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Thank You For Being A (Furry) Friend

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 1, 2021

My husband and I are in the car with our dog, driving back home. We get into our apartment complex and we’re nearly to our building when I see a dog I vaguely recognize wandering aimlessly through the parking lot without a leash, collar, or person nearby. I immediately put the car in park and get out to slowly approach the dog. I recognize that I have met this dog and his owner before; he’s a huge, strong breed but sweet and gentle as a lamb. I cautiously reach out to him and he happily ambles over and lets me pet him.

I still don’t see anyone around or hear anyone calling for him, so I ask my husband to take our dog’s leash and harness off of our dog so I can use it to help the lost dog get home. All the while, this absolutely massive dog is calmly letting me pet him and sniffing around gently, showing no signs that he’s stressed or thinks it at all weird that a stranger stopped in the middle of the parking lot to pet him.

I show him my dog’s leash and slowly bring it up to his face, asking if he’s okay with me putting it on him. He seems perfectly content with the leash, but the harness is too small to fit around his gigantic neck! I loop it around as best I can, and we set off, leaving my very confused dog in the car with my husband, wondering what’s going on.

I walk the dog over to the apartment building where I’ve seen him before, but I have no idea which unit he lives in. So, feeling a bit crazy, I ask him where he lives! This enormous, bulky dog seems to understand me perfectly, and he gently leads me straight up to the door of a unit on the ground floor! Now I really feel crazy, but seeing no other option, I knock.

After a minute, a confused man answers and stares at me. 

Me: “So, um, is this your dog?”

Man: “What? How? Yeah, that’s Lightning!”

Lightning looks super happy to see the man and immediately trots inside.

Me: “I found him over by [my building].”

Man: “Woah, thank you! He must have gotten away from my girlfriend while she was walking him and Thunder. I didn’t even know he was lost!”

Me: “I get it; my dog has escaped before, too. I’m just glad he knew the way back home! But, um, that was actually my dog’s leash and harness he was wearing.”

Man: “Oh, yeah.”

He still seems super confused as to how his dog could have gotten away and back home again without him even realizing what was happening. He takes the leash off Lightning and gives it back to me.

Man: “Okay, then… Bye.”

Me: “Have a good night.”

As I’m walking back to my apartment, I see the man’s girlfriend with their other dog, Thunder. She’s calling for Lightning and looking super stressed.

Me: “Don’t worry, I found him! He showed me the way to your place so I just dropped him off!”

Woman: “Wow, no way! Thank you so much! I can’t believe it!”

She laughed with relief.

I headed home, laughing at how the huge and powerful dog Lightning knew the way back to his house the whole time but, for some reason, decided he needed a human buddy to walk him home! I guess sometimes we all just need a friend.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for January 2021!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for January 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for January 2021!

The Joys Of Renting

, , , , , | Working | December 28, 2020

I moved out on my own when I was twenty-one, scoring a fantastic little new build flat in the city centre. In nine years, I only moved to a different block so I could have a bigger place. Eventually, though, the area got worse: there was vandalism, my car was broken into twice — in the underground “secure” car park that had easily broken gates — a pub on my road was closed after a guy was killed there, drugs, gangs, you name it.

I decided enough was enough; I wanted out of the city and to somewhere quieter. I was delighted to find a ground floor flat that looked great on the visit, close to my parents. The rent was the same as I was currently paying and the lease was for twelve months. Perfect.

Yeah. You know where this is going.

When I move in I actually have to wonder if it is the same place I saw three weeks ago. With the previous tenants’ stuff gone, it is easy to see the chronic damp. Oh, and the kitchen window has dropped so there is a wide, open gap to the outside — not great in the winter… or for security. I have problems with the en suite toilet and shower, as well, during which time the landlord and I have a chat when he is fixing the issues.

Me: “I’m really looking forward to living here. In a year or two, I think I’ll have it redecorated.”

Imagine my surprise when, barely four months later, he tells me I have to leave!

Landlord: “You’ll have to find somewhere else. I can’t afford the flat—”

This is despite me paying rent on it.

Landlord: “—and if you don’t leave, I’ll have to go bankrupt and the bank will take the flat and evict you.”

I should mention here two things. First, in the UK, you cannot breach a rental agreement for that reason. In fact, it is notoriously difficult to evict a renter from a property. Point two, I know this because I work in the real estate industry. I know how this stuff works, I know my rights, and I know I can make his life h***.

But still, it was stressful to have this man message me at least twice a week demanding I find another place, telling me I didn’t need to find somewhere perfect, just to leave his place, that he’d pay me to leave, that he wouldn’t give me a good reference if I was not gone by a certain date, etc.

But I ignored him. I consulted with colleagues who agreed that he had no legal standing, and I talked with the estate agents who had some very choice names for him, but I didn’t stop looking for the perfect place. Moving is expensive and stressful and I hate doing it, so if I was moving now it was to a place to stay a long time… like this was supposed to be.

In the end he came clean. Kind of. He hadn’t realised it was a twelve-month lease, despite the conversations we’d had. He did try and blame the estate agents — they are liars, they tricked him, blah. I figured he screwed the pooch and had someone else lined up to move in.

Thankfully, this has a good ending. I found a house, rather than a flat, still in my ideal area and price, with everything I could want: a garden, a driveway, three bedrooms, and an amazing landlord that I can laugh and joke with.

I don’t hate my ex-landlord any more, and I write this now from my garden, sipping a coffee and reflecting on how lucky I was that my ex-landlord broke the law and kicked me out, how I dodged a bullet, and how fun it was to see him a little while ago when I was visiting the friends I had made at that building… watching him bring his groceries into his — my — flat.

Yeah, he kicked me out so he and his girlfriend could move in. He saw me, I saw him, and I just grinned, with the other residents smiling with me.

I think I won.

The Boxes Are Empty But Their Hearts Are Full

, , , , , , | Related | December 23, 2020

I have a large extended family with many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Back in the mid- to late 1980s, when I am in my early twenties, we have large family gatherings around Christmastime. It usually takes place in a relative’s home. One particular year, my aunt moves into a condominium building. The condo building has a public room available for use and she reserves it for our gathering. Since Christmas is approaching, the condo association has decorated the room with a lovely Christmas tree.

As part of our traditions, we have a “grab bag.” Each relative attending brings a gift with a twenty-dollar limit on it. During the gathering, we draw numbers from a hat. There are around forty to forty-five of us participating. The relative who has number one chooses a gift and opens it. The person with number two does the same, but if they like gift number one better, they can exchange it. This continues until the lucky last person opens their gift and then has the choice of exchanging with any of the previously opened gifts. It makes for a lot of fun, as there is usually one gift that becomes a favorite and is chosen and then lost by many participants.

On the day of the condo gathering, we start the grab bag. Several of my relatives open their gifts after choosing one from what is under the tree. It comes to my cousin’s turn. She opens her gift and looks disappointed.

Cousin: “My box is empty.”

Me: *Chuckling* “Nice gag, someone. No problem, [Cousin]. Go ahead and exchange with someone who has already opened their gift.”

She does, and we go on with the grab bag. Several more empty boxes make their appearance, and I begin to get a bit annoyed. One empty box is funny. Four or five just does not seem fair.

In the middle of the process, the condo association president stops by to check on our gathering.

President: “How is it going? Are you having fun? Do you have all the supplies and utensils that you need? There are more in the back closet if you need them.”

Aunt: “Everything is just fine, thanks. We are only having an issue with our grab bag. It seems as though several people have decided it would be funny to give empty boxes instead of an actual gift.”

President: “That’s a shame.” *Pauses* “Wait, where are you getting your gifts from?”

Aunt: “Everyone put them under the tree as they arrived. That’s where we are choosing from.”

President: *Laughing* “Let me explain. We wrapped some empty boxes to put under the tree as decorations. I think that’s what you have been opening!”

We all had a good laugh. Sure enough, by the time we got to the end of the grab bag, there was one gift for every relative!

Sometimes, Karma Really Stinks

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 29, 2020

Sometimes, I think I’m the only person in my apartment complex who actually picks up after their dog. Every time I walk her, we have to navigate a gauntlet of poop so we don’t track it inside.

I always take my dog down to the corner of our street, a little way down from the door to our building, because there’s a receptacle there specifically for pet waste so it makes everything easier. I’m standing there waiting for my dog to do her thing when I see a man come out with his dog. He stays on the grass fairly close to the building door, telling the dog to go potty. I am absentmindedly watching and waiting for them to go inside, since my dog is very distractible and I know she won’t go until they leave. After a few minutes, the dog does her business, and predictably, I do not see the man pick up after her. 

But karma strikes! As they approach the building, I see the dog jump up the steps and the man pull her back, as he is vigorously wiping his shoe on the step while not-so-quietly grumbling to himself.

Man: “Wait, [Dog], I stepped in s***. F***. Can’t believe I stepped in f****** dog s***.”

After a minute or so of this, he went inside. Gee, random dude, I wonder why you stepped in s***. It’s almost like this is a preventable problem. But I guess we’ll never know.

You Gotta Learn To Coexist

, , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: VenNeb21 | November 25, 2020

I live on the second floor of an apartment building in a college town, so there are lots of young people getting their first taste of “the real world”.

My neighbor below me comes to my door one day.

Neighbor: “I need you to keep the noise down.”

I am confused, since I’m a rather quiet person, until she explains that the “noise” is from me walking around my apartment. She doesn’t appreciate how loudly I walk in my own home.

All the apartments have wall-to-wall carpets except for the first floor. I remember something my uncle once told me about how, if you don’t want to hear people walking above you, then you need to live on the top floor.

Me: “If me walking in my own apartment bothers you, you shouldn’t have chosen to live on the first floor.”

Neighbor: “I have trouble with stairs, so I didn’t have a choice. You just need to be quieter when you’re walking around.”

Me: *Politely* “I’ll work on that.”

And I shut the door. I am not going to alter how I walk in my own apartment just for her and her attitude problem.

Oddly enough, though, shortly after this encounter, I broke my foot walking down the stairs. I would be on crutches for six weeks with a cast and then have a walking cast for several weeks more after that. This made it difficult to move around my apartment since my crutches would get caught in the carpet.

I found that it was easier to sit in my desk chair and push myself around my small apartment with my still functioning foot and arms. However, again, the problem here was the d*** carpet. The wheels would get stuck in the carpet and would cause me the occasional problem. This meant I would have to hop around my apartment if I couldn’t get the chair unstuck from the floor. I could hear her complaining sometimes, especially when I had my balcony door open and she was outside. I honestly didn’t care about her petty problems, but I was tired of hearing them.

Then, one day, I was trying to push myself across the apartment to the kitchen and the wheels got stuck. I had just given the chair a big push, right as it got caught, and I promptly fell out of the chair and onto the floor. I didn’t land gracefully, and I ended up with a huge bruise on the back of my leg from landing on the armrest of the chair. Needless to say, I was not in a good mood and I was in pain.

My lovely neighbor came upstairs not too long after this and to complain that I woke her from her nap with “that loud bang,” I answered the door sitting in the evil chair with my broken foot in plain view. I politely told her that the “loud bang” she heard was my body hitting the floor. In my best sugary-sweet, sarcastic voice, I told her that I appreciated her concern for my well-being and that I was fine. I then thanked her for coming by to check on me and slammed the door in her face.

She never bothered me again.