My friend is mad at me for asking her dog to wear a service vest.
February 9, 2019 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Out of the blue, my friend told me today she was annoyed with me for expecting her deaf service dog to wear a service vest when entering/leaving my apartment. I am not sure how to proceed.

I live alone at a studio apartment, and based on my understanding, my (large, corporate-owned) apartment requires service animals to wear their vests/have ID ready. When moving in, I asked the concierge about the policy, and was told that generally, all service animals (of guests or of residents) should wear their service vests when being in the building. My apartment's lease says that service animals are "authorized", but that ID would be asked upon request. To be fair, my apartment building, despite being built in 2010, does have some missing ADA/disability-catering bits, such as some doors not having wheelchair buttons to open, so I am not sure how "up-to-date" my apartment building corporation is with ADA laws.

My friend, let's call her Dorothy, is deaf like me, and she has a cute Yorkie dog, B, that is a service/deaf dog for her, in addition to being her pet. When she began visiting me last fall at my apartment, I asked her if she could put a service animal vest on B, when we enter and leave the apartment, only to reduce any potential headaches with the apartment complex. (The entrance hall of my apartment building side isn't monitored physically, but there are cameras at the entrance.) Dorothy agreed, and it hasn't been a problem at all up until now. She has visited with B a few times, each time with B wearing a service vest when entering/leaving the apartment.

Last night, Dorothy and I agreed to do a homemade pizza dinner at my apartment, then go to a party that I invited her to. As usual, Dorothy said she had B, and her service vest. No problem at all. When meeting Dorothy outside, I noticed B didn't have her vest on yet, so asked Dorothy nicely if she could put on her vest. Dorothy seemed a bit annoyed with my request (in hindsight, maybe I asked her a bit too abruptly/quickly). We entered the apartment, she put on the service vest, and all was good. We had a grand time, nothing was said at all about the incident, and she didn't seem annoyed or upset at all.

Today, she texted me a long wall of text, basically saying she was feeling very annoyed with my "distorted views" of requiring a service vest to be put on B, that she understood it was my apartment, but that basically it would be her final decision as it was her dog. Dorothy then sent me a link to an ADA legal sheet that said that wearing ID/vests were not required as per ADA law. She also said it was against the law for people to ask for ID of service dogs. She concluded that she felt very tired of the fact that it was always "decided to keep B's vest on without me really knowing of her rights." She did suggest not bringing B over next time, though.

I replied to Dorothy a text basically apologizing if she felt offended, and explained that I was still myself learning about the ADA laws, and that my knowledge of the ADA law in particulars to service animals weren't that deep, and that I was just following what the concierge told me to do, and that I did not realize it had bothered her. I also asked her why she did not approach this with me in person last night. I also explained that it was never my intention to trample on B's rights, or make it seem like it was required. I just did it because I thought it was what was the best thing to do, to protect myself. I told her I would clarify with the building manager with exactly what the service animal policy was, rather than relying on the concierge.

Dorothy said she would respond later. I'm still hurting about this, especially how she called my views "distorted" and said that I tend to worry about the worst case scenario (which is true, granted, but I really was just doing what I felt was right, given the information I had), and generally made it seem like I was the unreasonable/rude one by walking over B's rights (although she did not say that specifically). She also said she had taken B to various places (airports, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.) vestless, and never once was asked for the service animal ID. I was truly under the impression that all service animals wear vests at all times; my bad.

How do I make this right? This was unexpected, out of the blue (other than the very small, 2-second expression of annoyance on her face last night when asking to put the vest on), and doesn't make sense, because all the past times, she never had a problem or said anything, even always volunteering without my asking that she had the service vest with her. I have done my part to explain my rationale, but this still bothers me. Is there anything I'm missing?
posted by dubious_dude to Human Relations (46 answers total)
 
While you're not wrong, I think you're way, way overestimating how much people care about the dog in general, and specifically the dog wearing a service vest. You're not going to get evicted out of the blue for having a visitor with an un-vested service dog.

It's her problem (not yours) if the concierge says "hey you can't have a dog here" at which point she can say "oh, he's a service dog, see here <shows id/vest/whatever>".
posted by so fucking future at 8:43 PM on February 9 [30 favorites]


I’m not deaf nor do I require a service dog so take this with a huge grain of salt but I think 1. It seems to be a trend for people to claim that their poorly trained pets are “service animals” in order to get them into places where regular pets would not be allowed and 2. If you have an actual service animal (especially not a typical lab/retriever type) that it must get exhausting to push back and asset your rights to have a service dog with you at all times.

I don’t think either of you are wrong (I had an old landlord say that my roommate and I owed a second pet deposit in our rental when we vacated for her boyfriends dog that he had sometimes seen come over).

Again, I don’t think either of you are in the wrong, just tired of dealing with or trying to prevent dealing with bullshit in your own ways.
posted by raccoon409 at 8:50 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


She also said she had taken B to various places (airports, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.) vestless, and never once was asked for the service animal ID.

Yea, so have all my neighbors and their pets, who are definitely not service dogs. 99% odds are that people always think it's her random pet and just don't give a shit enough to ask her if it's a service dog.

And if Dorothy wants to get all legalistic about rights, you also have rights, and they include making whatever random requirements you want for her and her dog to come into your apartment, which you have done. Think of it as though you'd asked her to always wipe off the dog's feet before entering the apartment. Ok, maybe nobody else asks her to do that and it's not legally necessary, but if she has a problem with it she can bring it up to check you really want it, and then she can either live with it or not bring her dog. Getting pissy about it and then eventually blowing up at you is not an adult option, and she has no right whatsoever to visit your apartment without following your rules so that's not an argument she should pursue either.

As to whether she has to provide ID for her dog - no, legally she can only be asked (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Your apartment building almost certainly doesn't require that service animals wear a vest - the concierge was telling you that it makes life easier (for you/him/the animal's owner) if they do. You should feel free to follow up with the apartment, or you could decide that you are ok with just not having a vest on the dog, and remember that if the apartment management asks you about the dog they've seen entering with you, you can tell them it is a service dog for your deaf friend, and say what tasks it is trained to provide and that's enough evidence.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 9:20 PM on February 9 [17 favorites]


I apologize if I've missed something in your question, but is
there really any chance that the owners would really kick up a fuss if a pet entered the apartment WITHOUT a vest?

I ask because I live in a ~500 unit condo building and dogs walk back and forth across the common elements all day long without anyone batting an eye, as long as they aren't tracking mud about or jumping on people. Isn't it quite likely that B's dog would go unnoticed?

Based on your question it seems to me that you, rather than the apartment owner, are putting this requirement onto B. Is it possible she feels that you are pedantically following rules that aren't of actual importance to anyone else?

Again I'm sorry if I've missed something. I did read the question twice but for me, this seems to be the missing point (and I ask this with no intentional disrespect): who cares about a dog walking through an apartment lobby?
posted by cranberrymonger at 9:48 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


I don't really see what her problem is. Asking the dog to wear a vest is so incredibly innocuous that I can't help but think she must have been having a bad day or something.

In my country there has been a big problem with people pretending their dogs are service dogs, so I actually think it is a great idea for the dogs to wear a vest.

BTW I am a dog lover and have two dogs myself, so no I am not saying this just cos I don't like dogs or something!
posted by thereader at 9:54 PM on February 9 [8 favorites]


@cranberrymonger and @so fucking future, to answer your questions, maybe it's me being too risk-adverse or something, but the lease does specifically state that "non-authorized animals are not allowed in the apartment complex, even temporarily"...and cameras are at the building entrance, so I don't want management to contact me and ask what's up, "why is a random dog entering the building with you and your guest?" or even assess a fee or something. I don't know if the cameras are monitored 24/7, though. Our building is about 300-400 apartment units.

OTOH, the lease says animals are expressly forbidden in the pool area, but last fall, there was a "pet swim" day before the pool was drained, so who knows? Maybe corporate-owned buildings' leases are written to the maximum strictness/lack flexibility on paper, but actually aren't enforced as strongly in person/real life? I don't know.

I was just erring on the side of caution and wanted a vest to be worn in the public areas of the building, just to be on the safe side. I wanted to minimize anxiety on my part or any potential conflicts with management, if they did monitor the cameras and had questions. That was my intention. I do acknowledge that I can be very risk-adverse at times, though.
posted by dubious_dude at 10:02 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]


My apartment's lease says that service animals are "authorized", but that ID would be asked upon request.

It sounds like you are trying to make entering and leaving the building as smooth and stress-free as possible. Maybe encourage your friend to redirect her focus to the society that sometimes doesn't do a good job of respecting ADA rights, and a culture that can make it feel easier to clearly identify a service animal to help reduce potential drama and stress with neighbors, the concierge, and the landlord. It's not at all fair if your landlord has a lease provision that doesn't comply with the ADA, but it's your home, so it sounds like you are asking her to let you pick your battles.

You could get a lawyer to learn more about why your lease terms don't seem to match the DOJ guidance, and how to address the issue with your landlord. It sounds like your friend is asking you to agree to a legal risk, because if your landlord asks for ID and your friend refuses, your landlord might issue a notice of lease violation, and then you really would benefit from legal help with what to do next.
posted by Little Dawn at 10:05 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]


Not trying to threadsit, but here's the clause from the lease:

No animals (including mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, rodents and insects) are allowed, even temporarily, anywhere in the Apartment or apartment community unless we have so authorized in writing. If we allow an animal, you must sign a separate animal addendum, which may require additional deposits, rents, fees or other charges. You agree that an animal deposit is not a general security deposit. You must remove an illegal animal within 24 hours of notice from us, or you will be considered in default of this Lease Contact. We will authorize a service animal for a disabled (handicapped) person. We may require a written statement from a qualified professional verifying the need for the service animal, to the extent permitted by law. You must not harbor or feed stray or wild animals.

Also, the lease, in a separate section, says that I am responsible for the conduct of my guests. So, there's that.
posted by dubious_dude at 10:13 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


(large, corporate-owned) apartment requires service animals to wear their vests/have ID ready.

I got this far. This is illegal. Look up the ADA. Service dogs do not need to wear vests.
posted by Toddles at 10:57 PM on February 9 [14 favorites]


"We will authorize a service animal for a disabled (handicapped) person. We may require a written statement from a qualified professional verifying the need for the service animal, to the extent permitted by law."

It's not permitted by law, so ignore it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:02 PM on February 9 [13 favorites]


We may require a written statement from a qualified professional verifying the need for the service animal, to the extent permitted by law.

This is also illegal. They can nor request or require this.

I would honestly ignore your landlord and apologize to your friend for making her life a hassle. If your landlord or concierge causes an issue you can direct them to the ADA or a not very nice tenants or disability lawyer.
posted by Toddles at 11:03 PM on February 9 [10 favorites]


Jinx to Eyebrows McGee!
posted by Toddles at 11:04 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


No animals (including mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, rodents and insects) are allowed, even temporarily, anywhere in the Apartment or apartment community unless we have so authorized in writing. [...] We will authorize a service animal for a disabled (handicapped) person. We may require a written statement from a qualified professional verifying the need for the service animal, to the extent permitted by law.

That may be a vague reference to the Fair Housing Act:
Q35. Do apartments, mobile home parks, and other residential properties have to comply with the ADA?

[...] the Fair Housing Act applies to virtually all types of housing, both public and privately-owned, including housing covered by the ADA. Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers are obligated to permit, as a reasonable accommodation, the use of animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks that benefit persons with a disabilities, or provide emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of a disability. For information about these Fair Housing Act requirements see HUD’s Notice on Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-funded Programs.
It may be possible to resolve this with a letter to your landlord seeking the authorization, but nobody here can give you legal advice about how to protect your rights. You may be able to get free legal help with drafting a letter, and some state or local bar associations offer low-cost consultations as part of a referral service. It also seems wrong to require prior written authorization before a friend temporarily visits you with their service animal, but a lawyer in your jurisdiction could help review your lease, the applicable laws, and your options for protecting your rights.
posted by Little Dawn at 11:07 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I'm genuinely surprised that this section of my lease is illegal... I would have thought this being a big corporate-owned management company, they'd have that double-checked or at least know better :\

At any rate, wanted to make one thing clear: I have not yet gotten a complaint or concern or whatnot by management so far. I am just being proactive here, which is why I asked Dorothy if B could wear the service vest, to make things easier for myself and to ward off any doubts. Also, when I asked another concierge if preapproval of a service dog visiting would be an issue, I was told, preapproval was not necessary. So. I don't know, I guess.
posted by dubious_dude at 11:11 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Maybe corporate-owned buildings' leases are written to the maximum strictness/lack flexibility on paper, but actually aren't enforced as strongly in person/real life? I don't know.

Yes. The landlords want to protect themselves from any potential liability. My guess is that no one will care. But I would also guess that the building managers themselves are unaware that it's illegal, so, if they decide to make an issue out of it, you may have to deal with the headache of proving to them their request is illegal. My advice would be not to worry about it, unless approached, and then do what you think is best.

Best case, they kick you out for having your deaf friend visit you with their service dog, and an astonished judge awards you a lot of money ;-)
posted by xammerboy at 11:40 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


Maybe corporate-owned buildings' leases are written to the maximum strictness/lack flexibility on paper, but actually aren't enforced as strongly in person/real life? I don't know.

This seems likely, as it's the case with lots of leases and contracts - until and unless someone sues or complains or causes a stink, lots of "rules" in life aren't very strictly enforced.

I think you may not have had much experience with this yet in life, which may partly be why this feels very nerve-wracking to you. Although I would point out that if rules were as strictly enforced as your fear they are you would have been kicked out of some of your previous living arrangements by the authorities because holy shit they were illegal, not that you knew that at the time. (I remember some of your past questions.)

Also, the lease, in a separate section, says that I am responsible for the conduct of my guests

All leases say that. Again, in the real world, this becomes an issue when your guests are shooting bottle rockets out your window and pissing in the bushes. Not so much when a leashed Yorkie is trotting through the hallways next to her owner.

Your apartment complex doesn't allow pets (at least not without making special arrangements and paying more money), but in order to comply with equal opportunity laws, they have to allow service animals. So they stuck a clause in the lease saying that service animals have to be identified as service animals, so that if Resident McJerkFace who hates dogs sees a dog in the hallway and they call the manager to complain, the manager can say, "Look, if it had a "service animal" vest on, or we have proof that it's a service animal, which we do, we legally have to allow the animal in the building."

This clause is primarily for the convenience of building management. (And, on preview, apparently totally unenforceable because illegal, so . . . )

So, yes, it is not unreasonable for Dorothy to feel that you may be letting your anxiety and risk-aversion get a little out of hand, since experience has taught her (and lots of other people) that these kind of minor rules can be safely ignored most of the time.

Is there anything I'm missing?

Well . . .

doesn't make sense, because all the past times, she never had a problem or said anything

Humans are not 100% consistent creatures. And there's a reason "straw that broke the camel's back" is a common idiom.

nothing was said at all about the incident, and she didn't seem annoyed or upset at all.

Sometimes it can take people a little while to process feelings and figure out if and how they want to express them. Just because they don't get mad immediately doesn't mean that they have nothing to get mad about.

I mean, you're actually spending some time processing your feelings over time, here - like you say, "I have done my part to explain my rationale, but this still bothers me." Even though the incident is over and you've both stated your cases, you're still upset. This is normal. Getting over a fight with a friend can take a little time.

How do I make this right?

Well, now that you know that this a nonsense clause in your lease, you apologize to her again and admit that she was right. And don't just expect that to be the end of it, she may still need some time to get over being mad at you. That's OK. You have to let her process this at her own pace.

Long run, you may want to look into getting some professional help in learning how to deal with your anxieties and possibly problematical pre-emptive risk-aversion strategies.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:42 PM on February 9 [24 favorites]


Yeah seems you're good to go, dude! In the grand scheme of things, you're really overthinking this.

Tell Dorothy you're bummed you were being a bit anal and ask if you can take her out for a I'm-sorry-for-busting-your-balls coffee.
posted by speakeasy at 11:43 PM on February 9 [5 favorites]


I'm genuinely surprised that this section of my lease is illegal...

Nobody here is able to give you actual advice about the legality of your lease, because only your own lawyer can help you make that determination. The parts of your lease that you have quoted raise concerns, but it's not possible to provide legal advice in this forum.

However, I'm glad that you got reassurance from another concierge about not needing preapproval for a visiting service dog, and that you have gotten no complaints. There are several options for legal assistance that may be available if it becomes an issue, so maybe that is one of the missing pieces that can help reduce anxiety and resolve the situation with your friend.
posted by Little Dawn at 11:46 PM on February 9


Ignoring the part about legalities - no tenant gets kicked out for a single, minor infraction. It’s too much of a hassle for them to find a new tenant. If you‘re paying your rent in time and following the rules as scrupulously as this question suggests, all they will do the first time is maybe reprimand you if it really is important to them.

At that point you can decide (and point out to your friend) that it‘s not worth it for you to get into a legal argument with your landlord about the clause and her dog.

But I suspect it‘s just one of themany things contracts say that everyone ignores.

That‘s how I‘d operate.

As for your surprise at your friend - I suspect she felt she wanted to be a polite guest and therefore went along with your requests, but her annoyance at being reminded AGAIN won out.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:22 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


I agree that that provision in the lease is very likely to be illegal. However, not knowing any better, you weren't doing anything wrong in asking your friend (politely) to adhere to the complex policy.

As for your friend, I've noticed that sometimes, if you're a marginalized person, it's easier to lash out at people closer to you than to express your anger at a ubiquitously unjust society which is largely beyond your ability to even make notice of that anger. Your friend's university probably didn't accommodate her fully, her job probably doesn't, she has to deal with hostile design on a daily basis she doesn't even know who to blame for...and there you are, right there, a "safe" target for that anger. It's simultaneously kind of crappy and kind of understandable. Now that you have, I hope, a more realistic appraisal of the risks of the dog's not wearing a vest, you can tell her so and let the issue go.
posted by praemunire at 12:49 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


As for the human relations side of this question, I think you should give your friend a day or two to process and cool off, and then send a short apology. Or send it earlier if she contacts you earlier. Something like: "Dorothy, sometimes I get anxious about following rules. In my rigidity to conform to my lease, I asked you to do something that I now realize was both incorrect and put you out. I'm sorry. In the future, B does not have to wear his vest in the hall. I appreciate your friendship and hope you'll want to come over again soon." And then let it lie.

Sometimes friends have spats. It's not ideal, but it happens. Try not to let it dominate your head space too much.
posted by sockermom at 1:10 AM on February 10 [34 favorites]


I think there's a bit of context here, which is that you've had, based on your past questions that I remember, a not terribly positive recent history with roommates and landlords (and the police bursting in on your landlord) and apartments. If you're thankfully in a good apartment now where you're happy and comfortable, you might be trying to avoid rocking the boat, even over things that aren't a big deal.

I wonder if it might help if you apologized to your friends with that context to explain why you reacted that way: "like you know, I had so many housing problems before, and I'm finally living somewhere great, so I got unnecessarily anxious about anything that could theoretically upset the landlord when I didn't know the law, and I overreacted about the vest. I'm sorry." And then you could say that she and B are welcome anytime, no vest required.
posted by zachlipton at 1:15 AM on February 10 [45 favorites]


This question is actually about your fear of conflict--with your friend, or with the building management. With your friend, the conflict is actual but with the building management, potential. However, management is scarier.
Some people think that such a fear is something one should "just get over" but I think it is a disability in its own right and should be respected. I think you should ask your friend to "indulge you" with this problem, regardless of what is legal. Or at least not to take it personally.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:14 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


I have a very different take than others on the human relations side of this question: I think your friend was way out of order to blow up at you over this matter, regardless of the legal aspects of the situation. This is particularly true if she has never before told you that the management company’s request is non-ADA-compliant or that she is unhappy about making the dog wear the vest.

If she is not a very recent friend, she will also know that you have had huge problems finding accommodation and that you have a lot of anxiety around your living space – it must be a great relief for you to finally find a place where you can catch your breath and you must be loath to imperil that. Even I, a stranger on the internet, know that! Yet she decided to entirely disregard your own feelings and needs in favour of having a go at you.

She could have made you aware of the ADA situation before allowing it to fester into a full-on blow up over text. This should have been a conversation between the two of you in which she tells you of the law and YOU decide what you do about it once you know. After all, you will have to live with the fallout from making a stand – and, given that you haven’t been there long (right? You moved in fairly recently, didn’t you?), you don’t know yet what that could be. Disgruntled management/ neighbours could make your life difficult strictly within the law; given your past experience, I think it’s very understandable if you don’t want to rock that boat just yet, and I feel a friend should understand this.

This is not to say that I don’t see her point of view – I totally do, and I personally would find it a hassle to keep putting the vest on and taking it off, not to mention the aggravation of having my life made more difficult, yet again, by society’s reaction to my disability. But there is a way to say this respectfully and being mindful of your needs for a secure, reliable, and peaceful home, and her way seems to not have been it.

I think she absolutely owes you an apology, even given the legal situation about the vest. And if I were you, I'd instantly become more careful around a person who a. does not communicate in a respectful manner and b. disregards my feelings and needs for the sake of a 50 metre walk from the entrance to the building to my flat.
posted by doggod at 5:39 AM on February 10 [24 favorites]


Today, she texted me a long wall of text, basically saying she was feeling very annoyed with my "distorted views" of requiring a service vest to be put on B, that she understood it was my apartment, but that basically it would be her final decision as it was her dog. Dorothy then sent me a link to an ADA legal sheet that said that wearing ID/vests were not required as per ADA law. She also said it was against the law for people to ask for ID of service dogs. She concluded that she felt very tired of the fact that it was always "decided to keep B's vest on without me really knowing of her rights." She did suggest not bringing B over next time, though.

I replied to Dorothy a text basically apologizing if she felt offended, and explained that I was still myself learning about the ADA laws, and that my knowledge of the ADA law in particulars to service animals weren't that deep, and that I was just following what the concierge told me to do, and that I did not realize it had bothered her. I also asked her why she did not approach this with me in person last night. I also explained that it was never my intention to trample on B's rights, or make it seem like it was required. I just did it because I thought it was what was the best thing to do, to protect myself. I told her I would clarify with the building manager with exactly what the service animal policy was, rather than relying on the concierge.

Dorothy said she would respond later.


That seems to have handled that then. Nothing else needs to be done.

You asked Dorothy to put a vest on her dog; she complied to keep you happy; eventually she got sick of doing that, given that she knew (though you didn't) that no such requirement is legally enforceable, decided to stop complying, and told you why. She didn't know that you didn't know that your building was not allowed to enforce any such requirement; now she does.

As things stand right now, both of you are aware that the dog doesn't have to wear a vest, both of you are aware that the other now knows that, you'll stop asking her to put a vest on the dog, she'll stop putting a vest on the dog and that is that, and if building management gives you grief about this then building management can pound sand. Job done, issue resolved.

The reason that this is still a thing that's causing you distress is that both of you have fallen for the almost ubiquitous 21st century mistake of conducting conversations with potential emotional heft over text-based electronic media. This is always a mistake. She was annoyed with you (unjustifiably in my view, but whatever) when she composed that wall of text. She probably isn't annoyed at you right now. But her previous annoyance has been preserved in textual aspic that now has its own existence, and it will invoke a negative response to her annoyance in you every time you read it.

And now you've sent her a wall of text, which will lead her to believe every time she reads it that you're still doubting her word that the vest requirement is unenforceable, even though you have well and truly moved on from that position of ignorance by now.

And because both these missives were electronic, they both got fired off before either of you had had a chance to cool down and think the thing through and decide whether it was worth a walk to the post office for.

This kind of issue is best handled face to face. You know that. You said as much in your apology message. Again, though, this is the insidious thing about emotional text tennis; the pressure to return service and then keep the rally going is almost irresistible.

Dorothy knows this too. That's why she cut the thing short and said she's going to respond later. And when that happens, face to face, it will be two friends talking out a minor issue over a coffee and apologizing to each other for blowing up about it and having a bit of a laugh, just like it would have been in the first place if some massive corporation's vicious little mandatory personal convenience had never stuck its oar in.

So be kind to yourself and to Dorothy, and show your smart phone a rude finger while deleting the entire conversation.

Also, give your concierge and whoever is monitoring the security cameras credit for having a clue. They know that the dog is Dorothy's service dog now because they've seen the vest on it, and they're not going to put themselves on the wrong side of a very tedious legal fight just for shits and giggles. You're fine, Dorothy's fine, the dog's fine, all's well.
posted by flabdablet at 5:54 AM on February 10 [10 favorites]


I think Dorothy is being inconsiderate here. Putting the vest on the dog should take about three seconds and it’ll prevent you from feeling anxiety about putting your long-sought good housing situation in jeopardy. Legally entitled or not, she’s putting her convenience ahead of your mental tranquillity.

I wouldn’t apologize. A good friend would go out of her way to make you comfortable.
posted by lakeroon at 6:09 AM on February 10 [11 favorites]


Hey, so, I'm familiar with your previous questions and I understand that you likely have a lot of anxiety about living situations, which considering what's happened in the past is totally warranted, but will also definitely interfere with you living your best life. As it seems that nothing bad has happened at this new place, I think you might be catastrophizing a bit, which, again, understandable, but not great for you in the long run, and I think it would be to your great benefit to try and work through that past trauma.

I think it's unlikely that anything will come of the dog sometimes not wearing a vest. As mentioned above, there is just as much past evidence to show that the dog IS a service dog as there is to make people think it's not. The vast majority of people will not complain, and anyone who does will have no leg to stand on because, as also noted above, the lease clause is illegal, and any landlord will know that the extreme hassle of fining, much less evicting, a disabled person over an illegal lease clause will never be worth it for them.

I don't really know how to address the problem with your friend because I think she's being inconsiderate and irrational, and is in the wrong.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:37 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


Your friend is upset at a structural problem (ableism) and it taking it out on you (horizontal/lateral violence). Now violence may be a strong word here, but basically you nor your friend can do a damn thing about fixing the huge structural problem of ableism impacting her AND your life so unfortunately you ended up being the pressure release valve in this situation.

Given that I think you did the right thing, you apologized and now you are sitting with your feelings.

Now you know that you don’t have to let your landlords become another mind cop that is building that wall of structural ableism in your head. You don’t have to be overly risk averse and participate in the small ways that ableism pervades our world. You can say to your friend “I’m sorry I was scared and was too risk averse, your dog can come over without a service vest because that is your right and I won’t let my fear get in the way of your rights anymore”.

And then YAY! you get to be accomplice in saying FUCK YOU to the illegal and ableist language in your rental contracts that is getting in the way of being friends with someone.
posted by nikaspark at 7:41 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the balanced views. That helps a lot. Basically, bottom line, you were right (@poffin boffin and @doggod) -- my past living experiences has made me much more wary and toeing the rule lines (perhaps a bit too) rigidly. My lease is up for renewal in a few months, too. That's why I don't want to rock the boat.

It did hurt me, though, that Dorothy called my thoughts "distorted" and was harsh, especially considering she didn't mention anything at all in the past, and she had B over about 4-5 times since the fall. It just came completely out of the blue. If she had dropped hints here and there, then I would probably have been clued in more. And, on Friday night, she wasn't just the "good guest" - she was laughing, seeming to genuinely enjoy herself without any hard feelings at all (on the surface, anyway). She's not the kind to mince words - she WILL say something regardless or not of being a guest. This all added to my confusion. Her shoulder was hurting her, however, so maybe that put her in a bad mood. She does know of my overall anxiety and past bad experiences. I'll just let it cool off.

Long run, you may want to look into getting some professional help in learning how to deal with your anxieties and possibly problematical pre-emptive risk-aversion strategies.

I am trying to. Per a previous AskMe, I'm still waiting to find an escalation agent within Kaiser. That process has been kind of a nightmare, but that's probably another question.

I know it's frustrating for marginalized groups (I know, as I am deaf myself and face all kinds of barriers). My intentions for putting the vest on for entry/exit was simply to make things easier for myself and reduce any potential conflict/questions from management. That's because I know from personal experience how hard it can be to get needed accommodation, even given the law.
posted by dubious_dude at 7:46 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]


I’m going to disagree with a lot of people and say you’re completely in the right here. You made a reasonable request of a guest in your home. If she doesn’t want to comply, she doesn’t have to accept your hospitality. This is pretty standard, and I’m surprised to see people pushing back on it.

I originally wrote out worst case scenarios for both of you, but I didn’t want to add to your anxiety. It’s true that you aren’t going to get kicked out over this, but dealing with it could be a huge hassle and make you feel uncomfortable about your housing situation when you’re already scarred from housing hell. Sure, if you went to court, you’d win, but why should you have to go through that for something that, while annoying, isn’t that difficult for her to do? She might be right legally. Does she want to find a lawyer for you and pay fees? Does she want to take time off from work to deal with that?

Worst case scenario for her is spending a few minutes putting a vest on her dog when she doesn’t feel like it.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to smooth things over to preserve the relationship, but you did nothing wrong.
posted by FencingGal at 7:46 AM on February 10 [15 favorites]


Dorothy would prefer to cause stress and drama for you with building management instead of spending two whole minutes putting a vest on her dog. Instead, she’s wasted hours getting worked up over this and writing texts. Tell Dorothy if it’s that much hassle, she’s free to not come over at all. Dorothy is not a good friend.
posted by Jubey at 9:11 AM on February 10 [9 favorites]


There’s some misinformation in some answers. The fair housing act, unlike the ADA, does in fact allow landlords to request documentation to accommodate a tenant’s accommodation animal. So in general I imagine your lease is legal for tenants.

I imagine the case is more complicated for visitors like your friend, for whom maybe the ADA and not the FHA applies. It’s possible she’s right that the dog doesn’t need to wear a vest legally.

I also in general look pretty askance at people who claim their pets are service animals, and from your description your friend’s animal seems borderline at best.
posted by crazy with stars at 9:20 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]


Hey buddy, nice to hear from you and so glad your living situation is mostly working out! What great news! I really really hope you're enjoying the new stability after all the craziness in the previous years.

I'm 100% team You here. I have dogs who I love more than I could ever love a human child and I still would follow your rules. Especially because in the hearing world, most people wouldn't think a Yorkie is very capable of being a support animal (whether true or not, I think the general population thinks all support animals are Golden Retriever seeing-eye dogs), and because it's already not an animal-friendly building, any way to make your life easier is ideal. The cost to Dorothy is very low, and if she already has the vest then it seems like she understands sometimes you have to do stupid things just to make things easier.

I think you should let this go for now, and if Dorothy wants to bring B over again you can say that you love seeing them but your landlord has reminded you about the policy, so if Dorothy doesn't want to deal with the vest then B should stay home. A little tiny fib won't hurt, and may make things easier.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 11:44 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]


I think some folks here are being pretty absolutist about what seems like a fairly moderate-level friend fight. People are irrational sometimes. People stew and get het up and then explode sometimes. You can get past it if you really like each other. I think your reply to her response was OK. (Although I hope you didn't literally say "Sorry if you were offended," people generally hate that. "Sorry for offending you" is a better way of expressing a similar sentiment.)

Dorothy has not yet responded, right? I think you need to wait for her response before you know what your play should be. Hopefully her initial messages were sent in an intemperate moment, and getting it out has reduced the pressure inside her to the point where she can be a little cooler about it.

I think there's room here for you to acknowledge that it sucks for her to have to prove her dog's bona fides all the time, but also to say that it would make you a whole lot more comfortable if she would just do it, because setting aside what's right, you really just don't want trouble with your landlord. That it's not about whether her dog is legit, it's about whether you'll be able to relax and have a good time when she's over, or else be worried and anxious. And that you'd appreciate it if, as your friend, she could just put a vest on her dog when it's in the common areas of your building. You're happy to claim it as irrational (which… I dunno that it actually is but whatever) but you hope she can see her way to just indulging you in this one instance.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:57 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Update: I heard back from Dorothy. It seems like it's not really about the vest, after all. Summed up, she has lost patience with my anxiety (basically said "enough" to me feeling anxious all the time), feels that I am too rigid and following rules too much, and she has lost patience with that. She said not to worry about asking the landlord, etc., for the policy on service animals, and said she doesn't feel comfortable bringing B here anymore. Okay.

I will give it a few days, then get back to her and explain my scars with previous housing experiences, and explain it was never my intention to push her patience or "put" my anxiety on her.

I'm processing what she said. Yes, it hurt, in some ways, and was a bit minimizing in some ways, but valid in some ways, and brought some good points up.

Thank you for all your thoughts and input.
posted by dubious_dude at 2:40 PM on February 10 [10 favorites]


Ugh, what the hell, Dorothy?

It is absolutely okay not to socialize with a person who is so critical of your essential nature. You're anxious--so what? A true friend will understand that you have anxiety and not go out of their way to passive-aggressively make you more anxious.

You don't need to fix this or explain yourself.
posted by Scram at 9:29 PM on February 10 [12 favorites]


I see that the thread has largely moved beyond this, but you should take another look at the section of your lease you excerpted. It seems pretty clearly written to refer to *resident* pets - note the penalty is only applied if you don't "remove an illegal animal within 24 hours of notice". So you would be notified, have a chance to explain it was a service animal, and even then would be able to remove the animal with no penalty.

I have a tendency to be very worried about the "letter of the law" myself (and have anxiety issues) and sometimes it's a flaw, and sometimes it's a virtue (strict adherence to safety practices, say). It can help to understand what the realistic outcomes or risks are.
posted by Lady Li at 11:19 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


In this case, you clearly didn't understand it was a problem for Dorothy, and so didn't really have a chance to think about other options and possible outcomes. And she likely doesn't understand your past housing issues and desire to be extra careful.

She may be pretty annoyed, but if this is the first she's told you about this thing you've been doing in all areas of your life (making her do "unreasonable" [to her] things to assuage your anxiety), she does have to reset the clock and find some reasonable expectations. Or maybe she needs to take a little break from you just to cool off and find some patience. I would try to accept that, if it happens, and maybe see if there are some things you can do together that don't push her buttons about you so much.
posted by Lady Li at 11:24 PM on February 10


I will give it a few days, then get back to her and explain my scars with previous housing experiences, and explain it was never my intention to push her patience or "put" my anxiety on her.

I'm not sure that will do any good right now to explain your housing background. She has said that she can stop bringing her dog to your place, and she probably doesn't want to hear what will sound like justifications for your anxiety about the dog - it's not really about the dog. She needs to learn better coping skills, and not try and make her inability to communicate your problem. In the future, if something annoys her, she needs to bring it up as an issue before she reaches the point of exploding over it. You do not need to add the concern 'what if Dorothy is annoyed by something I do and just hasn't decided to tell me yet' to things that you worry about.

When you contact her, you should say that you had no idea she was feeling this way, of course you never intended to cause that, but that you need to know that she will tell you when something you do is annoying her in the future. And then, as things come up in the future, you two can deal with it reasonably without both of you feeling overwhelmed by a huge issue out of nowhere.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:34 AM on February 11 [4 favorites]


If you want to preserve this friendship, take it off email. It's very bad for warm conversations. (It's excellent for grandstanding, airing grievances with no interest in hearing the other side, and big final f-you messages.)

You can call her and say "hey, I never did mean to bug you, just as I'm sure you never meant to cause trouble for me with my landlord. It sucks that this rule is in place, but whatyagonna do? Probably easiest if you leave B at home although I sure will miss him, the little cutie, and I'll come see him at your place when I can."

Or you can dump her, I mean, I'm not crazy about her given what you've told us here, but friends are precious, so it's your call.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:04 AM on February 11


dude, don't bring your past housing experiences up to her. she doesn't care. she explicitly said she's out of patience with you/your anxiety. don't beat a dead horse. the service vest issue is resolved (ie, she said she's not bringing the dog over any more). if, at some point, she does want to bring the dog over, don't make her jump through the hoop of putting on a vest. no one cares, unless the dog poops somewhere it shouldn't.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:10 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


Sounds like you guys need space, not more talking.

Like you said, it‘s not about the specific dog situation, it‘s that your general anxiety about all kinds of stuff puts her on edge.

You can‘t talk, explain, fix your way out of that one! Anxious is part of who you are right now and if that exacerbates some mental stuff for her, then maybe you two are meant to be „small doses“ friends only for the time being.

I predict that the more you try to explain things at her, the more she will hate it and the more she will be repelled.

Consider that maybe this is not so much about you as about her. Maybe she is changing, wanting to break out of the mold of her previous behaviour. Maybe she is trying for a more carefree, aggressive attitude and you are mirroring the opposite.

She was rude and immature about her reactions, but whatever this is about, take a step back and focus on other social connections.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:03 PM on February 11


So, you have an anxiety issue, you know it, and you're trying to get help for it. She's a new friend, and maybe the two of you can pull back a little and stay friends. But don't let your anxiety talk you into believing you're the problem here. Conflicts with landlords are stressful even for people who don't have your background. You did what was best for you at this time in your life. That doesn't mean she's wrong. Sometimes things don't work out and no one is at fault.
posted by Mavri at 2:33 PM on February 11


Congratulations on your new apartment! I am very happy for you.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 2:48 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]


All y'all saying that this problem is caused by texting perhaps should read the question again and see that this is between two deaf people. It is pretty standard to have conversation via text under these circumstances. I use text as a primary communication channel often, and it's completely possible to learn skills that most people don't have in terms of navigating emotional waters.

Also, it is completely 100% understandable and prudent to minimize contact with authorities - in this case building management - when you are disabled. While it may be illegal to discriminate (ADA and all that), in real life it happens all the time. Being seen to be a model resident is actually very important, especially with a lease renewal coming up.

What looks like unreasonable anxiety can actually be well founded concerns based on information outsiders don't have. I would absolutely be insisting that the service vest be put on. Frankly, I do expect friends to accommodate one another's anxieties particularly when the ask is small as it is in this case. It is a way we show caring towards one another. It sounds like she's frustrated with anxiety overall, which might not make her the right friend for you. Or it might just mean talking about how you can navigate anxiety with her in a way that doesn't make her frustrated. I would try having that conversation instead of just writing off the friendship. If the conversation doesn't go well, ok. At least you tried. But there's every chance that there's a way to make it work for both of you.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:35 PM on February 11 [11 favorites]


dubious_dude: "I'm genuinely surprised that this section of my lease is illegal... I would have thought this being a big corporate-owned management company, they'd have that double-checked or at least know better :\"

Companies, and especially rental companies IME (probably because they have all the power in a tight rental market), put illegal language in their contracts all the time when it is unlikely the party they are contracting with will have the contract reviewed by a lawyer. If the party they are contracting with voluntarily abides by the illegal term then great and if not it didn't cost them anything to try.

It's even pretty common for a contract to say that if any particular clause is determined to be unenforceable that it doesn't negate the rest of the contract.
posted by Mitheral at 10:02 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


« Older Well now it's a thingamajig-whatsamabobber!   |   80s/90s TV episode involving a Chinese... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments