Some of my family members often reference how much cleaner (and nicer) my house could be if only I didn’t have “all those animals.” I have two dogs and two cats; not quite a zoo, but not lacking for fur, dirt, and the occasional chewed shoe. Thanks to a certain dog going through the last of her puppy stages, I have a chewed-up couch, my living room blinds need replacing, and a good bit of my DVDs have shredded cases. Besides the troubles my fur-kids can cause, they are irreplaceable in my eyes.
Yes, I’ll admit, I have reminded Remi of how much whatever she destroyed cost versus how much she cost (free!). It has yet to have an actual effect on whether or not she continues to destroy things. People have been quick to tell me that my dogs wouldn’t destroy things “if they had enough exercise” or if I crated them every day. Since it’s rained nearly every day for the past month and been blazing hot every other day, walking in the neighborhood hasn’t been an option. We play indoor games instead, and they still play their daily game of chase in the backyard. (You’ve already read about one of their favorite outdoor games!) I’d say they’re plenty tired and stimulated. When I leave during the day, I leave a nature show on for them, give them each a Kong with frozen treats inside, and pull out some toys to pass the time.
Typically, they just nap throughout the day; however, Remi is still growing out of the puppy stages, hence the DVD fiasco. I’ve also discovered she’s not a fan of Shark Week on Netflix. Their favorite show is called Feeding Time, all about various animals and what and how they eat. Their favorite episode is the one about the giant pandas. It’s so cute to see them curl up on the couch to watch it!
As for crating, I have nothing against it, it’s just not an option I want to go back to. Axle finally graduated his crate at two years old, and we thought it only fair that Remi graduate with him, although she was only a little over one at the time. Axle has done great outside of the crate and is a lot happier having a couch and house to lay around in rather than just a crate. Remi did great at first, too, perhaps still amazed that she had all this room to romp and play and nap. One day, she decided the couch looked tasty … and the rest is history!
You’ve read about the cool stuff I like to buy for my dogs. Yes, I do like to spoil them, but there’s a method to the madness. Every new thing I buy makes MY life easier, just as it makes theirs a little brighter. The pet fountain eliminates the constant cleaning and filling of a water bowl. The dog-specific rugs cut down on fur, dirt tracking, and drool. (That means cleaner floors!) The treat jars cut out the host of bags that would sit around otherwise. The pet food containers cut out the large bags and help save space, as well as eliminate any potential bug problems. Oh, I could go on and on!
I also try to buy toys that are both durable and stimulating, such as Kongs and puzzle toys. Strangely enough, they are more easily amused by an empty two-liter Coke bottle than a basket full of super dog toys.
I sweep daily, in an attempt to keep the dirt and fur at bay. I also keep Remi’s hair trimmed — having her hair shorter means less dirt and grass clinging to it, hitching a ride into the house. When her hair was long, I could have sworn that she was tucking dirt under her armpits and sprinkling it over the floor and leather couch as she moved around.
I dust at least once a week, and brush the critters to remove loose fur. I don’t dry dust or use those fluffy duster things. That just pushes the dirt and hair around. To really get the dust and fur off your furniture, use a moist cloth or spray it with something like Endust. To my credit, you wouldn’t get any fur on you at my house unless you let one of my furry pals into your lap.
Sometimes, I’ve thought about what it would be like to have fewer pets. After all, Axle used to be our one and only. The problem with that was that he had severe separation anxiety. When I say severe, I mean severe as in eating the blinds, tearing at the door, eating off the door frame, and howling like he was in pain. He had to be crated when we weren’t home, and he spent most of that time destroying his crate. Once we got a second dog, his anxiety was drastically reduced, if not completely eliminated.
How we ended up with two cats was a fluke. We had wanted one who looked similar to my husband’s childhood cat, but we ended up with his sister instead. She spent her whole first night screaming bloody murder in our bathroom, so you can imagine my relief when our neighbor told us her brother was available after all!
Our cats and dogs are bonded as pairs as well as a pack. To separate them would be traumatic for all of them, and quite unnecessary. Cleaning up after your pets is just part of the responsibility of having them!
I’d love to have an immaculate house, but with a husband, four critters, and a little one on the way, I’ve settled for a house that’s clean enough to be healthy, yet dirty enough to be happy. There’s no shame in the nose prints on my French doors or big living room window, or the furbleweeds (fur-tumbleweeds) that roll across the floor if I skip sweeping for too long.
No, when I look down at the little brown dog curled up at my feet or at the big red one sprawled across the couch, his head in my lap, or the two cats tucked between the dogs and the couch, every bit of dirt and fur is worth it. Yes, my house WOULD be a whole lot cleaner if I didn’t have my pets, but it would also be emptier, as would my heart.
How about you? Is your house a mess because of your dogs? How do you deal with it? Let us know in the comments!
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