Letter to a landlord

While scouring my e-mail archives for pictures of Scooby in his less-gray days, I ran across the plea I had to make to the landlord of my first Kansas City apartment so that my dog could live there with me.

At the time, Scooby had only been with me a couple of months. He had already established himself as a “marker” – particularly where my roommate’s laundry was concerned. But of course, I didn’t tell this to the landlord.

Here’s an excerpt from what I did tell him:

Scooby is a 7-year-old miniature pinscher. He weighs about nine pounds and rarely barks. In fact, because he’s an older dog, he basically just sleeps all day and snuggles with me when I come home at night. Because he’s a tiny, purebred dog valued at about $500, I would not be comfortable leaving him unattended on the enclosed patio off the apartment. No matter where I move, my plan is to confine Scooby to one room while I am at work (in your apartment, probably the bathroom), taking him outside for a walk over my lunch hour. Living in the apartment I’m interested in would allow us to go for our walks without disrupting other tenants, since the patio gates open directly onto the sidewalk. A pet owner for most of my life, I’ve never had a lower maintenance animal than Scooby. His breed is known for being well-suited to apartment living and he definitely fits that bill.

Note that I also fudged on Scooby’s age. According to his previous owner, Scooby was already well into his senior years (like between 10 and 12). Since that’s a time when dogs are even more prone to having potty issues, I rounded way down.

Yup, I fibbed. I’m not proud of it.

I also assigned a monetary value to my rescue dog for who knows what reason. I think I wanted to suggest that I had high standards or something. (Because everyone who pays top dollar for a pedigreed dog turns out to be a responsible owner, right?)


Well, it worked. The landlord who really didn’t want a dog in his apartment looked at Scooby’s picture and believed my sugarcoated story.

Luckily, at that time Scooby didn’t actually have to spend much time alone in the apartment. Instead, he reported for mascot duty at the newsroom where I worked or he went along to a screenprint shop with my then-boyfriend.

That arrangement saved my first Kansas City apartment a lot of pee stains.

Have you ever had trouble getting into housing because you’re a pet owner? Share your story in the comments.


About crystalwayward

I live with two formerly wayward dogs. I care deeply about the environment, and I think gardening is a revolutionary act.

Posted on August 14, 2012, in Dogs, Dogtography, Random Life, Scooby and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I’m glad your letter worked! It was very well written. I’m wondering–what is an appropriate pet fee? I paid $300 non-refundable for 2 cats in a small one bedroom that doesn’t have carpet. I thought it was outrageous but when I first moved in, rent was cheap (but not for long). I’m wondering how landlords come up with these numbers.

    • I think $300 is pretty average these days. It sucks, though, when you pay that big of a non-refundable deposit for a very small place. Thanks for stopping by the blog! I hope your kitties are well!

  2. Good topic! I bought a house rather early in life to avoid this very conundrum. Before that though, in the time of few dogs, I put together a packet – vaccine records, obedience class certificates, even references for our dogs, and provided it to the landlord. I also built a fence (!!!!) out of my own pocket in order to keep my dogs with me. It was easier just to buy a house.

    Scooby was a lucky dude, and he could totally pass for 7 in that picture. 😉

    • You’re so on top of things. I can totally imagine you building that fence. Of course, having dogs and no fence is a sad situation. The fence was project number 1 after I bought the Wayward House!

      And, yes Scooby does look like a 7-year-old in that picture. I’m beginning to think maybe he really was. His backstory and “actual age” are so murky, anyway. It’s hard for me to believe that he is currently 15 – 17.

  3. We had to pay a 300 deposit when living in an apartment. When we moved to a duplex we had to pay extra each month. Owning a house works much better for us!!!

    • Wow. I’ve never had to pay extra, per month, but I think I have paid between $150 and $300 upfront for a pet deposit. To be honest, it was worth it. Between Scooby’s accidents and Luxor the cat’s pukiness, I’m sorry to say my pets truly did cause a little damage in the rental days.

  4. Yes, before we bought this place we were looking for a rental that allowed pets. We had been lucky prior to that and found a property manager that loved pets. We hard such a hard time trying to find a place that we opted to buy a home instead. We have big dogs, which made it even more difficult. If it hadn’t worked out, I don’t know what we would have done.

  5. I would have believed you 🙂

  6. I have. I understand the desire to not have an animal tear up the property. But I have always been willing to put up extra money for a deposit and forfeit it if need be. That’s how much it means to me.

    • I understand that desire, as well. In fact, we are considering renting out our house in the next couple of years and I seriously wonder how we would approach the renters-with-pets issue. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, but…

  7. I’m glad it worked out for you and Scooby.

    Seems the biggest problem with pets being allowed are those not so good pet owners who allow their pets to be destructive, same goes for motels/hotels and many other things such as attending public events in ones own city/town. It is the age old saying of “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch” so sad when there are so many of us responsible pet owners out there.

    • I hear ya. The bad apple thing sort of goes to the heart of the pit bull problem, too. A few irresponsible owners have wreaked havoc on that entire breed’s reputation. The thing about pets and property is that sometimes, even if you’re a pretty good owner with good pets, the animals can still leave their mark. Sometimes I look around the Wayward House and get bummed.

  8. We had a total ‘introuduction to our family’ pack for when we moved – with references from past landlords, a letter from our vet, all vaccination records (and that was just for mumma!). People are so pet-ist! It’s silly considering how many pet owners there are in the world. Imagine if landlords were more accepting of 4-legged friends? Then there might be less furry friends them in shelters. Just saying. Bella & Beary xox

    • It never occured to me to maintain an orderly packet of vaccination records until we began fostering Charlie Machete and wanted to be able to easily pass all of that info on to his forever family. Now, I can see how having those documents all in one place (as opposed to at the vet’s office) can be helpful at many other times.

  9. Hey I shared this post on our blog as well! Really cute post!

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    Mike Deathe CPDT-KA

    Muttz “R” Us/Kiss Dog Training


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    Kiss Dog Training

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    Muttz “R” Us

  10. Yes I have, when I moved here (NYS) from Philly. In my community we are only allowed small dogs, at the time I had Felix (RIP) and he was small ,not tiny but only 30 lbs. I also had BabyGirl who is not small but I said she was. BabyGirl at present weight is 63 lbs, (After being on her diet) at the time we moved here she had torn ligaments in her hind legs so she had gain a lot of weight and was about 75 lbs. I have never been approached about having to make “other arrangements” for her. I am a responsible dog care giver ( I hate owner as I do not own her I share my life with her) and I believe that is why I don’t have a problem with the community. Responsible Care is the Key and makes life so much easier for the person and the pet. I now have Midnight a Pit mix about 50 lbs and I still am in my community good graces! Happy Paw Dance because I really don’t feel like moving. I have been here 4 years with not 1 incident or complaint .

    • Good for you! You are very fortunate that between MIdnight’s size and mix, you haven’t had any trouble from your community. Your pups must be great ambassa-dogs!

      • Oh they are really good girls but if it ever came down to it I would move ,I have before and I would do it again. I guess I am just one of those people who just can’t make “other arrangements” with members of my family.

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