So I’ve been apartment hunting. And it’s not going so well.
Let me take a minute to profile myself. I’m a 26 year old white girl who grew up in Edgmont Township, Delaware County, PA, which is basically upper-middle class suberbia. I went to a pseudo-Ivy League college. I have a good paying, stable job, run my own side business, volunteer on the weekends, pay my taxes and am, in general, an upstanding citizen. I pay all my bills the day that I get them in the mail and have a near-perfect credit score. I am a self-professed clicker trainer who attends seminars on responsible dog ownership and yes, I do believe in crating my dog during the day while I’m working. I don’t party or have that many friends, unless you consider a bottle of wine and a plate full of nachos while watching Top Gear on a Friday night a party.
In short, I’m not a hooligan. I would, in fact, be a perfect tenant. I’m a quiet, well-educated, reserved, twenty-something year old who pays her bills on time.
So why can’t I find someone who is willing to rent me an apartment? Because I’d like to foster a pit bull or a German shepherd. Yep.
And here’s where the problems start. I search online for “pet friendly” apartment complexes, find one that’s in my price range, looks halfway decent, and isn’t too far from home, and call them up. They’re always excited to talk to me, what am I interested in? Would I like to tour the facility? They have this and that and the next thing.
Then I ask the question: “I’m very active in rescue and shelter work. I want to move somewhere that will allow me to foster an animal – what’s your pet policy?”
The answer always starts out cheerfully, “Yes, we’re pet friendly, we allow dogs and cats of all kinds.”
“Do you have a weight limit?”
I get one of two answers here, if it’s a yes, I normally end the call, but many of the apartment complexes I’ve checked out have had a very proud, almost haughty, “No, we allow dogs of all sizes!”
“Do you have a banned breed list?”
The voice on the other end pauses, then there’s a less friendly, “Yes, we do.”
“And are German shepherds on it?”
A little more hostile now, “Yes, they are.”
“And I’m assuming pit bulls are as well?” (Despite the fact that pit bulls ARE NOT actually a breed).
The real hostility shows up next and there is an emphatic, “Most certainly!”
I grit my teeth and say, as politely as I can, “Thank you for your time, but I’ll keep looking.”
Sometimes, before I can ask a specific breed, the person on the other end of the phone begins rattling off a list of breeds. This person must take a deep breath before they rattle off their list of “limited exceptions apply.”
These “limited exceptions” I’ve found to include (but not be limited to): Akitas. Chow Chows. American Pit Bull Terriers. American Staffordshire Terriers. American bull dogs. English Staffordshire Terriers. Dalmatians. Huskies. Doberman Pinschers. Rottweilers. German Shepherds. Great Danes. Bull Mastiffs. Malamutes. Wolf Dogs and wolf dog hybrids. Belgian Malinois. Boxers. Bull Terriers. Cane Corsos. Dogo de Argentinos. English Mastiffs. Oh and any combination of the above.
So when these apartment complexes say, “All dogs up to 100 pounds welcome!” and things of the like, perhaps, what they should REALLY be saying is, “All dogs under 30 pounds, labs and golden retrievers welcome.”
To put it into a photo essay:
Never mind that these are all completely lovely dogs and the only one who has bitten me has been the pug. Never mind that.
As a sidenote, if anyone knows of a place that will allow me to have a dog WITHOUT “limited exceptions” in the Media/West Chester area, please email me!