Friday, January 15, 2016

A Dog Meets the Co-op Board

This post also appears in the New York Times' Metropolitan Diary this week.

For those fortunate enough to attempt to acquire a co-op in Manhattan, the process can be daunting. For the right to overpay for the privilege of calling the city your own, there is relief and a sense of pride that you have outlasted and outbid the unworthy.

But money alone cannot ensure you will ultimately claim your prize. First, you must run the gantlet of prying eyes and piercing glances by the co-op board.

At Thanksgiving dinner, I asked one of the assembled how the sale of her co-op was going. She replied that she was nervous because her buyers were appearing for their interview in the coming week. Along with their dog. Yes, their dog.

There was a 15-page application, which I would assume required submission in duplicate, pertaining to the pedigree of the pup. Name, rank and serial number would not be sufficient. No, Fido would have to present him or herself for poking and prodding.

What if the dog was having a bad day? Or didn’t like the tone of the inquisition? What if he had a stomach ache and, you know, acted like a dog? What if he could not roll over and play dead on command, if “Sit” or “Down” were not mandates but suggestions, if the dog was in heat and humped the leg of the examiner?

Who, after all, wants to get into an elevator with an animal that considers humans nothing more than chew toys? What if the buyer passed muster but the animal passed gas?

The fate of two families rests on one bark, one growl, one sniff in the wrong part of the anatomy at the wrong time. It seems a story worthy of Shakespeare. Triumph or tragedy hanging by a thread, or more accurately, a wagging tail.

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