I’ve been suffering from déjà vu this week. It happens a lot when you rent, or at least it does to me.
My son has been asking for a pet; perhaps not every waking hour, but certainly at every opportunity. From the moment he comes down to breakfast to last thing at night. There is a certain tone he uses so I can predict what it is he’s going to ask “can I have a pet” and when I say no, he asks why. It has reached the stage where I have a stock reply,
“For the same reasons that I gave earlier/this morning/last night/yesterday/last week/last year”
You’d have thought he would have got the message by now but perhaps he thinks the constant asking will wear me down until I relent.
The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association (PFMA) estimates 40% of the UK households have a pet & the pet population stands at around 57 million
Of course it does wear me down, sometimes I despair especially if it has been a long day and all I want to do is collapse. It also makes me feel like the meanest most unkind mother in the universe. Particularly when he reminds me that I grew up with a menagerie including chickens at one point. Reassuring him that I would love to have pets, including chickens and when we have our own house we will, simply doesn’t wash.
Because I’ve been saying it for years and he’s been asking for years.
Because that has always been one of the many restrictions placed on us as tenants renting from private landlords. All they are thinking about is the next tenant, how quickly they can move them in after the old tenant has gone and how little work they want to have to do.
Our current tenancy stipulates:
Not to keep any cats or dogs on the property. Not keep any other pet, animal, bird, reptile, fish, insects or the like on the Property, without the landlord’s consent
A previous tenancy stated:
Not to keep or allow to be kept on the Property of any part thereof any animal, bird, fish or reptile without the written permission of the landlord
Looking back at our other tenancy agreements they all say the same thing and every time my son asks me if he can have a pet, I repeat this mantra
We are not allowed
We did have a gerbil once, the same son was so desperate and at the time we thought our days of renting were numbered, so it was a good idea to test my son’s animal responsibility ready for the pet proper. But gerbils aren’t much fun and anyway he didn’t live long.
The RSPCA says: Dogs and children can be great friends and having a dog can help children develop kindness, understanding and respect for living things. Dog companionship can improve a child’s social skills with people and caring for a pet can encourage responsibility
There are many people who say ‘oh but it’s not the bricks and mortar, it’s the people, it’s enjoying your family and not thinking about never being able to call it your home’. But to every one of you who say that, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
We have no memories of ‘remember when H first climbed those stairs’ or ‘remember when J used to make a camp in there’. Our memories are of each problem in each house, of each move, of every unreasonable landlord or agent and of every pet we have never been allowed to own.
But at least one of my repeated chants has seen a change this week. There’s a government petition ‘Making paying rent enough proof that you are able to meet mortgage repayments’ which as you will know if you’ve read my previous posts, is something I have been saying for years. There were over 120,000 signatures as of 4 March which means it has at least jumped through one hoop.
But I have the feeling my pet déjà vu will continue for a while longer.
Here is the petition if you would like to sign it https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/186565