Making room for pets in apartments

dog apartment photo

Big dogs (like Emily’s foster dog Nanai) don’t mind small apartments!

I recently moved from a house to a two-bedroom apartment, which I now share with two adopted kittens. I’m learning how to live in a close-packed community with lots of other people and their pets.

Here are some rules — both unwritten and written — that I’ve learned so far:

1. Understand your building’s pet policy.

was told that my new apartment complex was
pet-friendly. Only after I’d moved in did I
learn there was a weight limit for pets: 25
lbs. No way could I have my dogs I’d adopted with my ex-husband — not even one of them — in that
apartment. (The HSUS has some great tips on finding a pet-friendly rental.)

2. Learn the rules of your apartment complex. After living in my new place for about a month, I discovered that there was a whole book of rules set up by the Home Owner’s Association in my building. Because I’m a renter, I hadn’t been given a copy. Beyond the size restrictions on pets, the book also contained specific rules about where you could take dogs to “do their business,” and the regular, “DUH” kind of rules about picking up after your pets and such. 


(To the right are some law-breaking dog owners enjoying the evening in an off-limits field as their charges wander about.They never stay long and always look nervous.)
3. Find other dog-people in your building and organize a dog-group. There is strength in unity. A group of dog owners can handle and mediate complaints about dog behavior better than individuals can. A group has more clout to lobby your HOA for more pet-friendly spaces and can encourage dog owners to be good public citizens and members of your community.
Plus, a sense of community grows when dog owners gather, letting their dogs play together. You might even find people who would pet-sit your dog in exchange for the same service when they have to go out of town.
What about you? Do you rent? How have you dealt with apartment rules about pets?