I agree with just about everything that @MrsNeutrino: said.
1. Enlisted and Officer–While a college degree is one contributing factor, it is not the only difference between officer and enlisted. I know several enlisted military members who have college degrees and at least one commissioned officer who does not.
By definition a commissioned officer (Paygrades O1-O10) is one who has been entrusted with a role of leadership under the direct authority of the President of the US. (At least for US military members). A commission can be earned in a variety of manners. The most common is to commission as a result of time at an undergraduate insitution, whether a service academy (West Point, Annapolis, AF Academy, CG Acadmey) or through an ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Course). A second option is to commission and attend OCS (Officer Candidate School). Receiving a commission and going to OCS can be done by applying for a commission as a civilian when you first enter the service or enlisting and then applying from within the enlisted ranks to commission. In the Army going from enlisted to commissioned officer is called “Green to Gold”, you can google that for more information. There are other ways to commission but they are not nearly as common or even applicable anymore, such as a battlefield commission.
A warrant officer (paygrade W1-W5) is a commissioned officer who holds his commission from Congress, not the president. A warrant officer is usually someone with a particular skill/knowledge set that is considered a ‘professional’ in that field and receives the warrant from that.
An enlisted member is pretty much everyone who is not a commissioned officer. There exists within the rankings of enlisted members a point at which they are called “Non-Commissioned Officers” or NCOs. This means that they have achieved a level leadership within the ranks but that they do not hold a commission. The level of NCO is generally reserved for those in paygrades E5 and higher (it differs a bit from branch to branch).
Basically, paygrade=rank in the military. It is generally easier to speak in terms of paygrade than rank because an E4 in the Army gets the same pay as an E4 in the navy but have totally different ‘ranks’ and as such it can get VERY confusing. Paygrades start at E1 for enlisted, W1 for Warrant, and O1 for officer.
As far as being a spouse, rank ought to have very little to do with it. That being said, there is still often a division between Officer and Enlisted spouses. The division exists because officers and enlisted members are not allowed to ‘fraternize’. It is a rathy hazy, generic term that basically boils down to the fact that a commissioned officer really shouldn’t go hang out and become drinking buddies with the enlisted guys in his command. No matter if your husband is an E1 or an O9, it is considered quite crass to wear your husband’s rank as a spouse.
2. Housing is going to vary from base to base. (or post, I keep forgetting you are asking about Army! lol) Some bases are going to have a lot of really nice housing available, others will have very little and it won’t be all that great. Some places will have housing available immediately, others might have a waiting list of 1+ YEARS for on base housing. The big thing to do is just do your homework for the base. Call housing and see what restrictions they have, especially concerning pets. When orders are cut to a new command, a sponsor will be assigned. Ask the sponsor and the sponsor’s spouse what housing is like both on and off base, make a decision based on the base and not on a general “all base housing sucks/rocks”. I will say though, that most base housing offices have a pet limit. As such, with more than 1 or 2 pets it sometimes just becomes easier to find off base housing that allows pets. Again though, it will vary from base to base.
3. Taking care of pets is a lot like taking care of kids, except the military doesn’t care quite as much. When you are in the military, your time is NOT your own. You belong to the US Government for however long your contract says. That means that you could leave for the office in the morning, and could possibly find yourself in the middle of a mission and be gone for 2 weeks. You are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With a married military member with a civilian spouse, the onus rests with the spouse to care for any pets/children that the couple has. With a single military member the onus relies on the member to have back up plans in place at all times for car of pets/children. The single members I know tend to live in the barracks, no pets allowed, or with a roommate who can care for their pets in an emergency. The dual military couples I know have a close friend or neighbor that they can rely on to walk/feed the dog if hours run late or an emergency situation arises.
In short, your hours as a military member are NOT set. Very rarely will you have a position that has you in the office 8-5, Monday-Friday only. Even if you do have that as a ‘normal’ schedule, there will be exceptions to that.
4. Never having been through bootcamp myself, I cannot answer that. What I can say though is that if you are interested at all you need to go talk to a recruiter. They are the ones that can answer questions for you and point you in the direction of others to get a first hand experience opinion.
Feel free to send me a private message if you have any other questions.