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Do You Take Pets?
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My middle son will be attending a four-year college this fall. He studied in local community colleges, before being accepted at one of the state’s best engineering schools. His acceptance came late in the spring, and the dormitories were already full. but because he is a transfer student, he is not required to stay in the dormitory. So, he is seeking an apartment.

I had accompanied him on the two days that the transfer students went through orientation. It was recommended.  Besides, I thought he would probably need to draw upon the First National Bank of Dad. After two days of orienting, learning the rules of the college (and even going though yell practice—honest), registering for classes and buying books, my son was ready to find a place to stay. He had researched the area apartment complexes in the area before we arrived. He had a list of ones that had vacancies and were within his price range. The night before, in our hotel room, he identified four that were within walking distance of campus.


We visited each of the four complexes in turn. I got a surprise at the first one we visited. After touring the room, going through the terms and conditions of staying there, and listening to manager list the advantages of renting from them my son asked an unexpected question: “Do you take pets?” That startled me. While my family has a cat and a dog, the cat stays close to my youngest son, and the dog is mine. The manager asked him if he owned a pet.  He said, “No, but my family lives in Galveston County. If a hurricane comes through they have to evacuate. They might come here, and they have a dog and a cat.” The manager then explained the complex’s policy towards pets.

After we left, I told my son we would pay the pet deposit if we came up. He told me not to worry about it.

At the other places, the question was repeated. All took pets. The managers explained their policy.

At one, the manager stopped afterwards and said, “Hurricane evacuation is an emergency. If that happens, let me know in advance. We can work something out so you do not get hit by a big pet deposit.” My son made no decision that day, but promised to call back the next day. As we were driving home he told me which apartment he would choose. It was the one where the manager said to talk to her about the pet deposit.

“Why that one?” I asked. “It is not the largest or cheapest.”

“Internet and water are paid for,” he responded. “Besides, it seemed like the most professionally run place. It was the only one where the manager used common sense instead of blindly following the rulebook, too.”

“Where did you get so smart?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “I have hung around you a lot.”

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By Mark N. Lardas, copyright 2007, Mark N. Lardas, all rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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