I needed the impossible- an affordable place to stay near A1A (name of beachside town) in Florida in mid-December that was both near my parents (Alzheimer’s mother and terrified father) and dog-friendly, as I would have just finished showing all weekend at the biggest dog show in America, in Orlando. I could not believe my luck when I found this cute bungalow with an almost-oceanview, under $100 a night and sure, I could keep my dogs there, in their crates. I explicitly told my host that the dogs would be alone for several hours each day while I visited my parents (and talk about ‘those things’ with my dad), at their beachfront condo (no dogs allowed there), only a mile away. She was very nice about it, saying ‘of course, no problem.’ Totally understanding! What a relief. This was 4 whole months prior to my Florida trip and I felt quite secure knowing that this little annoying detail was taken care of in an affordable way. I had just finished spending nearly $1000 in hotel fees during the dog show at a fancy high rise hotel near the convention center, so I really needed a stress-free financial break at that point. Especially dealing with my parents at this time. They’d spent their lives alienating some of my siblings, including me, and the visit was potentially volatile. But—oh boy, my host was so COOL and relaxed and welcoming and friendly!
Every day I had coffee with her in her living room (she stayed in her other bedroom) and we talked about all kinds of things. I made sure to bring up ‘how are the dogs behaving when I’m not here?’ each day. She always replied, ‘Good! Fine! No problem.’ I told her, ‘Well, if they bark or whine, you can just pop your head in there and tell them to shut up’ and she was just like ‘No, don’t you worry about it- it’s all good.’ I just wanted to make sure she was happy and every day I was so very careful to pick up each and every dog turd from her tiny back yard. I had 3 medium sized show dogs with me, so that was something I did want to make sure was perfection. Half of her back yard was covered with very old, rotted and broken decking and of course that is where the dogs preferred to poop. I am not tiny, so walking on this decking was dangerous to me but I was very careful in my foot placement so I would not break through it and stretched (thank you, yoga!) to get every brown surprise out there.
I was there exactly 2 days and 3 nights, from late Monday night to Thursday mid-morning. Imagine my shock when I opened the email notice of my host’s review of me- and discovered that she had patiently waited to air her grievances about allowing dogs not during our morning coffee discussions, but on the public review page on AirBnB. She complained about the dog’s barking, her relationship with her next door neighbor (who has loud children! Plus I was careful each day to say hello to said neighbor), that the dog poop smell was coming into the bedroom (I have a very good nose for dog scat and no, it was not. There was no hose out there and if there was, I would have used it. It is not my fault that she has broken decking on the ground in her back yard. How do you clean poop residue from that? I did not leave much, if any, residue anyway. Dog show people are notoriously good at cleaning up after our dogs). She ended by angrily stating that she would not allow dogs anymore, as if I was one of ‘those’ dog owners. I was so mortified that I deleted my 100% perfect AirBnB profile and will never use AirBnB again. She ruined my trust of AirBnB hosts.
Moral of the story: hosts are liars. If they seem cool, believe me, they are not. You get what you pay for at fancy high rise hotels!!