Tiny homes have revolutionized the way people live. With rising prices and a growing need to escape the constraints of traditional housing, buyers have increasingly found that less is more when it comes to their places of residence. Some of these miniature constructions are smaller than 400 square feet, but they contain everything needed to live comfortably ... even when Fido is part of the family!
We spoke to Tina Orlando, owner of Backcountry Tiny Homes, about her tiny house that she shares with her partner, Luke, and their four dogs: Minnie, Sequoia, Whisper and Cedar. Over the years, the couple has fostered and housed more than 30 dogs, and their doors are always open for more.
Dogs of All Shapes and Sizes
“Living tiny with dogs isn't impossible, but it does take intentional action and an understanding of what your pets need,” said Tina.
“We have had everything from miniature breeds to giant breeds; disabled to able-bodied pups; dogs with behavioral problems to those who are well socialized; puppies to seniors, and everything else in between! I also build tiny homes that cater to pets, and our (four) dogs come to our build shop with us every single day. Heck, they even help us build tiny homes by retrieving tools and hardware for us during construction.”
Cheap and Cheerful
Although they now live in a tiny foundation home while they build their next dream tiny house, their first foray into the tiny world was located in Mt. Hood, Oregon on a 40-acre farm complete with hiking trails for their dogs to enjoy. The home was fully off grid and utilized solar, composting, propane and rainwater harvesting. The costs aren’t as astronomical as you might expect. In fact, they’re quite the opposite.
“In total, we spent $22,000 to build our home, which included a rather large solar system and rainwater collection unit,” said Tina.
“At the end of the day, filters, taxes and land rental costs $250 per month. We still paid off the home in just 24 months.”
A Dog-Friendly Design
One of the beauties of moving into a tiny home is the customizing. You don’t have to be a millionaire to design your home exactly to your desired specifications. Tina and Luke ranked their pups’ needs highest on the agenda while planning their mini mansion.
“The dogs were and have always been our biggest priorities. We made extra-wide turning spaces for the bigger dogs, a wheelchair storage area for Maya, a walk-in shower for easy dog showers, fold-down dog dishes, hidden toy storage, custom crate spaces that provided safe areas for each dog, and more. Most importantly, we made sure that our pups didn't lose space just because we were choosing to live smaller,” said Tina.
Cramped or Cuddly?
While Tina admits that the living space can be cramped at times, she feels the positives outweigh the negatives.
“The [dogs] don't spread out just because there is more square footage. So, making the home smaller didn't really make it more cramped for us. We consciously made the decision to rent farm land to ensure we had enough outdoor space and give them proper exercise so that once we are inside, they are looking to relax and grab a power nap on the couch.”
Tina is the owner of Backcountry Tiny Homes. Based in Vancouver, WA, Backcountry designs and builds tiny homes on wheels, specializing in pet-friendly and off-grid designs. For more information, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before you adopt this lifestyle, get a taste for it with a stay at one of these tiny pet-friendly vacation rentals.