In my past post Freedom, Selling up and Renting I waxed lyrical about the freedom renting was going to offer the wife and I. I still stand by that, but I’m afraid over the past month or so it has become evident to me that the whole process of finding a home to rent in the UK is generally broken. If you own a pet I would say your chances of finding a suitable rental property reduces by 90% or more. While I’m sure many people out there have great experiences finding a home, I can only write about what we have discovered and so far things are looking rather bleak.
What we are looking For.
I will concede that what we are looking for is not exactly your run-of-the-mill rental. The whole premise of this blog, indeed our lives going forward is it’s about two people escaping the suburbs, finding a place to live preferably in Scotland that is in a peaceful private rural location. The next limiting factors are it can’t be further than a hours drive from a retail park (we still have to work) and the property must be detached otherwise where is the peace of living next to someone. Next it must have a a large garden for me to work in something in need of a fix up (the garden not the house) as I like to put my own stamp on it while hopefully improving the land for who ever lives there after me. The property should be available for a long term rent and have at least 2 bedrooms. All fair enough now enters the deal breaker we have a dog (pictured above).
Rentals and Dogs don’t seem to mix
For some reason landlords have a big downer on man’s best friend. Many times over the past few weeks we have almost found our perfect home until the D word has been uttered and then we are quickly shown the door. I understand that dogs can be messy just like people can be destructive and noisy, but I fail to believe that just because you own a dog you are more likely to wreak a home. My dog a rather large leonberger he has never chewed anything. I have never come home to find him smearing his faeces on the wall or bathing in his own urine, Joking aside he has never had a bodily mishap and if he did we would probably be to blame for not letting him out. My dog who is now 5 years old, spends most of his life asleep with his feet in the air, he’s about as destructive as the Dalai Lama is womanising drug fiend.
Let’s face it people there is nothing a dog can do to a property that can’t be put right, that’s why you pay a deposit. If landlords are unsure why don’t they charge a extra fee for the pet rather than simply saying NO. From my observations children are more likely to damage a property than most well trained dogs, think of the public out cry if most landlords said No Children on Rightmove. I understand that people can be A-holes and I’m sure properties are damaged sometimes by animals, but that says more about their owners than the pet. I know that renting a property isn’t done for the fun of it, it’s done for money and profit. Landlords please try and be sensible about this because I’m sure you are missing out on many brilliant renters, who will pay on time while look after your investment and treat your property as their home, challenge your perceptions keep a open mind on Pets.
A well trained dog brings joy to their owners hearts not to mention a calmer demeanour. Surely a happy renter is a better renter. I personally would rather be homeless than betray the bond between my dog and me. I committed to him when I brought him as a puppy and that is contract like my marriage I will not break. #Renterswithpets
Finally caught on camera the world renowned sock thief. It has long be believed that washing machine’s were in fact eating socks, but we can now disprove this theory once and for all.
Answering to the name of Woden this Leonberger has developed an addiction to all forms of Socks. He will stop at nothing to get socks of all colours shapes and sizes. What he does with the socks once he has them is still open to much debate, but he is costing the nation a fortune. If you are perplexed at the number of single socks in your cupboards you may well have fall victim to Woden and his stealth Sock extraction techniques. Wearing unmatching socks continually can have very deep effects on mental health. It can form a deep seated air of indifference called ‘No one will see’ syndrome this is where people wear totally different colour, lengths or styles of socks without any guilt or remorse.
It may well be the case that this dog is not alone, if you have pictorial evidence it is vital that is is made available to your nearest social networking site so we can know these villains and keep an eye open for them. Sock theft is not a victimless crime and should not be encouraged in your four legged friend.
This message has been issued by Sock Watch
Sock Watch – ‘Keeping feet out of sight and out of mind‘
When I take my Leonbergers out for a walk I’m still amazed how few people know what they are. In fact the number one thing you must be prepared for when owning these giant walking carpets is to answer the question ‘what are they?’ at least 2 to 3 times a day.
It doesn’t bother me and my two like being the centre of attention. Leonbergers are gentle giants that said because of their size they can easily knock over even me a 6 foot 16 stone man when they are at full gallop. While leo’s are without doubt beautiful beasts, I would not a recommend them as pets to anyone who isn’t prepared to have an animal totally take over their life 24/7. Leo’s are not for the house proud, they are also not for people who go out a lot or fail to have a very good sense of humour.
Buying a leo pup is a life time commitment which will send you for the first year to the edge of your patience. I’ve had dogs for many years and for me nothing compares to owning a leo they are quite simply life changing. The first trait of a leo is they suffer with selective deafness which means that most commands other than Dinner and Biscuits are generally ignored. Ok i’m being a little unfair I don’t want to give the impression that leo’s are not trainable they are, despite what some may say they are hyper intelligent.
I do think they have a streak of cat running through them, by that I mean they know what you want of them and they will get to it when they feel like it. My boy as a pup learnt all your main commands: sit, stay, wait, down in his first week in fact the first day with us at aged 8 weeks. Now at 18 months old he can still do them all but it’s a case of ok.. ok keep your hair on I’ll do it in a minute. The trouble with these guys is they are so darn cute!!! So even as they run around the garden with a treasured plant or shrub half hanging out of their jaw, you can’t stay mad at them for long.
Leo’s are lovers not fighters and despite their size like nothing more than climbing on your lap and giving you a big wet lick they love to be loved. They are also hyper sensitive to human emotion and don’t like family rows or raised voices.
If you hate the idea of wet muddy dogs then Leo’s once again are not for you. Leo’s love both!!! I think they love Water just a little bit more than mud… water bowls are not just portals for liquid refreshment they are a place to get a foot bath and full head wash. And just when they are dripping enough they will come find you to tell you once again just how much they love you.
Because Leo’s are rather large and bouncy i personally feel they are best kept on a lead when out in public as they can cause harm to the old and young just because of their size, to them everyone is a potential best friend who should be knock over and licked. I know many dog owners won’t agree with me but I think now days all dogs should be kept on a leash for there own safety. People can and are be very confusing to dogs not to mentions at times darn right cruel. Most dog problems would never happen if we had a strict leash law. Out of control kids (which most seem to be) and dogs are seldom a good mix. I also think we should have enclosed dog parks but i’m digressing
We took over six months of research into large breed dogs before we settled on a leo. As we live close to a breeder we went to see our pups mum and dad and other extended family members twice before buying. We came to leo’s with our eyes wide open and it was still a shock.
I once said I wouldn’t have a puppy again but I know in my heart that is probably not true. As my boy is almost grown up and our girl heads towards 6 years old you become aware that these wonderful friends won’t be around for very long. Sadly most large breed dogs don’t live past 7 to 8 years old. That said a number in my Leo’s breeder bloodline some have made it to 10 years old but more than that is very, very rare. I’m a great believer in life quality over life length when it comes to dogs or humans and my two have a wonderful life and they bring me so much joy and comfort.
Our Male leo Woden is going through his last big Alpha faze and he is proving to be a bigger handful now than at any time since we had him. It’s typical that Leos don’t begin to calm down till they reach at least two years old. Yes puppyhood lasts a long time in the leo breed in fact some would say they act like puppies their whole life. Woden is going back to training again on Thursday just to refocus him, plus in the winter they can get very bored and it will give him something to think about.
My wonderful girl Bella who we got at 5 years old gives us no problems at all and simply wants to be stroked and stroked. At least once a day the two of them put on a great display of dog wrestling for my wife and me. Woden is about three inches taller than Bella but that doesn’t bother her she keeps him well in his place and is something of a kung foo expert. I guess the main problem with leo’s is once you get one you just know in time you’ll get another… I dare say over the coming months and years i will post a lot about my furry friends
That bumper sticker that reads
‘The more people I meet the more I love my dog‘
As a child I always wanted a dog sadly my parents never felt the same. I know now that if I had, had that dog at a younger age I would have grown up a much more social person. It wasn’t till I was well in my 30’s that I got my first dog from a rescue centre she was a black lab shepherd cross called sky who probably at that time dislike people as much as I did. She had been badly abused and was one of those dogs that even the people at the shelter never thought would be re-homed. To say Sky was a challenge would be an understatement. She was scared of all men and apprehensive of most women. It took me about 3 weeks of daily hourly visits to the dog pound before sky began to let me in her space and mildly trust me. Once home things improved at a very slow pace but sky never became ‘normal’ by that I mean strangers could never approach her. My wife and I never gave up on her and she gave us years of unconditional love, three years on from her death we still miss her.
Our next Rescue dog Max was/is a shepherd collie cross he loves people but disliked other dogs with a passion which made a change. We have figured out that he really doesn’t understand what other dogs are and is in fact very scared of them. Max lived with Sky for a while before she died and he got on ok with her after a few teething problems. Because Max is now old I avoid giving him to much stress by taking him out very early in the morning (4/5am) before most people and their dogs are out. I think both he and I enjoy the peace and quiet it is always good to greet the day.
Despite Sky and Max coming from very problematic backgrounds they both became wonderful pets for us, I’m fully aware their behaviour would have been far to stressful for all but to most seasoned of dog owners. I have never been to a dog lesson in my life but when it comes to dogs I seem to have a natural affinity for then and a patience hat is sadly lacking in all other parts of my life .
Max is now getting on and we don’t want to be faced with a void when one day he passes on so we are going to get another dog in a weeks time.
As we have never be able to experience a well rounded dog that we can take out and about with us like other dog owners, so we have taken the decision to get a puppy. Now I want to state that many of the dogs in rescue centres dogs are healthy and well adjusted, I just always felt sorry for the ones with little hope and more problems. If you are looking for a companion I highly recommend you give animal shelters a look, these the wonderful animals need a second chance and they are often fully trained and just need a warm home and love….That said don’t take on any dog unless you are 100% committed ..unlike many marriages now days a Dog is still for life :-)
So aren’t I being a little hypocritical by now getting a puppy from a breeder?? Well I know many would say so but just for once I want the chance to shape a dog from the beginning rather than having to fix up dogs that people have seen fit to mentally and physically scar. Plus I want a large dog breed that is not often found in shelters …I wanted a leonberger. I fell in love with leonbergers years ago, Sky loved to play with two leonbergers we would meet most days on our walk in to local park . For those that don’t know leonbergers are huge dogs that are not really ideal for first time dog owners or people who live a ‘normal’ 8 hour working day.
I will talk more about the breed in detail soon and I will have a running blog here on ‘Woden’ our new puppy which will detail his progress over the coming weeks and months . This will be both a record for us to look back on and may be of interest I hope to future leonberger owners and fans of the breed. I have put aside all my art work etc for now so I can give this little guy all the training and socializing he needs to become a well rounded part of the community. I believe this is vitality important as a large dog which is unsocialised is just a recipe for disaster and heart ache.