Calgary landlord offers apartment to senior and his large dog after learning of numerous rejections
An 84-year-old Calgary man has found his next home after being denied by nearly 100 rental properties as a result of his labradoodle.
On Thursday evening, Stan Parsons confirmed to CTV that he had found an apartment for both him and Jellybean that is near to the dog park that he and Jellybean, his labradoodle, frequent on a regular basis. Following the airing of a story on Stan's situation on Thursday, CTV received an outpouring of messages of support for Stan as well as offers to help him find a place to live.
Parsons says he had been told he’ll need to vacate his current apartment in Crescent Heights ahead of March 1 and a reason was never provided for the mandatory departure. “They won’t renew my lease. Why? They won’t tell me why.” The location had been ideal for Parsons as it was near a dog park.
Parsons has been the proud owner of Jellybean for nearly seven years and considers the dog to be family. He credits the dog as being his sole reason for leaving his house and has no plans of ever surrendering the dog.
“I’ll live on the street before I give him up,” said Parsons in an interview with CTV prior to securing his next apartment. “He’s part of me. I’ve had him since he was a little pup and he goes everywhere I go. He’s a great companion.”
“When you get to be my age, you don’t turn into a couch potato because you’ve got to take him for a walk and it gives you exercise.”
Parsons has received help from friends as he has no relatives left but the search had been fruitless prior to Thursday afternoon. He says the conversations with landlords turned when Jellybean was mentioned. “Everybody doesn’t want to have a big dog. They’ll let you have a little dog like a yappy Chihuahua. I’m not into that. I like big dogs.”
Alice Wheaton, a local landlord, learned of Parsons' plight Thursday morning from a local newspaper. "My first thought was 'Oh god, this is so wrong' and then my next thought was 'I might be able to do something about that so I think I will'."
The landlord reached out to Parsons and arrangements were made to have the senior view the apartment. "The unit is a good fit because it's 657 steps to the dog park that he goes to every single day." Wheaton adds that the unit is spacious and has a high fence and an agreement was reached late Thursday afternoon.
Wheaton, a pet owner herself, believes that pets are important for the vitality and health of older people and adds that responsible pet owners make for responsible tenants. "Too few landlords understand the benefits to them of renting to someone with an animal," said Wheaton. "We find pet owners to be the best tenants."
Parsons will be moving into his new place at the end of the month.
Luanne Whitmarsh of the Kerby Centre, a centre that offers support and programs for people over the age of 55, confirms there are challenges for prospective renters of any age including specific requirements including pet-friendly accommodations at a reasonable price. “There’s housing but there’s not specialized housing. There’s not always an opportunity for people to have housing that meets their specific needs and if you find housing, honestly, can you afford it?”
Whitmarsh sympathizes with Parsons’ previous predicament as the senior had taken productive steps. “You want people to make sure that they’re connected to animals and to their life and being engaged and not isolated. The issue comes along when that changes and now they need some different housing.”
The Calgary Humane Society says one of the most common reasons people surrender a pet is relocating into a home that does not allow animals.
With files from CTV’s Jordan Kanygin