Sean Faulk is a Realtor® and co-owner of MovingToOrlando.com. You can reach Sean at email@example.com
I have had a total of 6 dogs in my lifetime – three as a child and 3 as an adult. As a kid, my parents bought me a Golden Retriever named Angel. She was a puppy and I was so excited to have her. She was a great pet, she was well behaved, she didn’t cause any problems, but she was ultimately ‘just the dog.’ Angel spent 90% of her life living under our trailer and popping out to be pet as we walked from inside the house to the car or if it was time for her to be fed. The same went for the next two dogs my family got and I never really gave them a second thought. As much as I claimed to love dogs, I spent no time with them and they were just a fixture of the land and not really part of the family. No fault to my parents because that’s just how they were raised as well and they believed animals belonged outside.
As a family, we watched Trading Spaces, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, House Hunters, Love it or List it and any other type of home remodel or HGTV show we could find. Our eye-rolling moments always came when someone would say, ‘this house is perfect…..but it’s not going to work out for Fluffy.’ We would yell at the screen, ‘Oh my God! I can’t believe they would make a decision this important based around a dog, its insane!’
Now, I am an adult, and there is only so long that we agree with our parent’s views before making our own choices, and my views changed in January of 2018. On a whim, I went on Craigslist and saw that a family was rehoming a husky, and I just knew I had to have her. She was my first dog as an adult! I met her and was instantly in love and had determined that she would always have a place inside. I bought an insert for my sliding door so she could go in and out as she pleased. I put up a new fence for her, and essentially my life began to revolve around her. I would change plans to make sure I didn’t leave her home too long, and I made sure to spend a lot of quality time with her. She escaped a lot because she just had a very adventurous spirit and she would roam the neighborhood as I frantically would try to find her and bring her home. I even got a second husky named Roy so that he could calm her down a little, but she just got him to start escaping with her. She was kind of a lousy influence honestly.
My family came down for a few Christmas’s, and I always worried that my parents (particularly my dad) would be upset about having a dog in the house. Still, he was very respectful that I could make my own rules in my own home, but he didn’t pay much attention to my huskies. His final Christmas was in 2019, and he was so sick with cancer that he couldn’t walk very well, so he had to just lay in bed most of the time. My girl, Zelda, finally snuck her way into my bedroom and jumped on the bed and just curled up next to him and laid by him and fell asleep. As hard as we tried to show him attention over that Christmas, we all had a lot going on as well, but Zelda stayed by him. Even when we moved him into the living room to open gifts on Christmas, she laid right under his feet. He let me know later that it was a great comfort to him to have had her company over Christmas, and while he was feeling so sick and that he understood why I viewed an animal as part of my family.
I didn’t know it at the time, but he would pass away in May, and Zelda passed away a month before when she was struck by a car. As sad as I was when my dad died, I expected it, but Zelda was my baby. I was her caretaker, and I felt like I let her down, and to say I was utterly devastated would be an understatement. I viewed her as my child, and she was family, not just a pet.
Since then, I did get another husky – I’m back up to 2 again, and I couldn’t possibly imagine choosing my next home without considering my dogs. Is there a place for them to run? Could it feel like home for them as well? It’s wild how a family pet can change your view on something like this.
If you read this long, I appreciate it. I just wanted to showcase my understanding of how crucial and emotional this decision is when your pets get involved. They aren’t fixtures, they are family. Here are some helpful things to ask yourself when selecting a new home to move into with your family pet.
- How will the weather affect my pet? Florida is hot! The change in weather may effect how long your pet can safely be outdoors.
- Is there space? How much space does your pet need? There are homes that have a ‘dog run’ or one can be installed. This is just a small area for your pet to have a bit of outside space. It would be too little for my large dogs but might be perfect for someone just letting their small dogs out for a few minutes to use the bathroom.
- Should you get a pool? For my next home, I desperately want a pool. However, I know the limitations of yard space in Florida and I may not have space for a pool with a screen and a yard with a fence for my dogs to get enough exercise.
- Should I rent or buy? A lot of homes here do not allow pets if you are renting. We get asked a lot from people about moving here for a year and renting and then buying a house. Renting with a pet is going to limit your search drastically.
- How would life be different with my dog in Florida? I can actually answer this one for you. Its great in a lot of ways….I have taken my dogs kayaking in Wekiva Springs, theres a dog friendly beach about an hour away from the Disney area and tons of dog friendly meet ups around Lake Eola on weekends. Some negatives are the heat, Florida is also the lightning capital of the world and with lighting – there’s thunder……my boys do NOT like thunder, to say the least. Also, the fireworks. There are a lot of fireworks in the Orlando area on a nightly basis and some dogs don’t respond very well to the sound.
What are some concerns you have about moving with a family pet to the Orlando area?
As always, if you are looking for a real estate agent and you are moving with a pet, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org