Dear Abe,

I love dogs. I’d like to get a dog, but my lease says I’m not allowed. But dogs are super cute, and I’m really good with them, and I reckon I could have one and the landlord wouldn’t know. My girlfriend thinks this is a bad idea. What do you think?

Dog Lover

Dear Dog Lover,

It is a terrible idea! Being a dog owner is a long-term commitment for the life of the dog. At some point, either at this home or your next home, the landlord will find out through a neighbour telling them, or seeing something at an inspection, or some other random way. That will mean that you have breached your lease and you will have to “remedy” that. That is, you will have to get rid of the dog, e.g. through a rescue service, which will either re-home or euthanise your dog; or you will have to move house. Rehoming dogs is actually quite difficult, with over 5,000 dogs euthanised by the RSPCA alone.

Living in Sydney with a pet can be challenging. There is a shortage of housing, so landlords can be very fussy about who they select as tenants. This means that people with pets often find it more difficult to find a home, and may have to pay more rent to be able to find somewhere to live. Bear in mind that this is for the lifetime of the pet, which could easily be ten or fifteen years.

As a dog lover, there are a few other things you can do. Most rescue services will let you visit their dogs, allowing them to get used to being around people, and helping them to alleviate their boredom. Some services will also allow you to walk the dogs, giving their body and their brains much needed exercise. This way you can have all of the fun and cuddles without the cost and responsibility.