Is it just me, or is my mom’s new retirement community trying to prevent dogs and cats from visiting the residents?
Here’s the deal. Mom moved into a well respected, truly luxurious high rise retirement community. She paid a terrific sum for admission and looks forward to paying more in monthly rent than a two-bedroom in Manhattan. (Really! I looked it up.) Don’t think of an old folks’ home; think of a cruise ship anchored in a city. A seniors’ cruise. Considering the lifetime of coupon clipping and cautious money management she and my dad went through, she deserves the lux and comfort.
Speaking of comfort, what about having her dog visit? Mom was so sad to give up Sophie, her Mini Schnauzer companion for the past eight years, but she knew she couldn’t keep the pup cooped up in an apartment, not when Sophie revels in romping around a large yard. So Miss Sophie came to live with us and her brother-rival Chip. That was last week. Now it’s Thanksgiving week, and Michael and I plus the doggies want to visit Mom’s spiffy new apartment and let Mom cuddle her Sophie for hours. Enter the Pet Policy.
The community’s pet policy has all the normal stuff, like wanting a copy of vaccination records, proof of current rabies shots, and the vet’s contact info. Petco wants that for grooming. The retirement place also wants us to promise to walk the dog outside and to clean up after it – cool – to take responsibility for any damage it does – of course – and they want you to have $10,000 liability insurance covering the pet – what? It turns out our homeowners’ policy includes that, so we’re still cool. Then they want a signed statement from the vet saying the animal has been fixed (already covered on the rabies cert, guys) and that it’s healthy and has no communicable diseases. So basically they want visitors to take the dog/cat to the vet for a checkup before every visit? Plus the community wants an affidavit signed by the pet owner saying in case of emergency the Administration can first call two of our friends to come and get Fido – and these friends have to sign too – or they can have the pet removed and boarded at the owner’s expense. Um, we’re just visiting, not moving in, so … seriously? Then we get to this gem:
Under no circumstances are visiting pets to be left unattended in the apartment or outside on the resident’s balcony at any time. Pets left unattended will be considered an emergency and reported to appropriate authority for removal from the premise at resident’s expense.
Are we visiting an inmate at Huntsville or Mom in her retirement home? …her own private apartment …the place with walls and a door to contain the rock star-style trashing these 18 pound hounds will rain upon it, while the humans are away, carelessly eating lunch.
Skim the policy for yourself. Would the mythical reasonable man find this reasonable? 22.214.171.124 Pet Policy for Visitors and Application-PDF Version.pdf
Everybody knows that dogs calm people down, make us happier, and keep us healthier. With what this saga is doing to my blood pressure, I need to go hug a dog. Make that two.
November 30, 2013: While the Pet Policy remains, I did learn that it’s the residents, not management, who strenuously object to pets on the premises. All I can guess is that it’s a small but powerful minority of residents who feel such hostility toward four-legged companions. In the end, we were allowed to bring Chip and Sophie for a visit, and we obediently carried them in our arms down the hall and in the elevator before allowing paws to touch floor. Only one resident gave us the “hairy eyeball” and a brief inquiry as to who we were. Everyone else we encountered cooed the usual “Aww!” and “Oh, they’re Schnauzers! My son / neighbor / sister has one, and they’re the best dogs!”
Perhaps something truly unpleasant happened once upon a time that turned the residents against dogs, and those who remain have not and will not get over it. This Thanksgiving, however, when elevator passengers mixed with dogs, nearly everybody got a case of the warm fuzzies.