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Plenty of benefit to pet “partnerships”

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When the opportunity to write this column came up, I thought "What a great idea."
Every day I get asked questions about pets and pet care. This column will let me share those answers with a much larger audience and, in doing so, help make the pet partnership a more rewarding experience.

I like to think of the relationship with our pets as more of a partnership than ownership, although with some pets, ownership is more appropriate, and I don’t mean that the human is always the owner (love the old saying, "Dogs have owners, Cats have staff").  
When we look at animals as partners, we can better offer them the care they deserve, and derive the benefits that they can offer back.

It is a well-established fact that people who have a pet live longer, happier lives.  Recently, there have been many municipalities introducing laws protecting people’s rights to own pets.  
Urban centres which have apartments and condos with "No Pets" policies have had these policies challenged in court, mainly on humanitarian basis.  And, as long as the pet does not affect the quiet enjoyment of the other tenants, or pose a health concern, courts will back you up.

That’s not to say you can have a pack of wild dogs in your apartment, and in Manitoba there are provisions for landlords to charge additional damage deposits (up to 50% of the monthly rent) for pet owners to address pet related damages.  
A bill, Fluffy’s Law, was introduced, but failed to pass a few years ago here in Manitoba. It would have further assured the rights of pet owners.  

But as long as landlords and tenants work together, there is no reason why everyone can’t enjoy the benefits of having a pet.

There are all kinds of pets that can enrich your home environment, not just dogs and cats. A Betta fish, a hamster, a budgie, or even a non-traditional pet like a lizard or snake can add to a home.  

Interaction with a pet has a proven effect on stress levels and blood pressure, and there is nothing like coming home knowing there is someone waiting for you, with the unconditional love a pet can bring.

Jeff McFarlane of Aardvark Pets in St. Vital has served the pet community for 40 years. Contact Jeff with yoru questions or ideas at aardvarkpets@shaw.ca or visit www.aardvarkpets.com.

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