October 27, 2011

Dwelling with Pets

Many if not most of us planned to enter the mobile lifestyle. We did some research, talked to some people, maybe even had time for a test run. Turns out, we were lucky. Over the past year there have been hundreds of people forced into mobile dwelling out of necessity and many of them are less than prepared.

They aren't ready to give up their stuff, so they try to cram it all into their cars. They don't know how to stay clean, so they often run into hygiene problems. Today I wanted to touch on a subject that has been getting sporadic media coverage since the recession: Vehicle dwelling with pets.

Pets are family, even those of us who don't have pets can appreciate that, and when people find themselves houseless, thrust into a new lifestyle, the last thing they want to do is give up their furry friends. This means that people are not only learning how to take care of themselves on the road but how to care for an animal. Some people can pull this off, make it work, find a balance. Some people just can't make the necessary adjustments and it's not healthy for anyone. Here are some recent cases that made the news.
These are only a few cases, but there have been hundreds. Something that often does not make the news are all those people doing it the right way, people who have found the needed balance.
So, if you're thinking of mobile living with your pet, do some research, ask some questions, think about what will work best for you both. When consitering vehicle dwelling with an animal keep in mind
  1. How long with the animal be in the vehicle each day?
    • Do you work long days?
    • What's the season?
      • It's hard to keep a pet in the car during the summer unless you are prepared
  2. Will you be able to keep the animal (and yourself) clean?
    • Think about what your car going to be like with a litter box and if you'll have the time to keep it clean.
  3. Is there space for you to both live comfortably?
    • This ain't the Ritz! Some pets are better suited to small spaces and the lifestyle than others
There are plenty of happy vehicle dwelling pet owners, so don't feel like just because you're houseless you have to give up your buddy. Do, however, do some research and make the necessary adjustments to your space so that you can both be comfy.

If you are a vehicle dweller with a pet feel free to leave a comment about your system. First hand knowledge is always helpful!


      1. This is a great post. I have been helping my roommate of almost 4 years set up her new van/home. She and I both have a cat, and one of my initial concerns with her new lifestyle choice was what to do with HER cat. But she is already making plans for a litter box and minimizing smell. She even has a small plant living on the dash that is supposed to be one of the best air purifiers for indoor living. I told her that once we get settled into out new homes (which for her is the van, and for me is a small, currently unused camper trailer generously provided by a friend) I'll have to send MY cat for a sleepover.

      2. I so agree with you. I have 3 rats that may have to come with me. I know I have to make plans for them if they live to the summer. They are older boys. I have a large cage and may plan to shorten it a bit. I want to get a dog but....that will have to wait.
        About that cutie in the rear of the truck? I hope the bottom isn't metal? I saw that once . A friend and I had to call the police because the poor dog was circling ...he had no way to lay down because the heated metal bottom. The owner left water ...I swear it was boiling.


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