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8 Reasons Dogs Shouldn’t Sell Real Estate



best dog in costume

I love my dog – I truly do. Sophie has been my dedicated companion for almost fifteen years. To me, everything she does is cute. I even excused the hole in my Persian rug as an accident (aw, com’on – there was a stuffed toy involved.) Nonetheless, when she brought in a mangled foreign object with a tail and laid it at my feet today, I was completely underwhelmed by her cuteness. Eventually I revived myself and decided, out of necessity, that Happy Hour would begin early in the Banta household. 

It turns out that the rat-looking object was a stuffed something she had buried in the yard until it had been appropriately seasoned.  I was consoled (the Scotch helped), but it did occur to me that there have been many incidents involving man’s best friend that should serve as reminders of why we should demand, and I mean DEMAND, that the little bowsers not be present at an open house. The following incidents – all true – make my case:


 1)      One seller had an amorous dog that had an obsession with humping. (I never caught the dog’s name, so I will call him Charlie Sheen.) This provided many nervous laughs at one open house, but it is probably not the most dignified presentation a Listing Agent can offer. In fact, a dead body in the corner with a cooler and a sign that says “Have a Cold One” might cause less discomfort. Unless he’s bearing flowers and a diamond, put humping Charlie in the dog house.

2)      There was a dog named Bob with a penchant for lifting his leg on foreign objects. Apparently he considered visitors “foreign.” Let’s be honest folks, no one needs pee on their leg – not even if it’s their own.  Sure, maybe you could offer hip boots to the guests or give Bob a Bobbit, but a better choice would be to show Bob the door.

3)      Scooter did exactly that – he scooted.  Everywhere. From tile to Berber, Scooter liked to scoot the pooter. This is not usually appetizing. Of course, it would be worse if the Listing Agent did it, but it is tasteless nonetheless. Unless you can put a Swiffer cloth on his bottom and get him to do the hardwood, demand that cheeky Scooter launch his haunches outside.

4)      My client, Lori, had the cutest German Shepard puppy you have ever seen. Cuter than an Easter peep. Unfortunately, his new food did not suit his plumbing. Just before one open house, as Lori was about to leave, Bowie suddenly left a pile. And another. And yet another. It was like an explosion in a Hershey factory. As Lori tried to clean up and get him into his cage, visitors began to arrive. I was frantic as I directed people where to step in order to avoid the strategically placed land mines. Bowie and Lori are still my friends, and the house did sell, but I learned that “cute” is not a synonym for “fragrant;” and digested food is not a good decorating choice.


5)      Okay, this one involves a cat. But the paw count is the same. My partner was holding an open house, when he decided to show of the hand made custom cabinets in the kitchen. He opened the pantry, and a cat jumped down from the shelf, landing on him like Cato Fong in The Pink Panther. My partner screamed like a girly man, as did the prospective buyers. Thus I conclude that cats, too, should be sent to Club Med during an open house…unless the seller has a defibrillator handy.

6)      One woman had a dog who loved to turn in circles. Unfortunately, the dog would make himself dizzy and then fall on the ground in a heap. I was told this was very entertaining…but not when witnessed without explanation. It seems an agent was showing the property to several people when the dog decided to do its cabaret act in the back yard. The dog spun, flopped, and lay there in a heap of fur. Those who witnessed the stunt all screamed as the agent quickly called 911. When the paramedics arrived, they were directed to the back yard. The dog, excited to have a new audience, popped up and launched into an encore. Everyone had a great laugh, but the agent never got to pitch the house. The dog, however, got his own reality show.

7)      I heard about a dog that was left in the yard during showings – certainly a better choice than being inside. The dog, however, had had its vocal chords operated on to remove a growth. He still barked, but his bark was more like a gargle. When the listing agent followed up with the agent of a prospective buyer, he was told that the client loved the house but, “could never live next door to the old guy who was constantly hacking up phlegm.” (On the positive side, at least the old guy wasn’t mistaken for a scooter.)

8)      Blanchie is now in doggie heaven, but she was a good ol’ girl – very loving and sensitive. Her masters, my clients, had already purchased their next home and were packing up to move while their house was on the market. As I was showing the house, I detected a peculiar, and somewhat offensive, odor in one room. After the open house, I mentioned it to my client. She was baffled and began to search the area. It seems that Blanchie, when fearful of abandonment, always had dyspepsia. Upon seeing the suitcases set out in the room, she had promptly walked over and vomited on top of the clothes. 

Blanchie made her point…and I hope I did, too. Our furry creatures, no matter how adorable, do not belong at Open Houses. Yes, a case can be made that they behave better than some people, which is the subject of my next blog. If you thought pets were a challenge, the best is yet to come…

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I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn,, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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  1. Matt Thomson

    November 20, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Cute stories, but I thought I’d throw in the one reason dogs SHOULD sell real estate just to stand up for our friends.
    People (some anyway) love ’em. In photos, they attract attention. Without wanting to open up an old debate, I was convinced about 5 years ago to use the photo of me and my dog in much of my marketing. I went through the whole thing about professionalism, non-dog lovers, etc, but was convinced to try it.
    6 referrals specifically due to that photo in 5 years. I can’t say I’m proud that other real estate agents’ perception of doing their homework on finding a solid referral agent consists of “My clients are dog people and your dog is so cute,” but whatever works!
    Would I ever take my dog with me and have him try to sell live? No! But the photo works wonders!

  2. Joe Loomer

    November 20, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    In February, Sherri and I adopted Bob’s twin – Rebel. He won’t pee ON you, but he’ll claim every dad-blamed other piece of furniture in the house.

    I once scolded him and put him out on the back patio, only to watch him walk over and claim my grill. When I scolded him about the grill, he claimed the cooler. Seeing how this was going, I stopped scolding him and let him back in. He claimed my slippers, my wife’s purse, two of the dining room chairs, and our other dog’s bed. Frustrated, we resorted to doggie diapers. They worked great, he stopped – that is, until diaper graduation day.

    This has nothing to do with selling or buying homes, but it does have to do with the amount of flooring I’ll be out when we DO finally sell our house.

    We’ve changed his name to “Ole Yeller” in the meantime. He’s a miniature pinscher.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Gwen Banta

    November 20, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I love dogs, Matt – and I love that photo of you and your buddy. In spite of the incidents referred to in my blog, I must admit that some dogs may be better at sales than a few people I know. If my dog had opposable thumbs and could take the written test, she’d make a good go of it. She’s a math whiz who knows exactly how many treats she can ask for before I lose my cool, and she can tell time – witnessed by the fact that she starts licking my face before the alarm goes off. I am not sure what kind of food selection she would muster up if she were conducting an open house, and I am sure she would sleep through it anyway. Caravan would be no problem for her, and I am convinced she could be trained to drive better than I do. (But so could Stevie Wonder.) If I can teach her to expel gas privately rather than in the middle of a dinner party, she could be a good agent. After all, a few of my colleagues haven’t even learned that trick yet.

  4. Gwen Banta

    November 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Joe, your household must be hilarious…and fragrant, too. I think Ole Yeller is the perfect name for your dog. Due to his size and penchant for baptizing the furniture, I might also suggest “Squirt.” Let’s be honest, our dogs get away with more than our kids. My nephew urinated on the wall once in his sleep, so now he’s known as “Rainman.” God needs to re-design the male member with sites so he can learn to aim.

  5. Gwen Banta

    November 20, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Welcome back, Tempe!

  6. Bob Gibbs

    November 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Great article and i’m still laughing. Anytime you have a picture of a Golden Retriever to start, I’m in.
    Your points are also correct. Dogs, as cute as they are, need to be gome when a home is being shown. We lost our 15 year old golden last year and our new little dog, his name is Kumar, shows his excitement for meeting new people by peeing on their shoes.

  7. Gwen Banta

    December 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    That’s a nice, warm fuzzy greeting, Bob. I’d like to pee on a few shoes myself.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.



Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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Business Marketing

How Instagram’s latest redesign is more sinister than it seems

(MARKETING) Instagram’s latest updates have all but repurposed the app into an online mall – one that tracks everything you see, say, and buy on it.



Woman in hijab taking photo on her smartphone for Instagram, affected by the redesign.

Instagram started the new year off with a makeover in their latest redesign. The notifications button teleported to the top of the screen in the app’s new design, and now the “Shopping” button is in its place.

It’s a subtle yet insidious switch. You’re much more likely to select the marketplace out of habit, by accident, when searching your next dose of online validation.

The app has always been a vital tool for artists, craftspeople, and small businesses to promote their work — including myself. And the new redesign is intended to boost the visibility of those groups. At least, that’s Instagram’s argument.

In an article for The Conversation, Nazanin Andalibi of the University of Michigan School of Information provides a glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes.

“By choosing to make the Shop tab central to its platform,” she writes, “Instagram is sending its users a message: This platform is a business, and interactions on this platform are going to be commodified.”

As an advertiser, Instagram’s popularity has exploded in the last decade. Even big pharma is in on the surge, with seventy pharmaceutical companies purchasing ads on the app in 2020. (That made it the fastest growing pharma advertiser of the year.)

As we know, Instagram not only runs ads, but also uses user information to filter who sees what advertisements. Now, shopping is explicitly a central function of the app. It sometimes feels like a digital mall… And that’s not really what people signed up for.

I’ve had my account for since I was a teenager, and the experience I have using the app today is totally different from what it once was. For one, it’s increasingly difficult to differentiate paid ads from regular user content on Instagram.

And second, I use Instagram to promote my work, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing personal details about myself anymore.

Because, to use Anadalibi’s words: “Sharing or seeking information about a difficult, personal experience on a social media platform and then having the platform capitalize on an algorithmic understanding of the experience–which might or might not be accurate–is problematic.”

That goes doubly so for youth, who may not be fully aware of that engineering.

For instance, a teenager searching for body positive posts might receive personalized ad results for weight loss programs. A human would probably realize that’s an inappropriate, even triggering suggestion. But algorithms don’t think that way.

Alongside the redesign update, Instagram has also faces recent criticism for their Community Guidelines, which prevent suggestive and explicit images and speech.

And whether you agree with the guidelines or not, don’t be fooled. Instagram isn’t concerned with uplifting its creators, or protecting its young users. Their only goal is protecting their new bottom line, and staying as ad-friendly as possible.

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Business Marketing

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?



Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

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