If I were looking for an apartment in Kirksville today, I would be in a tough spot. I share my life and living space with three dogs, one of whom weighs more than 50 pounds. When I look at the Classified Ads in the newspaper, I am discouraged by the number of property managers who specify “no pets allowed” or “one small dog considered.” Some of the best people I know are pet people, but nobody seems to want to rent to us.

I talked to an acquaintance in the real estate business about this concern last year. He explained that many of the apartments with newer construction aren’t ideal for dogs and cats because even a single accident can damage the budget carpeting and floorboards. I wonder if canines and felines are the only ones who ever have accidents. Couldn’t spilled milk from, say, a child or clumsy adult also cause such damage?

It seems like developers could build apartments for the way we live today. And the majority of Americans share their life with a dog or cat: according to a 2006 Gallup Poll, “six in 10 Americans own some type of pet.” And those of us who do are extremely loyal. Appeal to us and you could corner the market.

I’m thinking about this today because of the newly vacant lot on the corner of Franklin and Jefferson Streets. Wouldn’t it be great if the old Miller Building were replaced by the Bow Wow Building? Or kitty-friendly condos? I would suggest vinyl and/or hardwood flooring throughout the apartments, a contract stating clear expectations about the ideal behavior from tenants (human, canine, and feline), a little green space behind the building (or on the roof!), and a pet deposit.

That’s all it would take to get some grateful, happy, and long-term tenants.