As a dog, I have very good hearing - as do many canines - and I constantly see and hear when people point and whisper, "Boy, that dog hit the jackpot." I'm the first one to agree (my backyard is almost five acres!) Life for this little Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is good.
Candy's column this time is about how she made her home a haven for me; so I asked if I could put my paws on the keyboard and contribute to the article. More than 30 years before I arrived, Candy had baby-proofed the house for Tori and Randy. Corners are rounded, furniture is basically stain-proof, and there are windows at my eye-level everywhere so I can feel like I'm outside even when I'm indoors.
I have water dishes every few yards. My friend Sarge from around the corner came over, and he said his mother told him my bowls are crystal. I hadn't known that. Cool. There are custom-made doggie doors that match the doors in the house. They have double locks on them (because I'm so precious, I guess), and lead out to some of my favorite spots in the yard. I also have a selection of doggie jewelry, from monogrammed leashes to sparkly collars.
But, the things that are most-important to making me feel at home are not those that cost a lot of money. They include:
1) I have lots of toys, but they're all environmentally-friendly, natural and/or recyclable. Girls just wanna have fun, and this girl wants to protect our planet at the same time.
2) Fake fur blankets, bed covers and other places where I stay warm. The last thing I would want is to have real fur, meaning an animal was harmed for my comfort.
3) Healthy foods and treats made from natural ingredients, not animal by-products stuffed into colorful cans.
4) Exercise, exercise and more exercise. Candy has a gym downstairs in her house. All I need is to be walked, run a little and keep moving. I do ride up and down in the elevator sometimes, but my heart and lungs do feel better when I run and jump and go upstairs. I don't need expensive equipment.
5) My own spaces are important. I've trained Candy well, so my things aren't pushed out of the way or tossed aside if we're having people (and/or their dogs) over. It's my house, too, and I want to be able to find my stuff when I want it. Who knows when I might want a synthetic tennis ball or my furry toy named "Roadkill"?
6) A regular schedule. Candy doesn't have a regular schedule, with sometimes very early meetings and other times late nights, often gone for 16-hour work days. But, she's very careful to make my life consistent, with my meals at specific times, followed by play and exercise. I'm a creature of habit who loves routines. Luckily, I have a Virgo guardian who gets it.
7) I love to go in the car and to visit people, but grooming places really scare me. I've tried a couple. They're run by nice people, who take good care of me. It just freaks me out. So, Candy installed a special sink and hose at home where I can bathe, and sometimes she has the mobile groomers come over.
8) My biggest problem at home is our bowling alley. I know it's not a common issue. Mr. Spelling built a bowling alley at home because he loved to bowl to unwind after work, but couldn't spend the evening out bowling because he was inundated with headshots, scripts and pitches. I didn't know Mr. Spelling, but I share his love of bowling. Whenever kids or friends come over and go bowling, I'm right there with them. I love to chase those balls down the lane. The problem is they're big and heavy, and I can't stop myself from running in front of them. So, I've been hit a couple of times. You should see how bad the people who threw the bowling balls feel ("I didn't see her…she came out of nowhere."). And, Candy freaks. So, the bowling alley is now off limits to me. Darn. That was the icing on my haven cake.
9) Although I don't need the money, I do have my jobs around the house. First is to protect Candy from squirrels. You should see those moves they make in the trees and running across the lawn. They never come inside, though, because I'm on guard. I'm also in charge of the ducks in the swimming pool. We don't know where they come from, but a couple months every year, they camp in our pool. My job is not to jump in and scare them. Finally, I supervise the gardeners and make sure they're doing a good job. I run behind the bushes, over the shrubs and between trees to keep an eye on them. They do great under my watchful eyes.
10) Private time with my mom. I love it when Candy and I just cuddle and spend time together. Even though there's usually someone home, I listen for her car and wait for her when she gets home. Then, we have our routine. (She loves me. She really loves me. And, I love her, too.) After looking at mail, phone messages and all that business stuff, she and I usually head upstairs to her bedroom. She sighs and tells me funny things about the day. My tail just wags and wags and wags. Mom and I are in our haven together, and what could be better?
There are millions of dogs who need homes in the United States. Now that you know how to make them feel at home, maybe you'd like to adopt one.
Candy Spelling's bestseller, Stories from Candyland, is now available in paperback.
Candy Spelling serves as an Ambassador for Tourism for Los Angeles serves on the Board of Directors for LA INC., The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau. Candy invites you to visit the LA INC. "green living" site. For all things Candy Spelling, visit candyspelling.com