My furbabies have been a little (a lot) needy as of late.  They have become my minions, they just sit and stare at me or follow me wherever I go. Here we go again…“No, Jozi, you can not have another snack. No, Buddy, you just went outside 5 minutes ago.”  I really think it is a conspiracy to run me out of the house so I will leave them alone to take their naps on my bed and steal my new super soft pillow. (Buddy ate the last one)

“Work from home” they say.  “It will be great,” they say.  “You will be so productive!” ” they say.  Well, I am working with at least one dog in my lap most of the time. Heaven forbid I am on the phone or trying to tape a video, that is a magnet for attention grabbing efforts.  I love my furbabies, but enough is enough.  I don’t know if I can take another minute of those pitiful (or beady depending on the mood) eyes looking up at me begging me to bend to their every need and whim. I wanna go out…I wanna eat…I am bored…I want to play…there is thunder, I am scared.  There is no end. The truth of the matter is they have me trained. I am their own personal human slave.  Would I really have it any other way?  Probably not.  Does anyone else feel this way?

I look around and ponder, “What can we humans do to improve our pets’ living environments and provide more daily enrichment?”  This is often a subject I talk about with my pet owners when designing a remodel or a new home.  It is no longer about “Who let the dogs out” (Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, sing along with me, I know you want to!) but where do they go when they are let in?  That may be a soft bed or a dog crate in the corner of the living room. Either way, we want to give our pets a place to call their own.

Dog crates are one of the biggest eyesores for people that have dogs as part of their pack.  The questions become:

  • Where do you put them?
  • Why do they take up so much room?
  • Dog crates are ugly, can you make them look better?

A question I typically ask my clients is when do you use the crate?  Usually, the answer is when we are not around, like bedtime or when we are away from home for an extended period of time. I then ask, does it really matter where it is located?

If you have the ugly dog crate dilemma in your life, I have a few possible solutions for you:

(Keep in mind, if you have a dog the size Clifford or a small horse, some of these solutions might not work)

  • A fabric crate cover – this can be made out of fabric to match your decor, or more generic ones can be found on Amazon and other retailers.
  • A specialty hybrid end table or TV console.  These are pieces of furniture made for two purposes, the first as a “crate” and the second as a beautiful, functional piece of furniture.  These can be custom made or can also be found online.
  • A crate built in or retrofitted into a base cabinet, like in a mudroom or laundry area.  In a current client remodel, we are taking the space of 2 bottom cabinet doors and creating a “crate” by first taking off the doors and removing the center panel, then attaching heavy wire mesh, adding a latch and reinstalling. The drawers above are being taken apart and the face of the drawer is being attached to the cabinet for looks only. A nice cushy pad will cover the bottom of the cabinet.  This new luxury dog apartment will end up being 24 x 36 x 36 high. The perfect size for sweet Simba – a petite black lab.
  • A crate or bed area carved out of a nook in your home, such as under a stairwell. These can have a swinging gate style, barn door style, or even no door at all if it is just for bedtime and daily naps.

Carving a space out especially for Fido is important for your pets health and wellbeing. They should have small spaces that are theirs, that give them the feeling of safety and security, especially when we (their humble human slaves) are not around.

In one of my recent weekly emails, I wrote about fitting Fido into our homes, asking for other ideas. I had some brilliant responses including from one friend who carved out and created a special space for her two fur babies and a (much larger) visiting extended family member.  This ingenious custom furniture piece/crate is attached to a fenced backyard with a pet door through the wall.  The common misconception is that a pet door must be inserted in a regular door, but in reality it can be placed in any exterior wall with a little ingenuity and basic construction skills. This crate doubles as a beautiful console table. Just imagine what pieces of furniture could double as a crate attached to the great outdoors.

Over the years, my family has had a multitude of pets.  From tiny hamsters, guinea pigs, a house rabbit, dogs, cows who each required a different type of custom built habitat or home.  Our current crew is three dogs. Jozi, a Yorkiepoo, Aiden, a Border Collie and Buddy – a rescued Belgian Malinois.  They are the most spoiled lot of them all.  Buddy has a very large crate in the basement he can retreat to when he is tired of lounging on the new sofa upstairs (covered of course).  Aiden prefers the workshop life and his new Carhart bed (because he was eating a bed a week) and Jozi loves a good lap, the comfy bed, or my recliner on top of my fuzzy blanket (with or without me).

Do you have some unique dog indoor housing ideas? Shoot me an email and/or send me some pics and I will post them on my social media, website or share your ideas in a future email.

And what about advice for feline and “tiger” lovers alike?  Coming soon: a new blog with ideas for other critter keepers.  Not sure if this is southern slang or hillbilly speak.  Take your pick, I am an Arkansan by way of Mississippi.

Would you like weekly design and lifestyle emails?  Send me your email address and I will sign you up to get my weekly ramblings, straight to your inbox. Bonus, I love to hear from and respond to my email subscribers.

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