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Feeling Squirrely

Flying squirrels and his ex-girls



Hey McGuinty!

Our family just moved here from the East Coast, and we're having difficulty finding a place to live. It's never easy, but we wouldn't have guessed that having pets would be a proverbial scarlet letter amongst local realtors.

Allen, our 3-year-old flying squirrel, is cute, cuddly, has an incredible disposition (though he suffers from anxiety issues) and is one of the most well-behaved companions a person could ask for. He only flies where we allow him to and is extremely cautious of our furniture and belongings. (Such an angel!) But when we mention Allen to realtors, we are denied our potential home. Why is this? We thought Arcata would be an accepting environment for pets. Everyone seems to have a pet around here. Where do these people live?

Please help us, McGuinty! Our furry friend needs a roof over his little head.


— Forever Flying 


I'll be honest. At first I thought this letter was fake. A quick Google search, however, confirmed that flying squirrels do indeed make lovely pets, and besides, who's going to make up a question like this?

If you rented your last place, surely you got a letter from your previous landlord singing Allen's praises and citing how considerate he is while flying around. Right? If not, do it.

Either way, it's recommended that renters create résumés for their pets. I know it sounds weird, but is it any weirder than having a flying squirrel? I'd say they're equal.

I have a renter's pet résumé for my dog and it has been greatly appreciated by dog-weary landlords. I list her vet, her age and her vaccine schedule, and I explain that the only thing in danger of destruction is a box of Kleenex. The fact that it's true is certainly a bonus. I also have a doggy door and reassure landlords that she knows how to use it. Often the very fact that I created this strange document is all a landlord needs to feel confident that I'm a responsible pet owner. Usually his or her reluctance is more about the humans. Also, most of my landlords wanted to meet my pet prior to agreeing to house it. Offering to introduce landlords to Allen so they can experience his adorableness for themselves might up your chances of signing a lease. An offer of an additional cleaning deposit to further assuage their fears is a good idea as well. You know that Allen is no more destructive than a "regular" pet, but since you're the one that opted for a squirrel over a dog, the onus is on you to prove it.

I do hope you and Allen find a place soon, as I can't imagine this stress is doing his anxiety issues any good. Hugs to poor Allen.

Hey McGuinty!

I've been dating my boyfriend for about two months. We've known each other for a while, and I'm aware of just how many women he's dated prior to me. I wish I wasn't. This area is small and social circles cross. When we're out, I find myself counting his exes in the room and it makes me uncomfortable. He's friendly with many of these women, so I'm often forced to make small talk with them, which I also dislike. I don't even know if I have long term potential with him, but how do I deal with this?

— Disgruntled Girlfriend


Humboldt is indeed small, and depending on your ages, either you or your boyfriend could have acquired quite a few exes over time. Everybody has a past, after all.

As advice columnist icon Dan Savage often says, "Every single relationship you ever have is going to fail — until the one that doesn't." Keep that in mind when you're stressing over how many exes your man has. It doesn't necessarily mean he's a player or unable to commit or ... anything. It just means none of those relationships worked out. Maybe this one will. Maybe it won't. But getting all scowly and jealous when you find yourself talking to one of his exes is a great way to ensure that it won't. He's with you now. Let that mean something. Also recognize that remaining friends with his exes speaks to his maturity and suggests you're dealing with an actual grown-up. I'd be more wary if he were listing the reasons why they're all crazy rather than treating them like human beings. This bodes well for you.

That said, if talking to these exes gives you that sick-to-your-stomach feeling, you do need to speak up, if for no other reason than to be heard. Great relationships aren't built on pent-up resentment. Without anger or judgment, try to express that long conversations with these women makes you uncomfortable, and try to understand why. It's never wise to forbid your partner from doing something or speaking to someone. Rather, I'm suggesting you put the issue on the table for discussion to find out where your feelings are coming from. Trying to figure out why you feel something is often the best way to solve the issue.

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