ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

As the housing crunch continues to trouble our cosmopolitan desert community, a young couple has decided to make life much harder for themselves by getting a dog.

While having a dog doesn’t disqualify you from applying for a rental property in the Diamantina Shire Council area, any potential landlord can choose not to offer a lease and may look more favorably on applicants who don’t have one.

Penelope Cello and Rob Bent made the snap decision to get a rescue dog one morning and haven’t looked back.

Even after Frisbee, their juvenile dog of mixed origin, ate a sickly neighborhood cat and needed thousands of dollars’ worth of treatment from some highwayman of a veterinarian in the French Quarter.

“It took us about five years to save up $50,000,” said Penelope, a cafe manager.

“We’ve been set back about a year to eighteen months now because of Frisbee eating that cat. Between you and me, I was sad but ultimately ready to say goodbye when the vet gave us the quote, but before I could open my mouth, Rob was putting his PIN number in the EFTPOS machine at the front desk. My dad was going to kill him. Rob, that is, but he reckons he would’ve done the dog in for free, especially in this climate.”

“Then we had to go on holidays, and we couldn’t take Frisbee with us, so we had to put him in doggie daycare for two weeks. It cost about a grand. As much as childcare.”

But the hardest battle was yet to come.

“Our lease ends in a month, and the owner has indicated his son wants to move in, so we have to go,” said Rob.

“We’ve applied to about thirty places and heard nothing back from any of them. One agent got back to us, actually, and said if we could ‘get rid of the dog,’ then the owner might consider offering a lease.”

“We’d rather sleep in our car than give up Frisbee,” Penelope said, laughing and looking away.

More to come.


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