I went to one of our vacant apartments to check on its status as I had a showing scheduled for the next day and wanted to make sure it was presentable. The apartment had been cleaned out and repainted after being vacated but there was a leak coming from the unit above into the bathroom so it was not completely rent-ready. To my knowledge, no one had been in the apartment for a couple of days. I walked into the apartment and noticed the bathroom door was shut which I thought was strange as I had left it open. As I got closer to the door, I observed drywall chunks and crumbs on the ground coming from underneath the door and what appeared to be hair mixed into the debris. I immediately pictured the disaster that I was about to walk into; a ceiling that had caved in from water damage due to the leak. This was going to set my whole day back as I was not planning to have to deal with a large clean up and rushing to fix the issue. I grabbed the door-knob and began opening the door when I heard movement on the other side of the door and saw something dart across the bathroom. Out of instinct I slammed the door thinking I had walked in on someone using the bathroom. No one responded when I knocked so I opened the door, very slowly.
What I saw then was a very unexpected and disheartening scene. There was a young German Shepherd dog in the bathtub with fur and feces covering the floor, walls, vanity, and tub. There was also drywall strewn about from where the dog had attempted to dig through the wall. I could immediately tell that this dog had been neglected even prior to being abandoned in a vacant apartment. The dog immediately began yapping/howling/crying when he saw me. He came up to me and attempted to put his paws on my chest to give me kisses with his tongue. He was friendly and excited to see me. He was very matted and was missing much of his fur near his abdomen and legs and had rashes all along his belly and chest similar to mange. I went to my supply-closet to find a rope and he would not leave my side as I walked down the hallway, down the stairs and to the closet. He cried anytime I did not give him my undivided attention, assuming I too was going to abandon him. I was able to create a leash from the rope and took him door-to-door in the building to see if anyone recognized him but no one did.
I then called my wife to help corral him while I decided what to do. She picked up some dog shampoo, treats, gloves, and a real leash on her way and once she arrived, I scrubbed the tub clean of all the fur and feces. Once the tub was cleaned, we then started on the dog. He surprisingly did not fight the bath and was likely relieved that someone was finally caring for him the way he deserved. Much of his fur came off in the bath but we were able to get him cleaned and freshened up. We got him loaded up into our car and brought him to our house to meet our dog, May. The two were hesitant to become friends but quickly put that fear aside and began playing and causing mayhem. The rescued dog was promptly given the name Ham.
Throughout this process I had been racking my mind trying to think who would have left a dog in a vacant apartment and how they had gained access to the building. I did remember a tenant from the floor above who had had an unapproved dog a week prior and I asked her to get rid of it as this property does not allow dogs. I had never seen the dog but had heard it through her door. She did get rid of the dog and I confirmed that there were no longer any animals in her apartment. I did call her on the day I found Ham and asked her if he was the dog she had gotten rid of. Long story short, after much denial and lying, the truth came out that Ham had been her dog. Her story was that she had found someone on Facebook who wanted Ham the week before, she met this lady and gave her Ham and never heard from the lady again. However, when I asked for screenshots or proof of this exchange I was told that she had used a separate phone that had since broke and she got locked out of Facebook and had to start a new account. The tenant did inform me that Ham is allergic to most dog foods and he needs Benadryl as well as a certain type of food to keep him from having allergic reactions which caused his stomach to have rashes.
May and Ham have become better friends through this last week. Ham is still very anxious and has attachment issues and cries repeatedly when we leave the house. However, he is slowly getting used to our routine. Our goal is to find a loving home where he can be the center of attention and be treated how he has always been deserving to be treated.
You never know what a day in property management will bring you, but that day it brought me Ham.