Looking Forward To Life “In The Dog House”

by Beth Diane Bradley

The idea of owning your own home is often referred to as the American Dream.  I’ve been a home owner before, but for the past five years I’ve been renting an apartment.  There are many benefits of renting, such as not having to do any maintenance or pay for things that break – well, unless you’re the one that breaks them, of course.  And renters don’t have to mow the lawn, shovel the snow or paint the house.  As the saying goes, you can “just turn the key and go.”

But soon I will turn that key for the last time, and go back to owning a home. I recently decided to buy a fenced in yard.  Oh, and it comes with a house, too. I live with two mixed-breed hound dogs that make apartment life more than a little challenging some days, so the fence was a priority.

At one time, there were twelve dogs and three cats living in my 8-plex. And one of my dogs has never been able to understand why there are other animals in his house, where they are hiding, and why they don’t know he’s in charge.   It’s enough to drive a watch dog and his human a little bit crazy.

Survival has required some strategies I’ve learned by trial and error.  Like watching to see which dog is coming or going before taking mine out for one of four or more daily walks needed to, er… take care of business.

I used to walk them together, but I had to change my routine after a certain rabbit tantalized Butters into chasing her across a busy street, while the more mild-mannered Tucker ran in the other direction. Now I walk them around the block separately – four times a day per dog. It’s a great exercise program, but it’s hard to get anything else done.

I won’t be moving for 5 weeks, but I’m already busy packing.  I suppose partly because I’m excited, and partly because moving is overwhelming.  I’m just not a last minute kind of gal. The dogs have been involved in packing as well.  Butters likes to take things back out of the box sometimes, and Tucker seems to have developed an affinity for the taste of packing peanuts.

I keep telling them about their future back yard, but of course they don’t understand. They will finally have someplace besides my living room to chase each other around. There’s at least a chance the next generation of lamps I own may remain dent-free.

The best part of my American Dream is the knowledge that when temperatures are frigid and sidewalks are slippery, I can open the door and say “there you go.”  But like most people, I’m in no hurry for winter to return. Butters and Tucker need lots of warm summer days to explore their new backyard.  That is, after their human gets the lawn mowed.