Letter: No place for owners and their pets to call home

There needs to be more cost-efficient places for people with dogs, cats, birds, etc., to live…

To the editor:

Own a dog? No house for you!

Or so it feels like. I’ve been poring over papers and other places to find low-cost/subsidized housing for myself that accepts dogs and other pets. So far I’ve found roughly two places and I’m not exaggerating.

If you look at the streets today, you’ll see that the amount of people who own dogs has grown. However, there are no places anywhere that seem to allow you to have one in their rental units. Those few places that do allow it are more than likely filled up.

What are the rest of the poorer population of Kelowna supposed to do? We can’t afford to buy our own place. We don’t want to live in shelters or group homes (if they even accept dogs), nor do we want to live homeless. We want to be able to live a normal life, in a home of our own, in safe areas of Kelowna.

Some of us might be willing to leave the city for another, but a lot of us call Kelowna home for a vast number of reasons and we don’t want to be forced out of our home because we have no place to live.

Kelowna has so many dog parks, on- and off-leash, to accommodate all the dogs this wonderful city holds. Why aren’t there more places to live that are willing to accommodate dogs and other pets as well? For the vast majority, dogs and other pets are a source of companionship and love and it’s so desperately needed; literally a family member on four legs with fur and fangs (OK, some have reptiles, fish, birds and others, but work with me here).

For others, they’re not only companionship but a vital source to keep them mentally stable without having to have certified papers saying they’re a service animal. Not everyone needs a “papered” dog or cat as they may not qualify, can’t get one, or just may not want one. However, having a pet in their life is the therapy they so desperately need in their everyday lives.

Yes, some dogs may have behavioural issues, separation anxiety or may be barky. Just like humans, some dogs don’t always get the deep end of the gene pool and they come up empty-pawed. As much as the owners work with the dogs, not always are they able to succeed. Is that any reason to deny housing to people and their dogs when their dogs are so vital to their lives? No. These dogs and their owners have just as much equal right to homes as anyone else does.

This situation is grim. There needs to be more cost-efficient places for people with dogs, cats, birds, etc., to live who have disabilities, who are low-income and can’t afford normal rent costs (even the vast majority of normal rental places I’ve seen don’t accept pets!) and seniors.

Something needs to be done and fast. Right now the future looks rather bleak.

Greta Fader, Kelowna