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February 01, 2010

Scooter saves the day!

Man’s best friend isn’t just great for lifelong companionship but new flooring as well, as our feature condo owner finds out

Pepper Rodriguez

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Jen Sutherland and her brown dachshund, Scooter, have been inseparable companions for 14 years, since she was a kid in Cranbrook, B.C., and the bond they share goes far beyond an ordinary friendship. But little did Jen know her precious pet would one day save her from the curse of ugly carpet flooring.

Jen has lived two years in her 700-square-foot, one-bedroom condo in the southwest community of Palliser and it was a home she fell in love with instantly. “It had a great layout with lots of space for what I needed and really everything I could ask for,” she tells Condo Living.

Except, she says, for the “hideous” carpet flooring. “Everything was perfect except for that, and I intended to replace it but I quickly found out that wouldn’t come cheap.”

Jen already works two full time jobs, one as a graphic designer for a Calgary marketing firm and also as a staffer at a cycling store (“on top of freelance design work,” she adds). But things were still a little tight. “So I just resigned myself to living with that old carpet flooring for a little longer.”

Then came the day when Scooter got sick. “I think he got out in the yard and got into some mushrooms or something. But later that night I just woke up to the sound of my dog getting very sick on the floor,” Jen recounts.

The next morning she saw her ugly pinkish carpet just got a little uglier with new splashes of unwanted colour courtesy of Scooter, whom she’s had since she was in Grade 9.

“I couldn’t get it clean, I tried everything, and it wasn’t just in one spot. I got desperate and called my mom to see if she knew of any carpet cleaner that might work. And she suggested that maybe I should check with my home insurance coverage first.”

Much to Jen’s everlasting relief, her insurance did cover this kind of damage. In the end, she got the perfect hardwood flooring she had always wanted at a fraction of the price (“All it cost me came to $190.”) And best of all, Scooter is fine.

“I walk around barefoot all the time now, and Scooter seems to be enjoying the new floor too, I was careful to choose a type of hardwood that didn’t get scuffed up too easily by his paws,” Jen says.

The new flooring is just the icing on the cake, Jen says she has always been handy around the house and was able to renovate most of her stacked townhome condo by herself (with the help of a few friends).

She was able to replace the baseboards (“That was the biggest challenge,” she says) and had painted the interiors in light pastel colours that truly reflect her down-to-earth personality.

She says she recognized the unit’s potential the minute she saw it and fell in love with it instantly. “Coming from renting apartments and basement suites, this condo unit almost immediately felt like home to me.”

The one-bedroom, one-bath layout with a galley kitchen affords her plenty enough space, she keeps everything tidy and interesting with bookshelves and a hope chest that her mother gave her. “She gave one to all four of her kids,” she says. And just like Scooter, the chest goes where she goes.

Palliser West is a 22-unit complex with single-level and two-storey suites. It is by no means a new development, but it is clean and tidy and well maintained, Jen says. She loves its quiet location along a tree-lined street, and the big, shared backyard is good for the dog — she just has to watch out for the mushrooms the next time.

The lesson in all this: know what your home insurance policy covers. Now, thanks to her mom, and especially to Scooter, Jen can fully enjoy life as a condo owner. 

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