Saturday, 15 September 2012

Medium Sized Dog --> Small Dog

Reading this article titled “the size of your dog could depend on your landlord” made me laugh a little, thinking about our experience renting a dog-friendly apartment in preparation for getting Hayate. We moved into our previous apartment (yes, we have moved three times in four years) because our first apartment did not allow pets and we had decided to get a dog; a black shiba inu to be precise. We searched for a dog-friendly apartment, found one, applied and were accepted. The day I went into the real estate agency office to sign the lease they asked if we had decided on the breed of dog we wanted. I cheerfully said “a shiba”, at which point a dark cloud entered the room. 

“You can’t have a shiba” the agent said. “Shiba are medium dogs. Only small dogs are allowed.”
“That’s a problem,” I said, “because the only reason we are leasing this apartment is to get a shiba. No shiba, no lease.”

We stared at each other. I teach small children, he had no hope of winning that way. He dropped his gaze and pulled a note pad out of a draw. 

“Look” he said, dividing the page into two columns. “These are small dogs [he labelled one column ‘small’] and these are medium dogs [a ‘medium’ label appeared].” He began writing down breed names in the small column: chihuahua, toy poodle, miniature dachshund. “These are small dogs. Look!” and he wrote ‘shiba’ in the medium column. “Do you see? You can’t have a shiba, they are in the ME-DI-UM column.” He looked at me hopefully, as though I would finally understand now, having seen the magical columns.

“That’s a problem” I said.
“That’s a problem” he said.
“Muzukashii” I said (“lit. difficult”).
“Muzukashii” he echoed.
We went back and forth for a full hour just repeating that, over and over.
“I’m not renting this apartment unless you allow a shiba.”
“Shiba are not allowed.”

In the end, he snapped. He took out his pen, circled ‘shiba’ and drew an arrow from the circle into the ‘small’ column.
“If you get a mame (very small) shiba… I guess it would be a small dog” he conceded. I opened the contract and wrote “shiba” in the pet column. I did not write “mame shiba”. He signed it anyway. All up it took close to two hours.

When I told my supervisor at the Board of Education about the problem she was shocked… “why didn’t you just say you hadn’t decided and leave it blank, then get a shiba and not tell them?” but after I described the conversation the agent and I had engaged in her shock turned to respect. “Wow, you did battle! You out-muzukashii-ed him!”

I wish I had the piece of paper with shiba in the small column. I might need it for something else one day.

Hayate is not a mame shiba. He's actually quite large.

Kuri is a mame shiba... but how we came to have a second dog is a whole other story!

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  1. So, these really have nothing to do with your post (which amused me), but I thought you'd enjoy these.

    First there was this one:

    Which was shortly followed up by this longer version:

    These are the reasons why I both desperately want a dog and don't know if I should take the plunge.

    I hope you enjoy :)

  2. That's such a great comic! I've never had dogs before so I have no experience of watching them grow old and die. I'm not looking forward to it. But I know that I am giving them the best life I can.

    1. I have had dogs almost my whole life (save the past few years of grad school). The life cycle is tough, but new puppies help ease the pain. You never forget the old ones, but cuteness helps almost any situation.
      I just watched a documentary about dogs and I know you'd find it super interesting. "Dogs Decoded: NOVA"
      I hope you can watch it somehow.


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