TUCKER, AN AUSTRALIAN shepherd, and Ellie, a terrier mix, were used to the quiet of their home in San Antonio before they moved to The Whitney—an 11-story apartment building in downtown Bethesda—in August 2014. Suddenly they found themselves surrounded by noises and long hallways. “They barked at everything,” says the dogs’ owner, Sara Bandish.
Lisa Almanza, who also moved to The Whitney recently, had a similar experience with her two pugs, Annie and Bubby. “They weren’t elevator dogs—that’s for sure,” Almanza says. “He pooped in the elevator the first day we were here.”
Illustration by Goodloe Byron
Daisy Buchanan, a cat who moved from Hollywood, California, to The Whitney in March 2014, faced perhaps the biggest change. According to her “Pet-of-the-Month” write-up that was posted throughout the building, Daisy was used to “luxuriating on expansive terraces in the SoCal sunshine” and is still adjusting to life inside the Beltway.
Luckily for these pets, many apartment buildings go above and beyond to welcome furry friends into the community. Pet owners who are apartment hunting can expect amenities such as dog walking services, pet spas, dog treats at the front desk and “Yappy Hours,” occasional opportunities for pets and their owners to network and socialize.
“It used to be that you just had to accept pets, and that was enough to be pet friendly,” says Chad Cooley, a senior vice president at Bozzuto Management Company, which operates 18 apartment communities in Montgomery County. “But with the evolution of how pets fit into families—for many folks, pets are like children—the amenities packages have definitely changed.”
Many pet owners are unable to come home midday to walk their dogs, so they hire a service to do it. The concierge at apartment buildings such as Triangle Towers and the Bainbridge, both of which are in downtown Bethesda, will greet the dog walker, provide a key, and collect the key when the walk is over.
Gallery Bethesda and Cadence at Crown in Gaithersburg also offer a “pet spa” where residents can clean their pets in sinks and dry them off with a blow-drying hose. At Cadence, the spa is attached to an indoor play area with agility equipment. Pets can climb through a small tunnel, walk up and down ramps, and jump through a vertical frame.
Lorraine Ebbin, a concierge at The Whitney, hands out dog treats to pets that stop by the front desk. She knows most of the pets in the building by name, as well as when to expect them. Bandish, whose dogs always tug on their leash to get to the front desk, says there’s even a supply of treats for dogs that have allergies. At Triangle Towers, Sharon Pare, a regional leasing specialist for Southern Management Corp., will sometimes make frozen pops that include Greek yogurt, peanut butter, granola and blueberries for the dogs in the building.
Every October, Triangle Towers hosts a Halloween costume contest for pets. Last year, an English bulldog named Winnie won for dressing as a frog. Another crowd favorite was a terrier named Emerson who dressed as a scuba diver—complete with flippers and Coke bottles wrapped in foil for air tanks.
For one “Yappy Hour” in June, Triangle Towers unrolled a red carpet lined with small red fire hydrants that led to the rooftop pool area. Dogs dressed in their swimsuits and walked down the carpet while their owners enjoyed food and drinks. Though separate mini dog pools had been set up, it wasn’t long before the pups and the people were all swimming together.
Kelly Seegers is an editorial intern.