By Sue Murphy
Puppy update: I am happy to report that Dave is making steady progress. He is growing in size and strength and sometimes wisdom. If Cesar Millan decides to make a snap inspection, we will fail miserably, but in amateur circles, I think we are doing just fine.
As with having a toddler, I’ve had to make some changes to my house. There are no shoes on the floor, no closet doors open, as that would be setting poor Dave up to fail. Since he has learned to literally spring into action, I had to remove the tablecloth from the dining room table and reposition the throw pillows on the couch.
A gate has transformed my laundry room into a suburban industrial dog condo. The floor is furnished with blankets and water bowls, and the window ledge has been doused with a please-do-not-chew-on-me spray that seems to be working.
The same spray on the sofa dust ruffle met with less success. I have done some stop-gap stitching but I know there will be other rounds ahead. This is frustrating, really, given that the couch is right next to Dave’s mountain of playthings. He has toys that are fuzzy and others that squeak and some that are hardy for chewing. He has his own doggie chaise as well as a pineapple-shaped dog tent (Sponge Dog Square Pants … I couldn’t resist), but somehow my place on the couch is the big attraction.
Dave found a delicious place to sleep in the sun on the dining room rug, although he does not understand why the sunny spot disappears on a cloudy day. Sadly, the sunspot is located right next to the tasty legs of the dining room chairs. (More spray)
I had to employ a more pungent spray on my backyard landscaping because Dave found it hilarious to lift up the corners of the newly laid sod and toss it into the air. I’ll admit, it was a funny sight, but as our pack grownup, I had to put the kibosh on the game.
I’ve tried to make the house dog-friendly, although I’m sure that if Dave were doing the decorating, things would be different. The table legs would be beef flavored. The dust ruffle would squeak. The exterior doors would open when he stepped onto a mat made of potty pads just in case he didn’t make it, and when he returned inside, a treat dispenser would automatically present him with a reward for a job well done. Actually, it would give him a treat anyway. I mean, we’re talking about a doggie dream home.
Being a chronic organizer, all of this doggie redecorating has been a challenge for me. Me, who relishes all things neat and tidy, has had to give a bit – OK, a lot – but there are two of us now, sharing a single living space, each trying to get their needs met. Dave needs food and frolic and rest and reassurance. Come to think of it, I need the same things. It will all work out.
When the kids were little, I felt like I lived in a toy box. Now I live in a doghouse, and it’s OK. It’s better than OK because it comes with a warm little body who just likes to be with me.
At the end of the day, happiness comes down to remembering what’s really important, and care and concern trump couches and table legs. If Cesar Millan drops by, he’ll just have to get over it. I’m whispering to my own dog now and we’re doing just fine.