• Tell Your Friends

It’s time I introduce you to some integral members of my family: Bernard P. and George Michael Loechner. Wave hello, friends!

This is the darling duo on Halloween last year. Left: Bernard P., Right: George Michael.

This is the darling duo on Halloween last year. Left: Bernard P., Right: George Michael. And also, if you'd like to know what the P. in Bernard P. stands for, I suggest you adopt a dog with a small bladder. It will become quite clear soon thereafter.

Bernard P. (Bernie) is a small Yorkipoo with a big attitude, and George Michael (George) is a soft-coated Wheaton terrier with an unhealthy affection for obedience. Seriously, the dog is perfection in a bucket. You’ll love him; come visit.

Anyway, Husband and I have discussed how this renovation and new floor plan will affect our dogs more than I’d care to admit. I suppose that’s what couples do pre-children: meddle into their pets’ lives until they have teenagers they can lecture about misplacing the car keys yet again.

Regardless, we’ve been working really hard to create a seamless transition for the pups. And together, we’ve come up with a few ideas that will (hopefully!) keep the dogs from losing all of their marbles (Lord knows Bernie has lost quite enough along the way…).*

Do these look like faces that can restrain themselves in the morning?

Do these look like faces that can restrain themselves in the morning?

1. Lifestyle first.

Shortly after we purchased our home, I had a bit of a nervous breakdown. After walking through the home and planning our renovation, I quickly noticed there was no direct exit to the backyard. Thus, in order to take the dogs out to relieve themselves, we would either have to exit through (1) two garage doors and a gate or (2) our sun room, then into the backyard.

Clearly, with a dog named Bernard P., this wouldn’t do. So, we installed a sliding glass door (thank you, Anderson!) from the dining room directly to the backyard. It was a tough decision and definitely not in our original budget, but our lifestyle called for a direct exit. It would have been easy to think that we would adjust to exiting through multiple doors, but reality (and sanity!) comes first.

2. Hidden organization is key.

Whether your pets collect bones, toys or cardboard boxes, hidden storage and an organizational system are essential. I’m assuming this rule is pretty standard with children, as well?

design_for_mankind 2010-07-20 at 3.20.28 PM
This model from Omni+
can act as a TV stand and hidden storage in one.

3. Overhaul the staples.

We crate our dogs when we’re not home. Because of the aforementioned bladder issue and the fact that Bernie is a disobedient hack (that I love endlessly! truly!), we simply can’t trust him within the walls of our home.

Gorgeous, no? Give your dog a futuristic home and yourself some peace of mind.

Gorgeous, no? Give your dog a futuristic home and yourself some peace of mind.

At the moment, we have some crates that are functional but not pretty. I’m thinking of splurging on the Black eiCrate from Go!Pet Design and letting the crates be an integral part of the room, rather than hiding them in a bedroom when company arrives. Similarly, these Pagoda feeders make my average dog bowls look like dishes fit for a pauper.

Take a cue from your pets and relax!

Take a cue from your pets and relax!

4. Breathe deeply and let go.

And last, take a deep breath. Your home should be lived in, not showcased. If your pet’s favorite toy is that giant, raggedy polyester snake, so what? Pets are around to keep you happy and active, so give them some breathing room and space to grow. Your house isn’t everything.

Your home is.

*If you’re not familiar with my musings about Bernie, he’s quite quirky. Yesterday he gathered three oranges and two tomatoes from our garden, then sat atop them for 20 minutes.

P.S. Want to play voyeur and check out over 100 dog-friendly homes? Drool away over at Design*Sponge.

By the way, got any questions for me about remodeling? Decorating tips? Living beautifully with pets? Let’s get a Q&A going for my August 4 post. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve been chewing on!


Design Inspiration

17 Responses

  1. cindy says:

    they are just the cutest – i love bernie p as THE ghost! the crate is terrific! it looks so cool. i think the door sounds reasonable for you and your sweet companions.

  2. Erin M says:

    George and Bernie are way too cute :) Do you know of any websites that help with decorating with cats?


  3. Loved this column…..we have to little dogs, and we had a new energy efficient sliding glass patio door installed in our old home. Unfortunately when the contractor put the doggie door in (which is designed to go with a patio door) we were left with a door that allows the heat to come in during the summer and the cold to come in during the winter and bugs can go and come as they please……HELP!

  4. Margie Williams says:

    Love, Love, Love the pic's of Bernie & George. I, too have a blind Poodle named Bernie (Bernard)…but, then counting him…I have 8 fur babies in all. Being involved with rescues can certainly hinder one's decorative juices from flowing! HA! At any rate, I really enjoyed the blog and giggled from your wonderful sense of humor! God Bless you, Erin for being such a great Doggie Mom! :)

  5. erin / dfm says:

    Ahhh you are so sweet, guys!

    Garage Door Olympia —
    The key to dog training is oyster crackers. Works like a charm, and our dogs will stay put (for photo shoots!) for ages!

    Rita —
    Gracious, that sounds like quite an issue! Does your dog definitely need a dog door? If so, I've heard really great things about this model: http://www.freedompetpass.com/

    Erin M. —
    Modern Cat is a lovely read!: http://www.moderncat.net/

  6. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!|

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