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Moving On Up

Author: | Date: January 25, 2012

My boyfriend Josh and I are moving to Portland, Oregon next month.  Although I will miss my amazing friends and work here in Chicago, we have been looking forward to a move out west for over a year.  Since this was the plan, we have been looking for a place to live throughout the month of January.  I refused to settle for anything less than a house with a fenced yard, garage and washer/dryer.  After surviving seven years of brutal Chicago winters, parking my car on the street, and trudging my dogs down flights of apartment stairs to walk them in the freezing cold, I am ready for a change!

Portland has a very good market for rental houses, so I knew we would be able to find a place within the month. It’s a little tricky living 2,000 miles away from where you are going to move and find a place with everything you want.

But the thing I was worried about most was finding a place that would allow our two big dogs.  And “pit bull” type dogs at that.

I knew it would be a challenge.  95% of the places we looked at online had some sort of size, weight, or breed restriction, especially if the owner went through any sort of rental agency. I even had one agent say to me “Well, what would the neighbors think if you moved in with those dogs?!” when I said we had a pit bull mix.  “Why do I have to worry about what the neighbors think if I have two well behaved dogs?” is what I said.  She just confirmed that they don’t allow any of those “aggressive” breeds in the place. If we talked to a realtor, we may have well said that we owned an animal that was part Bengal Tiger because they acted as if we owned a feral, savage beast.

Portland does not have any breed specific legislation like Denver or Miami (that is a whole other blog topic on its own), but they are very strict on renting to anyone with a pit bull type dog.

But at least we weren’t the only ones that they were prejudice against: anyone who owned a Doberman, Rottweiler, Great Dane, Mastiff, Husky, Malamute, or any of those mixes were also not allowed.

This is interesting, because Portland is known as one of the most dog-friendly places to live in the United States.  One would think that if I mentioned I was a dog trainer who could give impeccable references from colleagues, friends, and landlords, give an extra security deposit and also let them know that our dogs are covered on our renters insurance that I would seem like a responsible pet owner but unfortunately, it does not.  So we quickly learned to stick to Craigslist and talked directly to the people who owned each house.

We finally found a house sight unseen, but it is perfect, and the owner actually prefers renters that own big dogs.  So for anyone out there in the same boat as us, Craigslist and talking to the owner in person is the way to go.  And of course, to always be honest about your situation.  If you are looking in Chicago, I recommend Lauren Bergiel.  She specializes in finding clients pet friendly apartments and housing in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.  She is great!

Since we are on the topic of moving, I have to share this blog.  I’m hoping our move goes smoother than this but Desi and Bodie eerily resemble the dogs in this blog.  It is too funny, especially for those of you with anxious dogs (like me) who can relate to this. Enjoy and happy traveling!



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