Sunday, November 10, 2013

Rejection, bedbugs and a sliver of hope: Update on "About to be homeless"

An update on the ongoing search for a home that will accept Carol, Peter, their two sons and two dogs. Back story here: About to be homeless

Scoring a dog friendly apartment for a low income family in crisis? We all knew it would be difficult, but the nitty-gritty realities can be rather discouraging. On the plus side, since losing their home, Carol and Peter have avoided sleeping in their car and have been staying in a Motel 6 thanks to the incredible generosity of people who read their story on BR's facebook page. The bill has been $600 a week, and we're rounding the corner into the fourth week now.

Rocco the dog is deeply bonded with his people so did not take well to being left alone in the borrowed dog run, set up in a volunteer's yard as a holding place while Carol and Peter were away at work. He panicked and tried to chew his way out through the chain link during their absence, so rather than risk a lost dog, they've found a friend who will stay in their motel room and pet sit while they're out at night delivering newspapers. Unfortunately the room also came with some unexpected guests: a scourge of bedbugs chewed them up while they slept. The management moved them to another room and comped them one night "for the inconvenience."

By CA law, families cannot stay in a motel beyond 21 days, so they now need to move all their belongings out and find somewhere else to sleep for one night and start the cycle again, or find a brand new hotel. They've spotted one with much cheaper rates down the road so are hoping to give it a go for the next couple of weeks.

The apartment search has come with repeat frustrations. Each time they find what appears to be a workable dog friendly listing, they're asked to submit $35 non-refundable application fee. So far, they've spend nearly $400 in fees only to be rejected again and again. Despite these set backs, Carol has managed to keep a positive, upbeat outlook. She comes to Pit Ed class every week with the ever-improving Rocco and celebrates our homeless foster dogs' successes: Rhonda's new family signed adoption papers. Puddles and Nigel both moved into new homes. Harpo has a suitor. She smiles and cheers for their homecomings even though her own family is less than fortunate.

What's next? Peter is a veteran, so they've submitted paperwork for a loan to buy a mobile home so they can finally have a place to call their own. Everyone is keeping fingers crossed that they get approved. Carol's resourceful digging turned up a possible respite from the motel woes: Select veterans qualify for transitional housing which would put them in a real house until they can find something permanent. Will they get in? Another wait and see hurdle. Dogs aren't allowed here, though. Yet another problem to tackle. 

On so many occasions we hear people say "I would sleep in my car before I'd give up my dogs." Would you? Could you?

Not a job for the faint of heart.

UPDATE: Carol, Peter, their sons and dogs have bumped the ickiness of low-budget hotels and are now renting a room in a pit bull friendly house. It's tight quarters, but temporary. They're working steadily on securing a mobile home and hope to have good news to report soon ... By Christmas maybe? We can hope.
UPDATE Feb 15: Carol and Peter's momth-to-month room situation ended and they are now sleeping in their car with Rocco the dog. The search goes on for a permanent home that allows pets. Landlords: They can afford up to $1200 a month, and while their credit isn't great, they both work full time. Their dogs are calm, older and well loved. Rocco attends our weekly classes and is a first class gentleman with all. Here's hoping...

18 comments:

Dennise said...

This story is heartbreaking, but Carol and Peter are incredible people for what they're doing to keep their dogs. They are absolutely family.

Please keep pushing. They say God won't give you more than you can handle; everything is bound to be okay for such kind people. Take heart.

Robin Layton said...

People do say that and I think they don't understand the realities. It is terribly unsafe to sleep in your car so you wouldn't sleep well, there would be aches and pains, you wouldn't have a bathroom, you would never be clean, your spirits would plummet. It is illegal to just pee and poop in public and homeless people are not welcome to go into restaurants or stores to just clean up. You wouldn't be able to convince anyone to hire you looking like a homeless person and dirty. It would be harder than people realize.

Donna said...

Agreed Robin. It always a little upsetting to hear people champion the idea of living in their car as if this is the ultimate show of love. It's not safe for dogs to live in cars either - they're an open target for all kinds of urban dangers not to mention the very real risk of being confiscated by animal control (it's illegal in most states to house a dog in a car). The risks and discomforts for people are all too real too, as you pointed out. Thank you for listing those for readers who may not be aware.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of places to camp and if that is what it came down to, you'd find me at a KOA before I gave up my dogs. I wish more apt complexes were like mine. No application fee.

Anonymous said...

Bless them. Thanks for updating.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making people aware of the people who are going through a tough time in their lives yet want to do right by their pets. Also, thanks for reminding us all that adequate housing for families with pets can be a real problem in certain areas of this country. This story is also a reminder how we as a country need to do more for veterans as a whole when they come back from service and try to get a job, etc. I have no doubt with all the people rooting for this wonderful couple that their family will be able to stay together and things will get better for them. Thanks to all of you who are trying to help. It can only get better for them all.

Anonymous said...

I too, had a big problem trying to find housing here in Pa, with a disabled husband, 2 dogs (a female pit and a male German Shepherd), both who are on the "dangerous" dog list through most insurance companies here. I would, and will if it ever comes up, sleep in my truck with my dogs before EVER giving them away.

Anonymous said...

I would never, ever give up my dogs. Yes I would live in my car with them but would have to do something with them during the hours I worked. There is no way I would leave them in the car alone. 1) it would get too hot or cold and 2) pits have been known to be stolen from cars. Thankfully I have a mother who has plenty of room that we could all room in at her house if needed. I'm also thankful that I have the type of job that I could easily get a work from home job and move anywhere in the country and still have a job. Most people are not so lucky. But yes, my dogs come first...always. :)

Anonymous said...

I had the problem with applications and rejection due to having pit bulls. I found the best route to take was going through a private owner. I've found nearly every house I've rented on craigslist. Private owners are more likely to go by rental history than credit.

Darlyn said...

I have 10 dogs, with two of them being pit bulls. You are damn straight, I will sleep in my car, in tent, in a box cause there is no way in he-- I will leave my dogs. I once slept 8 months in the NM dessert because no one would rent to me and my family because I had 2 dogs. We stayed in a tent.

Barbie Doll said...

Absolutely! And i have... one year ago this month I was homeless and searching for a low-rent place that would accept me and my two dogs and one cat. I, too, stayed in a Motel 6 for a week, with a few different friends, and finally in my car. Every time I thought I found a place I could afford, I'd find out no dogs allowed, or only small dogs, or only one dog. Finally I found a place in a private home with a converted basement/studio and all my pets were welcomed! Sadly, my pibble mix died a couple weeks ago. I know my next apartment search will be a little easier now with a small dog, but I would NEVER give up my dogs.

Anonymous said...

Here is a post of advice from someone on my site: Amber Dalton: They need to go to a doctor and have him write a note that their canine COMPANION is a necessary part of their lives. This will make their dog a service companion dog meaning no landlord can legally tell them they can't keep their dog. I have a service companion dog to help me with anxiety and depression. My mom's service companion detects when she is having problems with her diabetes. He can tell when her levels become dangerous. Both dogs have never been formally trained as service dogs, but they don't need training to be a companion.....

Kathy said...

Feel so horrible,for this family, and the dog. I have an apartment in my house I would willingly GIVE to them, AND their dog, but I am in PA. If they wanna come here, I would happily let them have it!!! WIsh I could do more to help them, but being so far away...my heart just ACHES for their situation and their struggle. I pray for them and hope there will be a light at the end of the tunnel

Dianne said...

Thanks so much for the update, Donna. I have been worrying about these folks. How can I contribute to their fund - I still have some of my inheritance although unexpected dental work is cutting into it.

Dianne said...

Donna thanks so much for the update. I have been worrying over these folks. How can I make a contribution to their funding? I still have some $$ from my inheritance although unexpected dental work has chipped into it (Literally) !

Andrea said...

Yes, I would sleep in a car before giving up my dogs. There is simply no way I could give up my dear Rocco, Leia, Sandy Pawz and now Tank. These dogs are family. How can you turn your back on family?

I sincerely hope they find a home soon. Finding pet friendly rentals is really hard, even when you don't own a hot-topic breed like a pit.

Anna said...

If this is something they need and there's a place I can send a donation of dog food - I would be more than happy to send a bag. I can email you with my contact info.

Anonymous said...

Just like Anna, I also would like to help by donation. How do I contact then? Via BAD RAP?

Maybe Carol and Peter can pay in Craig's list and provide the link here.