Hey, everyone. How’s it going? In my last post, I gave a list of questions you should ask a potential roommate before signing your life away for a year. One of the questions that I forgot to ask several of my roommates was the one about pets. Now, I love animals (especially cats) and I’ve had pets most of my life, so I didn’t think twice when my roommate Jane told me she was adopting a dog. I was actually excited about having a dog in the apartment, and offered to help with walking it and feeding it whenever she needed as long as she would let me play and cuddle with it.
So Jane brought “Ripley” home about a week later from the animal shelter. He was very timid at first and decided that the corner of the couch was where he was going to set up shop. Jane wasn’t given any type of back story on this pup, so there’s no telling what kind of life he had before ending up at the shelter. Jane was determined to get Ripley to come out of his shell so she would spend every free moment talking to him, trying to get him to play, and brushing him. She was obsessed with brushing that dog. I’m surprised she didn’t brush all of his fur off of his back. He seemed to like it though, so she kept brushing him.
It took about a month before Ripley really started feeling comfortable around both of us. He was a good dog and always wagged his tail and barked when we got home, like he was saying “Hello”.
About a month later, I came home from class one day to find Jane sitting on the floor in the living room with Ripley and two other puppies. They were the cutest little things I had ever seen, until she informed me that she had adopted both of them that morning. My mouth dropped to the floor I think. I mean, one dog is fine, but three dogs? In a small apartment? Two of them are puppies? All I could think about was what a nightmare this was going to be, especially because I knew she would expect me to help with them.
I asked Jane why she didn’t talk to me about her decision before bringing two puppies home, and all she said was that she didn’t think I’d mind. It took me a few days to cool off about her rash decision. They were really cute puppies and I couldn’t stay mad for long, especially when they’d snuggle up next to me on the couch and give me sweet puppy kisses all over my face. Ripley liked them too, and you could tell that he felt important, like the big brother trying to teach them the ways of life.
So Jane kept the puppies gated off in the kitchen when we weren’t at home and was trying very hard to potty train them, but wasn’t having much luck. She put puppy pads on the floor and they would shred them up. I can’t tell you how many times I came home and walked through puddles. It was very frustrating, but I knew it was a phase that they would hopefully grow out of very quickly.
Fast forward a month or so. The puppies were potty trained and Jane let them roam around the apartment during the day at this point. I had suggested that was a bad idea, but she always said that Ripley would keep an eye on them and “keep them out of trouble”. Boy, was she wrong.
I came home from class one afternoon to something that will be forever etched in my memory. I opened the door to the very very strong smell of feces. It was so strong I thought that the toilet had overflowed. I walked through the hall to the living room to find all three dogs laying on the couch, our throw pillows shredded, and our carpet completely covered in poop. Not just a couple of spots here and there. I’m talking about at least a 7′ by 7′ area of completely soiled carpet. I was so taken aback, I didn’t even notice the fact that all three dogs were completely covered in it as well. I called Jane and told her she needed to come home ASAP to take care of her dogs and I went and locked myself in my room.
Of course, Jane didn’t seem too concerned about the horrible mess when she got home. She cleaned up the dogs and then got to work on the carpet and the couch. When I came out of my room a few hours later, she was still on the floor scrubbing and the carpet looked the same as it did when I got home. I told Jane that she was going to have to call in some professionals to clean the mess, that I could not stand the smell any longer, and that I was going to stay with my mom for the night.
When I left, I remember thinking to myself that not even the best carpet cleaning in Birmingham would be able to take care of this problem. I was right, once again. Jane told me they took one look at the floor and told her it was going to have to be replaced. At least they didn’t take her money. I mentioned that the pet deposits would help cover the cost of the carpet and that’s when she informed me that she hadn’t paid any pet deposits and that the apartment managers didn’t know we had three dogs.
So, on top of having to pay for new carpet, we were responsible for three pet deposits plus fines for each pet that we had not registered with the apartments. We were told that we were in violation of our lease and that if all of the money was not paid within a week, we would be evicted. I knew Jane didn’t have all the money to pay, so I had to loan her over half of the cost. It took her three years to pay me back, but at least she paid me back.
Needless to say, I’ve been very wary of roommates adopting animals ever since.
Until next time,