It is a long time since I have been in one place long enough to have a pet. I am just coming to the end of a second stint of pet sitting. The little dude I have been keeping company rocks.
Despite knowing that pets can contribute hugely to happiness, it seems there are a few basic requirements that have to fall in place first. You can't really be wandering around too much. My family had a dog named Milligan. After Spike. Whenever we went on holiday and had to leave him at the kennel, we would come back with him having lost a bunch of weight. Besides the cost, the guilt with the poor guy not knowing when we were coming back wasn't great. If you have a great support network, then presumably the dogs can stay with someone they know. I have spoken about the advantages of communities in terms of meals and helping with kids. Pets would be another tick. If you live in an area or arrangement where the pet is effectively shared, then you wouldn't have to worry about flexibility.
A friend of mine absolutely loves pets but for all the reasons above, hasn't been able to get one. When talking about shared spaces, we were trying to think of how you could introduce pets. There are plenty of pets at RSPCAs in need of attention, often from people who underestimate the commitment. Perhaps a little sharing would help.
Once all the pieces fall in place, the simple affection you get is rather intoxicating. Whatever your choice of company. Some go for the big dogs who they can run with. Some go for the little dogs who look at the leash with a smirk. Whether a pet or a person, the unquestionable knowledge that your company is appreciated is warm and fuzzy.