Apartment/house hunting is hard enough as it is, not to mention with a dog. Landlords can be very particular when choosing whether or not to rent to tenants with pets. Reasons for this particularity are understandable–they may have had a bad experience or gotten stuck with an outrageous bill after a tenant left an apartment in disarray–so you must take their concerns seriously and get creative with overcoming the issue. You need to convince and reassure your potential landlord that both you and your pet are responsible, clean, “well-trained,” and fully capable of keeping the apartment in good condition. This is especially important if your furry companion is a pit bull or bully breed, due to the unfortunate stereotypes and discrimination facing these dogs.
A powerful tool that will give you a leg up against other applicants is a resume for your dog. It might sound silly, but it will show the landlord that you take pet ownership seriously, and directly addresses any concerns he/she may have about pet behavior and health. The key here is to include as much information about your pet as possible while keeping it relatively light and fun. You want your pet to seem approachable, especially if your dog is susceptible to breed discrimination, to help break down those barriers with your landlord.
Just as you do with your own resume, your pet resume should aim to highlight your dog’s best qualities. A good dog resume should include:
- Photos: Pick the most adorable ones you can find. You might also consider embedding a video if the resume is digital, preferably of your dog playing outside, interacting with people and/or other dogs.
- Description: Talk about your dog’s age, size, temperament, years with your family, etc.
- Activities: Describe how your dog gets exercise, what type of exercise he/she prefers, and how often. You can also mention favorite toys and games here.
- Health and grooming: Describe your pet’s vaccination history, whether they’re spayed or neutered, flea/tick control methods, and veterinarian information.
- Training: Talk about any kind of formal training classes your dog may have completed, whether they are house broken, and whether they respond to voice commands.
- About you: Showcase your abilities as a responsible pet owner. Explain that you always clean up after your dog and that you have arrangements for reliable pet care if you go on vacation. Also mention that you would be happy to arrange a meeting between your dog and your prospective landlord.
In addition to your pet’s resume, it may also be a good idea to attach references from your current/past landlords, neighbors, groomers, and trainers who knew your dog, attesting to the fact that you are indeed a responsible pet owner. You may even want to offer to provide an extra security deposit for your pet as a courtesy. Supplying your pet’s resume and additional documents from the get-go, even without the landlord asking, will likely boost the “responsible pet owner” factor and improve your chances of being the chosen tenant. Furthermore, going to the effort to create the resume and getting the additional paperwork together on your own shows that you respect your pet, which will in turn encourage others to treat your pet with respect as well.
Even if you aren’t planning on moving any time soon, it can’t hurt to be prepared and keep a resume for your pet on file. Life happens, and you may be forced to move sooner than you had planned. You deserve flexibility in your living situation, but leaving your dog behind should never be an option. Equipped with your carefully crafted pet resume, you can now approach hunting for your dream apartment/rental home with an optimistic attitude and man’s best friend by your side.