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My Turn: Moving to Juneau; No dogs allowed

Posted: October 19, 2013 - 11:06pm

It’s been a long road to Juneau, but one of optimism for the exciting and surreal specter that is our future in Alaska.

My wife and I have dreamt of living out our days here since we first met. It is a place I’ve lived in and a place she’s only experienced for a short time, but we knew we wanted to raise our family here.

When she got the job offer that would bring us, I knew it was time to start planning the move.

It isn’t just the two of us though. We have a two-year-old son and two dogs. We hoped that as summer ended tourists and seasonal workers would flee for warmer climates, thus opening up rental housing, and so we began to make our escape plan from Colorado.

As the days dragged on, it became apparent that homeowners in Juneau dread renters with pets. For every 10 rentals out there, it seemed that only one would allow pets. And we weren’t the only couple vying for it. We had to be quick on the draw, watching Craigslist incessantly, refreshing the page, having a pre-formatted email ready to go, ready to pounce on any rental that might let us in the door with our two dogs.

And our dogs aren’t small! One is a 65-pound Siberian Husky, who is 12 years old, and the other is a five-year-old Husky and German Shepherd mix, who weighs 90 pounds. And these breeds have been on the top ten most dangerous dogs list for I don’t know how long. Unfortunately, misinformed homeowners watch such lists and believe in the subjective and completely ignorant rankings. One dog attack dominating the news’ will shoot a breed to the top of that list.

Needless to say, we couldn’t find a rental at all. As we saw it, we had three options.

1. We could leave the dogs behind in Colorado, knowing they had a good place to stay with family, and thus allowing us more latitude with homeowners and the rental market.

2. We could bring them and stay in a hotel until we could find a suitable rental, racking up deeper and deeper debt in the process.

3. Or, we could purchase a home.

My wife and I are in our thirties. We own one home in Colorado Springs, Colo. We have no intention of selling it in the current market. And with Juneau being somewhat experimental — that is to say we have no idea if it is truly the place for us — to have a home we could move back to seemed smart.

We love our dogs. They are a part of our family. More dogs in the future will become a part of our family. They are not merely pets, but best friends who will hold and love us no matter what life throws our way.   

After analyzing our situation for the hundredth time and making an offer on a house here in Juneau, one which we will close on by the end of October, we realized that our purchase of this home was for one reason and one reason only: We love our dogs.

I truly wish Juneau homeowners could understand such a concept. I believe that most probably do, having pets themselves. But they obviously value their property over the love that their potential renters have for their own pets. It’s disappointing. I believe it is something that needs to change.

I couldn’t be happier with our decision to purchase a home here in Juneau, because no matter whether we love it or hate here, we own a property that we will happily allow pets into. But we could have been reliable tenants for someone with a rental property who allowed pets. It’s a shame other homeowners don’t see this. Not only would they have contented renters with pets, but they would have also guaranteed themselves long-term leases, signed and re-signed, because they’re one of the only options in town for someone who has a furry best friend.

Good luck Juneau renters who own pets. We feel for you.

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