Belly Rub

“[P]et owners, especially those with large and less-than-beloved breeds of dog, say it has become ever harder to find a welcoming apartment….  Buildings have rules about pets for many reasons. The very young and the  very old may be frightened of animals, especially those that look  menacing. Owners worry about property damage. Barking and howling can  make life miserable for everybody.” — The New York Times


ISSUE: Should we approve the application of SPOT JONES to purchase an  apartment?

BACKGROUND: SPOT JONES is a 6-year-old Dalmatian with a solid job at the  local fire station, good credit history, and no criminal record. He  seeks to rent a one-bedroom for himself and his pet human, Arnold, age  28, no history of biting. The question up for discussion is whether we  want to allow humans in the building.

FIFI voiced concerns about humans’ limited need for sleep. She is  worried about being woken up from her morning, afternoon, or evening  naps by noise. The building rules, of course, require quiet between the  hours of 6AM-noon, 2PM-6PM, 8PM-midnight, and 1AM-5AM, the optimal  sleeping schedule for all species. As long as Arnold can abide by these  generous restrictions, Fifi has no problem approving.

MAX wanted to call our attention to the potential for increased trash in  the building, since humans are known to generate unusual amounts of  garbage, especially with regard to food scraps and packaging. The room  cheered at the mention of food scraps, and Max urged us to consider this  as a point in favor of allowing Arnold to live in the building. Max also  moved that we provide additional snausages at future board meetings.  Motion was seconded and approved unanimously.

BUSTER expressed worry about increased water bills in the building,  having heard a rumor that humans require daily bathing, even the ones  who seem to have an aversion to rolling around in mud. Discussion  followed, concluding that this daily bathing requirement is clearly  symptomatic of a serious medical issue and it would be unfair to assume  that Spot’s human would also have this strange, disturbing need.

DAISY raised a question about whether allowing a human in the building  meant that we must also allow the evil man from the postal service to  visit, and, if so, whether it would be permissible to maul him. We  quickly voted to separate these issues from the underlying question, and  that if Spot’s human needs to engage in any business with the postal  service, he would be required to do so at a separate location.

RUFUS insisted that we need to address the issue of toileting, and  whether there would be any way to restrict Arnold from the disgusting  human inclination for toileting indoors. Discussion followed, concerning  the grotesqueness of toileting in the same place as one eats and sleeps,  and what would possibly prevent a human from wanting to toilet outdoors,  like a civilized creature. Rufus urged that we address the issue with  Spot, and see if he would be able to hydrant-train Arnold before they  move in and he soils our pristine home with his poop.

BO asked if we can address the issue of fleas. He also wanted to know if Arnold would be allowed off-leash in common areas. We said we would  pursue these questions with Spot. Finally, FRANCESCA wanted to know if  Arnold was properly neutered– the last thing we need, of course, is to allow one human into the building and end up with a whole litter.  Assuming Arnold has all of his vaccinations, we proposed to bring the measure to a final vote.

Just then, ROVER spied Arnold in the lobby, giving Spot what looked to  be a stupendously extraordinary belly rub. Fifi immediately withdrew her  concern about sleep, Rufus insisted we reconsider our worry about  toileting, and we all joined Arnold and Spot in the lobby, unanimously  voting to allow Spot to purchase the apartment under the condition that  belly rubs are provided for all.


Jeremy Blachman lives in a pet-free building, except for the cat his  neighbor is secretly harboring. Read more from him at or follow him on Twitter @jeremyblachman.