Nurse can't find rental that will take dogs, forced to live out of her car

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Trying to locate a rental accepting of pets can be frustrating, discouraging, depressing and downright exhausting. That is exactly how registered nurse Sherri Cornelius, 46, feels as she consoles herself by focusing on her gratitude and appreciation pursuant to the fact that she was fortunate enough to be permitted to have her three dogs with her at the local hotel where she is now staying.

Visited at the hotel this past Sunday by a well-known (now retired) Warwick animal activist, who stopped by to see how she and her dogs were doing, Sherri was glad to share her story.

Years ago, while working as a CNA, Sherri soon realized that she loved being a nurse. Determined to make nursing her lifelong career, she worked two jobs while going to nursing school and became a licensed RN in 2006. She is certified in cardiac, orthopedic and pediatric nursing and has references from local hospitals such as Kent, where she worked five years. Obviously, employment is not a problem for Sherri; the fact that no one seems to want to rent to a person with dogs is her problem.

"What amazes me the most is that people don't even want to take the time to meet my dogs; they just say they don't accept pets, period, the end," she said.

Sherri has also been contending with scammers attempting to get her financial information. One person painted a beautiful picture over the phone saying he had a lovely house in Rhode Island with a large fenced yard and her dogs would be welcome. He instructed her to wire him a $500 deposit and he would send her the key. He claimed to be out of the country on business.

“There have been several similar contacts like that from different scammers," she said. Sherri, being wise enough not to be taken in by them, worries that those who are so desperate to find a place with their dogs may succumb to the temptation, making their situation even more unbearable.

Her Sunday visitor, who is now retired after 45 years in real estate and animal advocacy, has owned many rentals in Warwick as well as in other cities and states. Her rental advertisements were easily recognizable as they always read: "Your pets are loved and welcome here." Her message to landlords today is, "As long as you interview the dogs and find that they are well-cared for, trained, clean, healthy, spayed and/or neutered with shots up to date, you undoubtedly have a responsible pet owner who will most likely be an equally responsible long-term tenant."

She went on to say that she has had tenants in the past who stayed as long as 15 to 20 years simply because they felt secure and content knowing that their pets were not only welcome, they were loved and wanted.

In the case of Sherri's dogs, her visitor describes them as about 10 years old, settled, well-behaved, non-destructive, happy, clean, spayed/ neutered, etc., calm and welcoming to strangers, which was evidenced by their wagging tails and sloppy kisses that they were happy to share.

The visitant has been asked questions about Sherri and her dogs. The question of why she doesn't board her dogs in a kennel for the time being has been asked several times. Simply answered, the dogs are her babies. She rescued them from a terrible situation in Providence at just a few weeks old. She bottle-fed them, gave them love and security (she owned a home then) and they have never been away from her since. She explained that she could never put them in a kennel, not even temporarily, because it would really frighten and confuse them. She went on to say, "They wouldn't sleep, and neither would I." Animal lovers will have absolutely no problem whatsoever understanding how Sherri feels.

Sherri is hoping that someone with a small cottage or an apartment on or off their premises would be willing to accommodate her along with her dogs. To leave her a message you may call or text her at 401-316-4834. Perhaps there is land available where a motor home could be parked if Sherri is able to acquire one; a fence could easily be put around it at her expense.

There may even be someone who needs a private nurse. Sherri would certainly fit the bill; she is a very nice person, caring and sincere, no drugs, no alcohol and no overnight guests. The dogs are never in the yard without her being there. She has never had a complaint from neighbors and, for sure, even the hotel where she is now staying would testify to the dogs' good behavior. That's about as current a reference as you can get.

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