5 Nice Things I Can’t Have Because I Have Dogs

Do your dogs destroy your nice things, like mine have? I have a solution: No more nice things. Sigh.


I used to ask myself two questions when considering a big purchase: “Do I want it?” and “Can I afford it?” That second question, admittedly, did not always get an honest answer in my 20s.

A bit older and wiser, I now consider need instead of want, as well as affordability. I also think about whether a pricey item will survive my dogs, Dolly and Spot.

The wear and tear they bring factors heavily into these decisions, as our 12 years together have taught me an important lesson: I can’t have nice things. Here are five of those nice things I can’t have — at least not in their original condition.

1. The designer bag

Dolly went through a chewing phase as a young pup, and she had a particular taste for high-quality leather. In her opinion, my expensive Coach bag made a much better chew toy than anything designed as such.

I no longer splurge on such expensive purses, and even though Dolly’s destructive years have long passed, I keep the ones I do have well out of her reach.

2. The velvet couch

Through no fault of their own, Dolly and Spot took a toll on a fancy velvet couch I bought pre-pups. Their short black, white, and brown hairs worked their way into the material, refusing to come out for even the most powerful of vacuums and the stickiest of tape. Their spots of drool, left behind after naps, were impossible to remove without creating even larger stains.

I soon traded in the couch, which had begun to look even more like it belonged in a brothel toward the end, for more durable furniture. The dark-brown corduroy of our current couch and loveseat hides their hairs until cleaning day. Then the cushion covers come off and go into the washer on gentle.

3. The down comforter

Dolly and Spot sleep with me, keeping my feet warm and dreams sweet. Shortly after I brought her home, Dolly threw up in the middle of the night and made quite the mess. The vomit had seeped through the duvet and into the down comforter by the time I returned with a wet rag.

After paying for dry cleaning, I switched to a quilt that could go into the washing machine or not cost a fortune to replace.

4. The dream car seats

Pre-pups, I had always wanted a car with soft leather seats. By the time I could afford such a luxury, they had lost their appeal, thanks to Dolly, Spot, and our walking buddies.

We would regularly hit a park across town with them, with the pet parents taking turns driving. When my friend picked us up in her fancy German sedan, Dolly and Spot would ride with her Golden Retriever in the back on seats covered with towels. The towels protected the seats from dog nails, which left scratches on the leather. My friend was forever retucking those towels.

When I had to purchase a new car, I chose durable cloth seats with a protective repellent (see previously mentioned Dolly vomit).

5. The e-reader

I am a bit of a bookworm, and my Kindle travels from room to room in our house. One day, I carelessly left it on the ottoman right next to one of Spot’s squeaky balls. When he went to get the ball, one paw landed on my e-reader. It left a mark on the screen that looks exactly like an itsy-bitsy spider.

My Kindle still works, but more than once I have picked it up only to immediately throw it and the “spider” across the room. I hate spiders, and my short-term memory stinks.

All of the above remind me to keep Dolly and Spot in mind when making big purchases, and that’s fine. Things, no matter how nice, cannot bring me the joy my dogs do. Having them has helped me leave materialism behind — and also taught not to leave anything I can’t live without in their reach.

Let’s hear from you, readers. What have your dogs damaged or destroyed? What do you no longer have because of them? Please share in the comments. And if you have pictures, let’s see them!

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