My Favorite Home Must Haves…Dog Owner’s Edition!

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It’s hard to believe, but it’s been one year already since we rescued our sweet Charlie! When we got him, some of you said you were interested to see how the house would fare with a four legged friend around…so I thought it would be fun to share what I would change, would NOT change, and what products have been my saving grace.

Let me just say, you really can never say never in life. My husband and I NEVER EVER NOT EVER thought we’d have a dog. Like EVER. We always liked dogs, thought they were so cute…but really never desired to have one of our own. We’ve got a crazy busy life with three kids, and figured there’s enough on our plate. I can’t explain it, but then something just shifted in our hearts somehow. My brother and sister in law live close by and would bring their dog over a lot, and we started seeing just how nice it was having him around. And of course, the kids just adored when he was over. We started playing around with the idea – and then REALLY started thinking about it…and then went for it!

And oh, how our lives have changed! Our Charlie became a member of the family and we fell so in love…

…eventually. For me, anyway. Yes, I thought he was great from the get-go, but honestly, it was a hard month at first. And let’s be honest here. I’m the one home with him all day, I’m the one keeping track of when he needs to go out, if his food is getting low, making vet appointments (and taking to said appointments – with a dog who gets car sick). My life was turned UPSIDE DOWN. Oh, and he had some medical issues that needed to be taken care of that didn’t appear until after we got him ($$$$$), and after just having him a couple days and hemorrhaging money at the vet, I was making him his own dinner of boiled chicken and rice – ‘what have I gotten myself into?!’ I thought on more than one occasion. I don’t even cater to my KIDS with their own dinner – what the heck!? Oh, and just when his tummy issues resolved, he breaks a duclaw and needs his paw wrapped for several days and a cone. Heaven help me. I mean, there were tears you guys. We didn’t know the first thing about dogs (neither one of us had one growing up), and here we are, clueless, constantly vacuuming dog hair, revolving our world around getting home to let the dog out – WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?!

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was worried we made a mistake.

But after talking to my sister and my aunt who were never dog people, and now absolutely adore their dogs, I knew eventually I’d come around. I really did in my heart believe that. What I didn’t know is that “coming around” would be the understatement of the century.

I can’t even tell you how much I love this dog. It is absolutely insane. I must tell him I love him 8,973 times a day, kiss him the same amount, and spoil him to the ends of the earth. My kids actually started taking offense! I take so. many. photos daily with my phone. I had to upgrade my storage. It’s a problem. 😉

Finding Charlie has been the best thing for our family. We all adore him to pieces. He has taught me how to relax – (which is QUITE a feat) – I mean, try getting up off the couch when he’s snuggling up against you. Nope. Cannot be done.

He has taught us that even just a few minutes of playing in the yard every now and again is a beautiful thing. I always laugh as he runs in circles chasing the ball, and come in feeling happier.

He has gotten us to exercise more, and I’ve come to love our walks, even in the rain.

My husband so looks forward to his post work playtime ritual every night with Charlie – he says his stress level goes down as soon as he sees him.

The kids are learning more responsibility, which is a great thing. And when one of them has had a bad day, there’s just nothing like a dog to take your cares away.

Without a doubt, he has rescued us as much as we have rescued him.

But how is the HOUSE doing? You know, there’s not much I’d change really. Here are my thoughts:

1. Slipcovers, slipcovers, SLIPCOVERS! Our couches look the exact same as they did a year ago because I can throw them in the wash! I tell my clients this all the time – you just can’t beat slipcovered couches. We have the Ikea Ektorps, but there are so many options now. If you have kids and pets (heck, even if you don’t), they are a godsend.

2. Vintage/Overdyed Area Rugs are your best friend. We have one in the family room over the jute rug, and a runner in the hallway:

And let me just tell you, those guys are GOOD at hiding everything! I mean, really. Even a glass of red wine spilled on the family room one (the day after we got it!!), and you cannot tell even in the slightest.

3. A good vacuum. Because, um, dogs shed. 😉 We love our Shark Rocket (affiliate link below), and I love all the attachments. Never thought Charlie was a big shedder until late this summer then something happened and I was ready to pull my hair out. Thankfully it was just a phase and he’s back to his old self, but even still – gotta vacuum a lot more than I used to for sure.

4. A Pet Grooming Brush. Honestly, I don’t use this all that often, but when I do, it’s amazing. I bought it when I was at my wit’s end during the shedding phase, and it really did help. Charlie will lay there forever and let me brush him. I don’t know if that’s his personality, or a testament to how awesome this brush is, but we LOVE it!

5. LINT ROLLERS! On every floor. Charlie hops up on our couches and bed, so having a lint roller in the family room and upstairs has been a must! A quick roll before sitting down (or company is coming over!) and all set.

6. Fabric Shaver. Ok, I did say the couches looked the same as they did last year, but they did get more pilling. Not sure if that’s due to Charlie or not, but in any case, I discovered this fabric shaver and it saved the couches! They look brand new after a few minutes with this thing! I am so obsessed with it.

7. A Station by the Door for Stuff. This has worked really well for us – we have a basket under the black bench where we store all his stuff. Waste bags, leash, harness, and wipes for muddy paws. We don’t have an entry big enough for any furniture, but this bench is the closest thing to the front door:

Baskets are just the best, aren’t they? Can use them for anything and everything. It’s helpful to always have his stuff ready for whoever is taking him out. It’s always there, no matter what.

8. A Duvet I know, I shouldn’t let him on the bed, but he’s SUCH a snugglebug and my husband and I actually love it. He stays at the bottom of the bed, and I’ve posted pics of him on there and got asked “how do you have a white comforter with a dog?!”

The answer: DUVET!

Just like the slipcovered couches, this duvet gets thrown in the wash with the sheets, and no harm, no foul. Anything you can throw in the wash, sign me up!

So Charlie really hasn’t altered the design element in our home really much at all – except I will say, there’s something that HAS gotten dingier since he’s been around and I’m not mad about it in the least: the wall to wall carpet going up the steps and on the landing is getting a little worn out and dingy looking. It’s a light beige, and I’ve been wanting to rip that out and paint the risers white and do a pretty runner for a while…and now I have an excuse! 😉 Thanks Char.

I hope I answered your questions, and you found this helpful! We’ve had our ups and downs (and a little bit of a peeing problem thrown in there too – but thankfully it’s been resolved!) – but I have to say, I couldn’t be more thankful for this crazy mutt. He’s taught us all so much in just one year – and I can’t imagine life without him now.

Our hearts are so full. Thank you, Charlie. Here’s to many more years together!


  1. We are animal lovers. We have always had at least one pet in the house for our 31 years of marriage. Currently we have 4—our Aussie–Rocky looks a lot like Charlie, only a little larger. We have 2 Malti-poos–Pebbles and BamBam (bro & sis) and a black Lab–Banjo. We are in the process of remodeling and furniture will the next on the list. We are considering the Ektorp sofa set. I am definitely getting the dark gray for the winter months, but I’m on the fence about the lighter color. I like the color you have on your sofa, which one is it? The white or the light beige? Thanks. Love reading you posts.

  2. melanie kelly says:

    love!! 🙂

  3. My heart is smiling:) I can not imagine not having furry children in my life. Enjoy your precious baby. Also, I am trying to “pin” this post on pinterest and I can’t figure out how. Can you please help me : ) Thank you

  4. Heather Lloyd says:

    This is interesting to read, as we’ve had a puppy for two months now and I really haven’t gotten to like it yet. I think it’s mostly that we’re STILL having a hard time potty training! So the whole thing is very stressful. I appreciate knowing that you’ve grown to adore your pup. It gives me hope!

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