100504_pet_friendly_condo_2.jpgWhen we first got our shih tzu Papi, we had to smuggle him into my husband’s (then my boyfriend) condominium building by placing him inside a tattered Nike shoebox. For some reason, the Ortigas Center condo’s homeowners’ association woke up one day banning pets from the building—even if it was allowed in the past.

But everyone knew there were dogs all over the condo. We’d hear all sorts of barking from the same hall or every time the elevator door opened on certain floors. Still, we’d place Papi inside his bag whenever we went in and out of the now-decrepit building. On occasion, I’d have the nerve to simply carry Papi in my arms—but only if I was leaving the building. One time I tried to pull the same stunt entering the building and the security personnel wouldn’t let me in “because the homeowner’s association would see me.” I ended up placing Papi in his bag and finding a way up to my boyfriend’s floor through the parking elevator.

I’m pretty sure homeowners’ associations or building administrators have valid reasons for not allowing even the smallest animals in their buildings, which include:

1)    Dog owners that don’t know how to pick up after their dog’s poop
2)    Dog owners that let their dogs loose or don’t try to restrain their pets when they play a bit too rough with strangers

Is that it? Well, dogs can cause damage to property—but so can careless people or little kids. They may have grounds for disallowing pets on their property, but how come there are other condominiums that have the heart to allow pets in their building?

When my boyfriend moved to his second apartment in Mandaluyong, we made the mistake of assuming that we could get away with the same dog-smuggling strategy in the building. Turned out even tropical fish weren’t allowed inside the units! But what really ticked us off was when we were taking our guinea pig Taco (may he rest in peace) inside the building and the security personnel stopped us from doing so. Sure, they were just doing their jobs, but they didn’t have to utter such inane comments like, “Dumadami iyan pag nakawala, hindi ba?” Goodness, a guinea pig isn’t a freaking rat—much less a Gremlin. I ended up sneaking in Taco by way of LeSportsac.

It was a difficult year of praying to high heavens that our poor Papi wouldn’t bark, or at least wouldn’t bark too loud. He was little by little outgrowing his carrier and we even had to resort to feeding him treats through the bag’s zipper hoping he wouldn’t bark in the elevator, especially if someone else was in it. Each time someone entered the elevator with us toting Papi, we’d hope that person wasn’t a “hater”—someone who disliked dogs enough to rat out on us.

We couldn’t wait for my boyfriend’s lease to expire.

100504_pet_friendly_condo_1.jpgEven if my boyfriend’s contract had at least three months left, we started scouting for a pet-friendly condominium. We were already planning our wedding, and since I had a rabbit, another guinea pig, and a hamster back at my parents’ place, we couldn’t afford to live with the misery of trying to hide the pets that we so loved. Every time we inquired about a place, the first thing we’d ask was if they allowed pets in the unit or the building. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) that there are so many condominiums that don’t permit dogs. In Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong alone, only one out of four condos authorizes dogs (not the bomb-sniffing kind) on their premises. Those in Eastwood are dog-friendly, too, but the area’s distance from workplace defeated the purpose of renting a condo.

As they say, third time’s the charm. I’d heard of co-workers with pets living in the condo across the street from my boyfriend’s, plus this weird but true story of how one tower in that cluster of condominium buildings didn’t allow pets, while the other two did. So, after many viewings and lots of haggling, we finally found our pet-friendly home. We never thought that Papi running to the elevator like a fugitive, tongue wagging and all, whenever we opened the door for deliveries would bring us such joy.  

Dog-friendly hotels are another story altogether. I only know of two in Metro Manila: Somerset Olympia in Makati Avenue (for a fixed cleaning rate of about P5,000 regardless of how long you stay at the hotel) and Fraser Place in Salcedo Village. Needless to say, I picked the latter for my bridal preparations for obvious reasons.

How about you? Do you know of any pooch-friendly condos that fellow dog owners could consider when looking for a new place?
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