Re: competing special needs
From: Mariana Almeida (
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 14:27:10 -0700 (PDT)
I am someone with pet dander allergies, and I would steamed with I suddenly had 
to face this in the common house! I already avoid visiting of neighbors in 
their homes (all but 4 of neighbors have pets). I would find it unacceptable to 
have this animal in the common house and would lobby vigorously to have it not 
That being said, I have researched how to mitigate the effects of dander, at it 
is possible. It's costly, time consuming and not a sure bet. 

It involves: 
frequent washing of animal
frequent washing of all carpets, floors, furniture, walls (yes, you have to 
wash the walls) 
minimizing or removal of any stuffed furniture
special products sprayed on stuffed furniture to de-activate the pet dander. 
You would probably need to pay a housecleaner for the common house to do this 
cleaning at least weekly, if not more. You may end up doing this and STILL have 
the common house be uninhabitable by allergic people. Good product are here:
A consideration: how many people have dander allergies vs. the needs of one. 
Per year, how many trips to the doctor will the allergic people now need to 
have due to asthma and allergies? How will their health be compromised due to 
the needs of  this new owner? (Mine would be.) If all the allergic people move 
out, and how the animal is allowed the common house, how will this affect 
future resale to allergic people? Just thinking ahead here, but it's not that 
far fetched. 
Hey, this gets my dander up! Ha ha ha!
Berkeley cohousing, Calif.

----- Original Message ----
From: melanie griffin <melgrif [at]>
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2008 1:46:43 PM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ competing special needs

i concur. what a dilemma!. could the disabled person use the short term
solution of medication for meals or activities? or could a volunteer fulfill
the functions of her service dog for those times? of course you should try
to accommodate her disability, but any accommodation has to be reasonable,
which in this case probably means it doesn't prevent  others' disabilities
from being accommodated. that's why the word "reasonable" always precedes
"accommodation" in the ADA and other anti-discrimination laws.

good luck to you!

On Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 10:31 AM, Joanie Connors <jvcphd [at]> wrote:

> What a difficult dilemma! How frustrating for you!
> On the easy side, you might arrange to have the service dog bathed just
> before meals and meetings. The most common allergen is pet dander.
> A deeper solution would be to have the parties involved (allergic people
> and
> service dog owner) meet and decide together on a solution.
> If you put yourself in the role of eternal fixer, you may find that no
> solution is satisfactory. But when the people involved have to come up with
> (affordable) solutions, they are less likely to complain.
> Joanie Connors
> Silver City Eco-Community
> (forming in Silver City, New Mexico)
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Joelyn Malone" <JKMalone [at]>
> To: <cohousing-l [at]>
> Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 5:20 PM
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Non-standardized houses?
> >
> > We are unfortunately coping with competing accessibility issues right
> > now. We have many members that have asthma and allergies, and we've
> > worked toward getting the main house/commons house free of allergens
> > (remember, this is a huge 1924 building we are talking about!).
> >
> > Now we have a potential new owner who needs a service dog, to be with
> > her most of the time. She would be shut out of Commons House activities
> > if we continued to prioritize the people with allergies. While the new
> > person's dog is one of the "allergy-free" breeds, one of our members has
> > broken out in hives when being around that breed. She feels allowing the
> > service dog in common space would completely shut her out of use of the
> > Commons.
> > This isn't a light matter, as the new buyer lives in Georgia and left
> > her dog in Georgia for this visit (Is handling her disability with
> > medications  right now, but that's not a long-term solution.) So we
> > can't  just have the allergic person spend time with the dog to see if
> > it would work.
> > We've thought of  "dividing  up the common space",  but that would
> > exclude one or the other from community meals. And in this old
> > building,  air flow is such that  anything in the building is most
> > likely to be everywhere in the building.
> >
> > Solutions, ideas, anyone?
> > _________________________________________________________________
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> >
> >
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