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When pets get left behind...tear

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties Fairfax

This blog is coming from an experience I had this week that really pushed my buttons. Responsibility of pet owners during the home sale process.
Let me start by saying I am a pet owner, they are my four legged children (Bridget it pictured above, my little princess!).  When I tell a seller that the pet towers or dog beds need to be put away for open house I know how difficult it is to hear. When I suggest you have a family member look after the animal during the process of listing your home or if you can afford it put your baby in doggy/kitty day care( there are lots of great ones in our area), it is so that in all the excitement of people coming and going accidents do not happen for the pets safety as well as the previewers.
Seriously, if listing your property, take pets with you when you go, board them, ask a reliable friend or neighbor to help, call a rescue organization if you cannot handle a pet any longer. Under no circumstances leave your pet behind when you leave your home to go live somewhere else, why do I even have to say this?
I was taking a client our to see property and we walked into this beautiful renovated luxury home. Everything was shiny and new. In the back door was a pet door, closed and locked. Oh my client said that was convenient for the pet to come and go, both being animal friendly we began to swap pet stories.  All of a sudden we heard this loud knocking coming from the back. We followed the noise and sitting at the patio door was  a beautiful cat, obviously alone for an extended period of time,not fed or watered, meowing to get in to its home. (TEAR) Honestly you could feel the pain this kitty felt emotionally being left behind.
Checking with a neighbor it seems the cat belonged to previous owners who had to move suddenly and the current owners had agreed to care for the cat.  The current owners in their new home had left the cat as it conveys with the house.  Such a beautiful animal surely anyone would want him, another neighbor was supposed to be feeding the cat until the house sold, obviously not feeling much obligation to do so. The neighbor I spoke to was interested in adopting the cat if necessary!

The sad thing is the original owners thought they left their cat in good hands, the second owners thought they left their cat in good hands, Noone actually was taking any responsibility to care for this animal during the curent sale of this property. Please be sure the people you leave your pets with are prepared in terms of responsibility, time and money to care for your pets! Have a back up plans or at least leave a bag of food and a note that reads feel free to feed my kitty he's on the back porch and loves people...

So, my client was on the edge of tears at that point, we fed the cat and alerted the neighbor to the animals needs which are now being met. 

When selling your home this is not how you want perspective owners to preview the property or think of you. If you love your animal take it with you,  get it boarded or adopted by a non kill organization like Hart. REALLY THERE ARE PROFESSIONALS WHO HELP IN SITUATIONS LIKE THIS!!!!. It is heart breaking.

I am curious how many agents out there have had this experience and if you have good non kill adoptive services in your areas, lets use this blog to post as many great resources as we can find to help those owners and animals in need of pet services.


HART Home Page www.hart90.org
HART is a no-kill animal rescue/support group, incorporated in 1990, that takes in and rehomes stray, abused, and unwanted dogs and cats

or  check out


David Burrows
Classic Realty - Fairfax, VA
No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate

Karen, this is truly a sad story. Our little friends (pets) do so well with their unconditional love and concern for us. We need to be responsible pet owners and always make sure our little ones are cared for. Thanks for the reminder through your post.

Jun 26, 2011 06:37 AM
Christine Hooks
Pino Agency - Pennsville, NJ
Celebrating 25 Years in Real Estate!

Hi, Karen, I just rescued a mini dachshund in Feb.  He was only 5lbs when he was brought to the shelter!  He obviously came from a good home because he was house-trained and had very good habits when I became his owner.  Someone put him out in the ice and cold on the side of a busy interstate.

I just cannot believe that anyone would treat an animal in such a way that you describe.  Several years ago, I showed a house and found a dead cat upstairs.  It was just awful.

Keep up the fight.  There are too many abandoned pets out in the world.

Jun 26, 2011 06:39 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Karen, this is just absolutely terrible.  To treat our little "children" who love us so unconditionally like this... there just aren't words to describe it.

Jun 26, 2011 06:40 AM
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Karen - I have heard so many stories like this one and sadly even worse ones of helpless pets left behind that I won't even repeat.  As a life-long pet mama, it literally breaks my heart to hear and read about such abuse to so many pets who once upon a time were beloved members of the family.  Thank you for passing along this wonderful message.  I hope it gets the attention and exposure it truly needs.

Jun 26, 2011 06:44 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

This tears me up, Karen. I have seen this too both as a Realtor/Associate and as a volunteer for Animal Rscue Force www.arf.petfinder.com an organization that helps find homes, second or otherwise for dogs and cats who are in need and adoptable. I applaud your post and affirm you sentiments.

Jun 26, 2011 06:45 AM
Donald Reich
Madison Specs - New Rochelle, NY
Cost Segregation Specialist

Sometimes I think you should have to pass a test and get a license to own a pet!

Jun 26, 2011 07:04 AM
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

No doubt a subject that is simply bad all around. If you make a committment (to anything) but especially a living creature, you keep that, period.

How can someone do this. makes you wonder if they do this to something that is supposed to bring them joy what are they like to others?

Jun 26, 2011 07:11 AM

David- Thank you for reading and caring! I think we all can make a difference by having rescue resources available.

Chris - I will, I have always had many pets and I really get tweaked when I see abuse, especially in situations where it was so obviously avoidable. Enjoy your Mini D, they are so adorable. How lucky your new baby is to have you!

Karen- You are so right. At first I had no words and now I want to scream from the roof top. There is a big difference between doing the right thing and intending to so I want people in my area to know that there are people to call for help.

Donne- Thank you. Spread the word.  If someone is in distress and has pets we should kindly address this issue and offer a list of resources. We give names of plumbers, painters,  inspectors....Add a no kill pet rescue to the list, it could save a life.

Sheila- Thank you for the work you do! Pet rescue is so important. My husband and I have rescued many animals over the years. We have a blue crowned conure that was a rescue from a pet store that was going to put it down for biting a customer. I over heard the conversation and how this hand fed baby had been abused for years in the store. He came home with me and is a wonderful member of our family for 27 years now and he talks. The store is gone, no surprise, Davy is here and living large.

Donald- Things that make you go HMMMM

US Mortgages-  Exactly. Thanks for reading and your coments.

Thank you all for your care and concern for your pets and those in need.

Jun 26, 2011 04:02 PM
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Karen, I recently went to preview an REO and found an abandoned dog tied up on the back porch. The previous owners had left a bag of food in a feeder that the dog couldn't reach and a water dispenser that was now empty. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen. That poor dog was hot, thirsty and hungry...and extremely sad. I immediately called Animal Rescue to come save the dog. What makes me sick is to know that the REO Sales Company must have known about it. If - to give the benefit of the doubt - they had merely listed the home without inspecting it, then at the very least, an appraiser had been there. It breaks my heart to know how heartless some people can be regarding animals. "Do unto others" includes animals, folks. Or as my mom always said: "The quality of your life is the result of your actions." Do good, live well. 

Jul 03, 2011 07:28 AM
Karen Paris
Keller Williams Capital Properties Fairfax - Fairfax, VA
Because Your Move Matters and Karen Cares

Most of us care and go above and beyond to help our clients in any way and that includes issues surrounding their pets at a time of stress. Others do their job to the letter of its simplest description and no more.

It saddens me to see the numbers apparently growing in those who are too busy or to unfeeling to care about the animals left or the clients on the other side of the table. By ignoring a situation, it does not cease to exist.

There is an expression, I don't remember where I heard it, "That which we resist persists" and in real estate that is all to true. Loan modifications not chased aggressively become short sales, left ignored turn into foreclosures,  not sold expediently turn into damaged moldy assets causing a greater loss to the bank...As agents we need to go above and beyond for our clients to make the best out of a tragic situation and ease the process for all involved on both sides of the table. 

Jul 05, 2011 07:04 AM


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