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There are plenty of ways to show our pets how much we love them — we buy them special food and treats, bring home the newest toys and, of course, lavish them with affection. Caroline Golon, the human behind popular humor blog Romeo the Cat and co-founder of BlogPaws, will share the stories of pet owners who have gone the extra mile for their pets in this series, The Things We Do for Love. And sometimes, the extra mile is only the beginning!
Doreen and Rob Chilton of Chester Springs, Pa., thought their beautiful, wooded backyard was the perfect setting for their family home — until they adopted Bailey.
Bailey, an active 10-week-old Cocker Spaniel, loved to play outside, but letting him out in the yard alone wasn’t safe. The Chiltons' backyard was filled with a natural landscape of trees, rocks and a dangerously steep slope. “There were so many things he could get into,” Doreen says. “He was a pup, so he was eating sticks and rocks and everything else!”
The Chiltons, who have shared their lives with dogs for years, were well aware of an active dog’s need for outdoor time. After the first winter spent taking Bailey out on a leash multiple times a day, the Chiltons knew they had to find another solution.
The couple decided to turn the rocky land on the side of their house into a play yard for Bailey. “We hired a landscape company, and they bulldozed the hills, took down every tree and removed every rock,” Doreen says.
When it came time to plant grass, Doreen opted for the much more expensive sod, fearing Bailey would eat the hay that typically covers new grass seed.
“The landscapers looked at us like we were crazy. But they went to a sod farm and put in beautiful, soft grass. They fenced in the yard, and it was completely free of trees and anything else that Bailey could get into. The whole thing cost us about $18,000,” Doreen says with a laugh.
To make it easier for Bailey to get outside, the Chiltons had a door installed on the side of their garage so the dog could leave the house and go through the garage to make his way to his private grassy oasis.
Bailey’s yard is still not quite finished, Doreen says. “Now that we’ve taken out all the trees, it gets hot out there. We’re working on putting up a gazebo for shade.”
In the meantime, Doreen and Rob placed a swing with a canopy on it where Doreen and the now 4-year-old Bailey sit together on hot days.
Although Doreen says some of her friends don’t understand why they’d go to such great lengths for their dog, she doesn’t regret the effort or expense. “It’s the best $18,000 we’ve spent on this house.”
What do you do for love? We’re looking for the funny, sweet and special stories that will make other pet parents smile. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story. Please put "The Things We Do for Love" in the subject line.
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