Just as grandparents vow to do things differently with grandkids than they did with their own kids, there are a few tricks from my old dog I’m passing on to the new adoptee.
First, I will no longer be hunting around the apartment for plastic bags for picking up after him on his walks. My last dog hated to wait (back legs crossed) and I hate the idea of dedicating all that yardage of plastic to something akin to what a goose produces.
Instead, I’ve invested in a tidy canister that clips discreetly to his retractable leash and dispenses refill rolls of 30 biodegradable bags. Now I just grab the leash and off we go.
I’ve also switched from the collar-leash system to harness-leash, so I can stop worrying if I’m going to break his larynx when he tries to bolt after a squirrel. And after the killer pet-food issue earlier this year, I’ve vowed to feed him wholesome foods that I would readily consume like salmon, brown rice and veggies.
Most importantly, I’ve stopped seeing the canine crate as a sort of doggy jail. Our new terrier came crate-trained, meaning he readily retires to it when he’s had enough of us.
I’m trying to train myself to understand that when we go out he’s not rattling the bars with a prison tin cup, but is feeling secure enough to take a break from his self-appointed job alerting us to all things moving beyond the window.
But the crate itself is hideous. No number of plush throw pillows can disguise the bulk of plastic and metal grate that screams “pet hospital.” When my mom passed her pup’s two-tone maroon and beige crate on to me she said, “I don’t care if you use it; I just don’t want to see it anymore.”
One solution to dealing with an eyesore is to rethink it as a feature. Vancouver designer and woodworker Judson Beaumont’s Pet Camper has re-imagined the dog safety zone into a nostalgia-rich conversation piece.
The limited edition custom Pet Camper takes four to eight weeks to hand-build, which helps explain the $2,500 price tag, but his company, Straight Lines Design, is looking at having them produced to bring the price down.
At last check, this one work of art (see more of his whimsical works in his new book, What’s Next?) was spotted at Dr. Vigari Gallery on The Drive, and Barking Babies on Homer.