When I lived in Sydney, I found myself in the situation of finding a flatmate after the break up of a long-term relationship. My primary concerns were to find someone who not only was reliable, responsible, and respectful, but who could get along with Moses, my Staffy baby.

Whether you’ve decided to share your space or you’re looking to move into an established home and there’s a dog, cat, or any other type of animal in the picture, be up front with prospective home-mates. Don’t fib about his size, her behaviour, how much he sheds, whether she’s completely housebroken, or suffers from destructive separation anxiety (If he’s a 200+ pound Great Dane, who barks incessantly, greets you like a footballer, and destroys the sofa when you step out to get the mail,  your best bet is to live alone).

I made it clear in my posting that I had a home to share and a dog who also lived there. During the initial phone interview,  I stated Moses was 100 percent my responsibility. My expectations from the future flat-mate was that he or she treat the dog kindly. My only request was that if he was in the kitchen and noticed the water dish was empty to refill it with water. In turn, my potential flat-mate had a set of questions: was the dog restricted to certain areas of the flat, was he allowed on furniture, was he fixed, and how possessive was he about having a new man in the flat?

The outcome of this shared housing experience turned out to be positive. My flat-mate preferred the dog stay off his furniture, and that his bedroom and bathroom were dog-free zones. Although he wasn’t responsible for any of the canine duties, he often volunteered to walk, play and feed Moses.

If you find yourself in a situation that you want a home-mate and there’s a pet in the scenario, consider asking the following questions that will make home sharing with human and beast harmonious:

  • What is the pet’s daily routine?
  • What areas will be animal-free zones or entirely off-limits to the pet?
  • Is the pet friendly and will he accept another creature in the household?
  • How much privilege does the pet have indoors (allowed on furniture and/or counters)?
  • How often is the animal left alone and who will be in charge of taking care of the animal?