Picture this.

Me as a young child, hopelessly in want of a dog.

My three-year-old brother, hopelessly susceptible to my wild ideas.

As a young girl, my family couldn’t get a dog. Since my father is an asthmatic and particularly sensitive to dog fur and dander, the prospect of a puppy was out of my seven-year-old reach.

The gears in my head turned as I tried to come up with a way to procure a dog for myself.

Suddenly, the idea occurred to me that my younger brother loved to play pretend and I, as a persuasive older sister, could settle for a kid-brother-dog instead of the real furry friend I wanted.

For months, my brother was content to crawl on his hands and knees and even eat out of dish on the floor (though my parents stopped that part of our charade quickly).

Eventually, we found a breed of dog that didn’t interfere with my father’s health and have enjoyed her company for sixteen years.

That is, until I came to Rexburg.

With all the hustle and bustle of college life in America’s Family Community, there seems to be a big member of our small-town family missing: dogs.

Sure, I see dogs here and there around the city, but the sightings are few and make Rexburg a veritable canine ghost town for college students.

As a single student, it was mildly understandable as to why single students didn’t have dogs (though I have plenty of friends at other colleges and cities with dogs). But, the reality of a dogless marriage was a little hard to swallow.

When my husband and I got married, we started dreaming of our future beagle child, Lucy. Searching for apartments that accept animals and (2) don’t require a down payment of your first born child, was next to impossible. Eventually, we had to set aside our dream and hope my remaining time at school passed quickly.

But, I have to keep asking myself – who kicked the dogs out? Why are there no dog parks, few dog-friendly housing options and eventual closing of companies who allow temporary rental of puppies?

I understand there are plenty who have that option and, sometimes need, through medically prescribed emotional support animals or even paying higher rent prices to accommodate the furriest member of their family, but what about us residents with low income or who don’t require medically or mentally prescribed animals?

The answer is two-fold. Those of us who don’t already own a dog are left wondering and wanting. But, then there are those who were lucky enough to acquire a canine companion and then leave posts like this on Facebook:

“We need to find a new home for our dog ASAP,” a post from March 15 read. “We just can’t afford the $500 to keep her at our apartment.”

No puppy love for the money-strapped college student family.

How about this ad?

“We have an emergency,” the Facebook user wrote. “Our apartment complex said that we cannot have a pet under 6 months old, or they will evict us. We need to find a loving home for our puppy, Luna….TODAY!”

Would we make the same stipulations for families with a baby younger than six months or our grandmother older than 90?

My guess is the complex’s concerns for the six month old puppy are along the same lines as a baby or an elderly grandmother, noise and sanitary reasons.

For thousands of years, we’ve called dogs “man’s best friend,” but we’ve seemed to left our loyal, four-legged friends behind. It’s not really our fault, but who’s going to explain to Fido that our love is constrained by the dollar bill, complex rules or even how young he is?

The city of Rexburg is a place thousands temporarily call “home,” but it will never quite feel that way without man’s best friend at our sides.

It’s time to unlock our community’s doggie door and let the dogs the in.