fido to do his business and for the animal’s exercise, thus getting exercise themselves. Just the act of petting an animal is believed to lower blood pressure. Plus, you can always get a good laugh out of a dog or cat’s antics. (See,,, or go to and enter “pet owners live longer” into the search engine.)

I was at the Carl Nettifee Memorial Shelter Thursday to do an interview and wound up feeding a 4-week-old kitten and cuddling a mini dachshund. I could feel that I was much more relaxed when I walked out of there than when I’d come. And I didn’t really want to leave.

“It only takes 15 to 30 minutes with a dog or cat or watching fish swim to feel less anxious and less stressed,” according to “Your body actually goes through physical changes in that length of time that make a difference in your mood. The level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered. And the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased.”

In other words, pets make humans happy. Maybe if landlords would allow renters to have pets, the tenants would be more content and less likely to move, making for less turnover, which in turn would mean more rental income for the landlord.


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