Last night had been very enjoyable. Both Hazel and Charlie were glad they had left the house for a bit to see their dear friends. Hazel seemed a little more open to discussing the possibility of downsizing, but unfortunately, it looked like the only way she’d entertain the idea was if they moved specifically into Lloyd and Marilyn’s place. Charlie had suggested they call and make an appointment to find out more information, which Hazel surprisingly had agreed to.
Charlie sat on the couch with the phone to his ear, as he dialed the main number to Lloyd and Marilyn’s place. Cleo, their long coated black cat, was curled in his lap taking a nap as she often did in the early afternoons. She had been beside herself for the past little while without Charlie, as Hazel refused to have “The Cat” up on the beds.
Charlie was soon greeted by a pleasant voice on the other end of the line, informing him that he had in fact dialed the correct number. “Yes, my wife and I are interested in finding out more information about your place. Our friends, the Fishers, moved in there…oh, about a year and a half ago when the place was brand new. We’ve had the five cent tour from Lloyd and Marilyn, but were hoping you could show us around a bit.” Within a few moments, Charlie had an appointment for them to meet with the site manager the next day for a tour.
Hazel had prepared a long list of questions, and was currently grilling the site manager on everything from “hidden costs” to the food menu to what chemicals they used to clean the carpets. Charlie strolled along behind them, trying not to get too involved. After six decades of marriage, he knew better than to interrupt.
She was currently ranting on about shoddy construction practices and how the walls nowadays were so thin “you could hear a pin drop in your neighbour’s place,” as he glanced out the window to see a young man approaching the entrance with a bouquet of flowers. He was walking a big, beautiful dog which looked to be part Dane. The man tied up the dog to a post outside the building and proceeded inside to drop off the flowers. Apparently his wife was working today, and it was her birthday.
“You should have brought the pup inside,” Charlie chuckled to the man as he was leaving. “I’m sure he’d appreciate a good pat from all the residents here.” The man just smiled, “Nah, Buster has to stay outside. There’s a no pet policy here at the Manor.”
Charlie’s heart sank. Surely the man must have meant that visitors couldn’t bring their dogs in because of some kind of liability nonsense. He hurried along to catch up to Hazel and the site manager. “Is that true? Are you not allowed to have pets here?”
The manager paused for a moment, and in a very rehearsed way proceeded with “Yes, that is correct. Unfortunately, we have residents with health considerations, which is part of the reason we have a pet policy in place.” Charlie stared at her awhile in disbelief. “But what about having them in your own suite?” Hazel looked a little annoyed with a face that told Charlie that surely there were more important considerations than his darn cat at the moment. “I completely understand where you are coming from Mr. Stewart, but what most people do not consider is what happens to an animal when you are no longer able to care for it. All too often, places such as ours see people having to unwillingly surrender their beloved pets when the time comes that they can no longer care for themselves, let alone their animals. It’s unfair to the animals, it’s unfair to our staff, and ultimately unfair to the resident.”
“What’s unfair is your stupid policy!” Charlie was angry. “Are you folks not aware that pets are family members nowadays? Heck! Hospitals have pet therapy programs and everything. And you folks can’t figure out how to get around this?” Hazel was still staring at him looking not the least bit impressed.
The site manager tried her best to diffuse the situation, “We do have a wonderful pet therapy program! The dogs come to us bathed, groomed and with proof of vaccinations. Pets can sometimes visit, provided they meet similar criteria. Unfortunately, we can’t allow pets to come stay here to live. Again, it’s for the concern of the animal’s wellbeing, and not meant at all to be unaccommodating.”
What should happen next? What are your thoughts on the matter? Should Charlie & Hazel work around the pet policy, or should they leave and look into other places?