This is a post about dogs. Right now, you dog lovers out there are thinking "Oh good!", while cat people might be saying "Well, okay, they are animals, so I can deal with it." And you non-pet people are probably going "Dogs?! This post is for the birds." Okay, so indulge me. I read a charming book over the weekend, Dog House: A Love Story by Carol Prisant, and it got me thinking about how my home has truly become a dog house. But first, let me tell you about the book. The author poignantly writes about her life long desire to be a dog owner...and what happens once she finally becomes mother to furry children. There are humorous anecdotes about ill-behaved dogs, sweet tempered dogs, dogs that get car sick, dogs that can swim and those that can't. In addition to the multitude of canine companions, Prisant's dear husband of forty two years and her son figure prominently in the book- and of course in her life too. All in all, it's sweet, funny, touching and most definitely heartwarming read. And, it's one that made me think of my dog.
I used to be very particular about my home. I mean, I still am, but I once gave new meaning to the word uptight. We're talking bordering on becoming Harriet Craig. Everything stayed new looking for a long time. Fresh, crisp linen on the bed that never seemed to wrinkle. Clean, spot-free fabric on the sofa. A floor so shiny you could see your reflection, not to mention the fact that you really could eat from it.
And then came Alfie. Dear, sweet Alfie. And along with Alfie came errant white hairs that started to litter my once shiny floor. Oh, and the stray kibble that turned up in the dining and living rooms, despite the fact that his bowl lives in the kitchen. In fact, I believe that Alfie is a food hoarder. I once gave him a bite of biscuit that I later found wedged between my bed pillows. But you know what? Instead of pulling my hair out with anxiety and frustration, I actually started to relax. So what if a white fur tumbleweed comes rolling out from behind the console table. That's what Swiffers are for. And yes, the shininess of my floors has subsided a bit thanks to tiny paw prints (who knew dogs have such oily little feet?), but I simply spray some Bona cleaner on the floor and buff away. Despite the fur, the spots that seem to appear on the sofa and chairs, and the smashed kibble on the floor, Alfie taught me to relax. And you know what? I actually enjoy my home a lot more than I did before. It's easier to enjoy things when you're not so anxiety-ridden.
Okay, so I'm not completely cured of my Harriet Craig tendencies. As I write this, Alfie is asleep on my newly upholstered wing chair. But, I made sure to put a blanket underneath him to protect my chair from what I call his weeping eye syndrome (don't ask). And when I see him making a bed for himself on the Porthault bed linen, I don't FREAK anymore. I simply say "Eh, it can go in the washing machine." Because thanks to Alfie, my condo finally feels like home. No amount of decorating, good upholstery, nice linen, and pretty rugs could do for my condo what all 11 pounds of Alfie has done. Oh sure, all of it made my condo a nice place in which to live, but a dog is what really what brought everything to life.
Now, will someone please remind me of this when I'm standing outside in the pouring rain, cursing under my breath, and begging Alfie to please take care of business before we both drown?