In the Trenches: Animal Edition

In the Trenches captures the odd and funny incidents that invariably happen in real estate. Here are the stories submitted this month from real estate professionals all over the country.

November 1, 2008

Cat Fight!

The owner of home I was listing in Chicago told me that if he wasn’t present at the showing to make sure his cat didn’t get out. A few days later I received a call from a real estate professional who wanted to show the home to her clients. I passed along the seller's instructions: "Whatever you do, don't let the cat out."

She called me after the appointment to confess that while four people were looking at the house, she noticed the cat had somehow found its way to the front porch. She tried to pick it up and put it back in the house, but the cat bolted. So she chased after it.

The real estate agent proceeded to tell me that she had torn up her nylons trying to coax the cat out from under a car, and then out from under another car. Her clients eventually helped trap it and get it back into the home. As an agent in her 70s, she was very proud of catching the hyper feline.

Later that evening, I received a call from the owner. He was irate, after arriving home to find a strange cat in his apartment terrorizing his pet cat. Apparently, the house was in disarray, too, from an obvious struggle between the cats. I realized that the showing agent had chased down a stray cat!

Eventually, after emotions settled, the seller and I were able to share a few laughs over what happened. And for all the commotion the stray cat caused that day, he decided that he'd keep it as a pet.

—Chuck Stuarits, Imagine Realty, Oak Brook, Ill.

Owl Woos Agents Out the Door

I was mentoring a new agent in my office who was holding his first open house, so the two of us arrived 20 minutes early to scout out other available listings nearby so we would be able to talk about them and potentially show those as well.

We got to the first door and knocked, but the new agent had already done his homework and knew the house was vacant. So we open the door and immediately met eyes with an enormous owl sitting by the fireplace. "The house is vacant with the exception of a three-foot owl," the new agent said.

We wondered if the bird could be fake, but quickly realized that fake owls don't turn their heads to look at you! A closer look around the house revealed feathers and bird droppings. The owl must have taken up residence there for a few days.

So we hatched an owl eviction plan. The agent was a brave ex-Marine who wanted to enter the home and face the owl head-on. He would then try to get the owl to fly toward the kitchen, while I ran to the back wall of sliding glass windows and opened them for the owl to fly out.

Luckily, the plan worked. But not without our fair share of excitement. As I opened the sliding glass windows, I felt the wisp of the tips of the owl's wing as it flew past me. Open house visitors who wanted to hear about nearby properties got more than they bargained for that day.

—Sheryl Chiaramonte, ABR®, GRI, The Double Agents Team, Realty Executives, Tucson, Ariz.

Real Estate Pro-Turned-Vet

A seller had left me specific showing instructions:  "Dog is very friendly. If necessary, let out in yard, then back in when finished showing." This sounded easy enough, so I didn't think much of it. At least not until I saw the dog.

When my client and I arrived at the house, we discovered the dog was a large Siberian Husky with a cone around its head so it wouldn't chew up a bandage on its injured foot. The dog greeted us by jumping up on my client and almost knocking her down. I promptly led the dog to the back door.

But as the dog made its way out the door, it hit its rather large cone on the doorframe. The cone popped open and the dog ran across the yard, giving it now unhindered access to the injured foot.

In a matter of seconds, the dog had the bandage fully removed to reveal a 3-inch gash on its leg. I called the listing agent and she said that the sellers were unreachable at the moment.

Being a dog lover, I didn't want to just leave the dog the way it was. I reattached the ends of the cone and put it back on the dog, but when I attempted to try to dress the dog's wound, it wanted no part of it. The dog gave me a big smile (or so I wished) showing me his sharp pearly whites. 

The sellers had cream colored carpets so I knew if I let the dog inside, his blood would stain the carpets. So after waiting another half hour with no call, I reluctantly left the house with the dog in the fenced in yard.

The next day I called to check on the status of the dog. I find out it was OK and its foot was rebandaged. I asked how the dog hurt its foot in the first place, and I learned it happened after another real estate practitioner accidentally let the dog run out of the house during ashowing … a neighbor thought the dog was going to kill his chickens, and shot it in the leg. Sad but true.

—Val Strode, Coldwell Banker, Radcliff, Ky.