Comment: The joy - and pain - of living with pets
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Pets are a pain. I say this as an owner of two elderly cats and an OAP dog, whose combined age puts them at about 37.
We adopted the two cats, a mother and daughter team, from a Luton shelter back in 2003. We loved them so much. We described our relationship status as ‘living together with cats’. We made loads of boring films of them sitting on carrier bags or batting each other from behind chairs. They also wrecked our sofas and clawed holes in our carpets.
When we moved to Australia in 2007 we paid a fortune to take them with us, and the same again when we moved back. While we were there, we adopted a three-year-old dog, who also moved home with us in 2011.
Renting in the competitive Sydney market was a nightmare with pets in tow. For various, non-animal-related reasons we had to move four times in the four years we were there, meaning the hassle of attending open house viewings became a semi-regular occurrence.
When we found somewhere we liked that didn’t reject pets outright, we had to fill in an in-depth application along with all the other interested parties. Some agents encouraged us to attach a personal note with info about ourselves and our animals, a sort of begging letter pleading with the owner to take us on.
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We own our current home, meaning we don’t have to fret about any of that palaver, but the animals still present issues. Visiting children are often alarmed by our dog’s enthusiastic yap – a brief performance for new visitors, before he retires to the sofa for the rest of their stay. Some won’t cross the threshold until he’s installed in another room, however.
Times have changed, and these days there’s very little chewing of soft-furnishings, with all three spending most of their time sleeping, defecating or demanding to be fed. Using our rugs as a preferred toilet option has also become a favoured pastime.
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With three kids to deal with, our pets’ funny/infuriating little ways seem less endearing these days, but we’d never outsource them, however annoying they may be. Our eldest’s request for a hamster have been roundly rejected, however.