The Things We Do for Love: “Our Dogs Eat at the Table With Us”
Caroline Golon, the human behind the popular humor blog Romeo the Cat, shares the stories of pet owners who go the extra mile for their pets in this series, The Things We Do for Love.
Kathy and Brent Leonard of West Linn, Ore., trained their dogs not to beg at the table. But they never dreamed that they should have trained their dogs not to sit at the table!
It started like this: After Thanksgiving dinner one year, the family was cleaning up, Brent recalls. Coming into the dining room to gather the remaining glasses from the table, Brent and Kathy were surprised to find the two Shih Tzus, Zach and Chaz, sitting in two of the chairs, calmly waiting for their turn to feast. Laughing, the Leonards obliged and served them their own dinner. Now, Brent says, it’s a family tradition. “When we have a fancy dinner, they get to sit at the table with us!” (Of course, the Leonards' dogs eat dog food at the table, not people food — but they get to eat it on the special human furniture, which makes it extra delicious.)
The Dogs Rule the Bedroom…
It didn’t surprise the Leonards that Chaz and Zach thought they belonged at the dinner table, because the household revolves around them. The dogs sleep in bed with the Leonards and, as with many dog-loving families, bedtime is often not very restful for the humans in the bed. “Zach snores pretty loudly,” Brent says. “But we just wiggle our foot on him and he stops, or we rub his belly and he’ll roll to the side.” Kicking them out of the bedroom is simply not an option, he adds.
Although the dogs are relatively young — Zach is 5 and Chaz is 6 — the Leonards worry about their joints and take preventive measures to protect them. The couple bought a set of carpeted stairs that rest against the side of the bed so the dogs can come and go as they please without jumping and causing wear and tear on their little knees.
And They Rule Everything Else, Too
The family’s activities are geared toward the dogs’ happiness and comfort. “When we potty trained them, we taught them to ring a bell to go outside,” Brent says. Now, whenever they want to go outside, the dogs simply summon their humans by standing on their hind legs and banging on the bell with their front paws.
And, Brent says, “They love to go to Home Depot. They go crazy!” He admits with a chuckle that he and Kathy often find an excuse to go to the home superstore because the dogs love it so much.
Zach and Chaz also dictate the TV shows the family watches. They love Animal Planet and any commercial that has a pet in it. “They know what commercials have dogs or cats in them by the music!” Brent says.
Brent and Kathy admit that they indulge the boys, but they're fine with it. “Yes, we spoil these dogs more than we did our children growing up,” Brent says. “But they fulfill us, and we look forward to every moment being with them.”
Read more "The Things We Do for Love" columns here.
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