Let me tell you about a really nice dog house I know about.
It’s nothing like the square, boxy dog house where Snoopy, of “Peanuts” fame, enjoys lazy naps on the roof. And it’s not at all like the dog house you probably had in your backyard when you were growing up, or that your grandparents had out in their backyard.
No, this one’s a bit nicer. It’s 2,100 square feet and has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It’s got a two-car garage, with a room up over the garage that mostly gets used for storage. There’s a cozy sunroom in the back, with a big window looking out into the yard, and it’s got a front porch that spans the length of the house, with ceiling fans that make summer nights out there just a little more bearable. It’s got cable and Wi-Fi and there’s usually plenty to eat and drink in the fridge.
Now, if you were to go down to the county courthouse and check the deed, you’d find my name and my wife’s name on the document as the purported owners of the place on Royal Lythan Circle.
But that’s a façade. A ruse. At this point there’s no need to fool ourselves any longer.
True ownership of the house has been all but ceded to Oliver “Ollie” Chewie Trainor. He’s the lord of the manor, the king of the castle, all of that. It’s his place, and he just allows my wife, my daughter and me to stay there. All of this despite the fact that he doesn’t contribute a single dime toward the bills. I figure he could at least go half on the internet bill, but I’ve been unsuccessful in convincing him.
Ollie, of course, is our dog. Or, more aptly, we’re his people. He’s a 12-pound morkipoo (translation: fancy dog), the “pick of the litter” when we bought him from some folks in the Abbeville countryside several years ago. (He actually was the only one in the litter.) We mostly call him Ollie, but, as previously noted in this column space, I sometimes, particularly if he’s misbehaved, derisively refer to him as the Kansas City Dog, because my wife and daughter bought him without my knowledge when I was off traveling in Kansas City.
In the years since, I’ve grown accustomed to this little furball insinuating himself into our lives. We hang a stocking for him on the mantel at Christmas. He often goes with us on vacation, and we’ve mastered finding good pet-friendly accommodations. We’ve taken him to pro baseball games, and as previously chronicled, we’ve got a set of “dog stairs” at the foot of the bed, so Ollie can get up there. Don’t worry, I’ve only broken eight of my 10 toes on it when stumbling out of bed in the morning.
But a couple of weeks back, we crossed into new, uncharted territory with Ollie. He’s now the proud owner of a brand new pair of pajamas.
Yes, I have a 12-pound morkipoo dog that wears pajamas.
My wife and daughter found the PJs on an internet pet site and ordered them. They’re white with little colorful dinosaurs on them. Likely similar to the pajamas you probably wore when you were a kid. Except he’s, um, a dog. I argued that he didn’t need pajamas. “He’s covered in fur,” I offered. “He’s always wearing pajamas.” I lost that argument.
So now my daughter puts Ollie’s pajamas on him every night and he prances around the house and runs up his dog stairs and lounges on the back of the couch in the sunroom planning his next trip to the beach or mountains. I’m guessing my late grandfathers — one a New York City bus driver, the other a carpenter and World War II veteran — probably didn’t own pajama-wearing morkipoos. Just a hunch.
But, I do own one. And if I’m being honest, the little guy brings joy to our lives. Though I have to admit, teaching him to drive is probably going to be a pain in the neck.