You've been invited for a cuppa at a new friend's house. You met them at book club/Mandarin class/knock-up-an-artisan-chair night, so you've been too busy enthusing about your mutual interests to ask about their domestic set-up. But once you step into the house, you know something strange is going on. Who else lives in this joint? You know it's a dog when...
1. The hall is full of leads, wellies and odd shoes
As you walk through the door, your eye is immediately drawn to the muddy doormat (more of that later) and the array of battered footwear scattered about. Thing is, there's only one of each and they're kinda chewed. Let's just say, if you're made to take off your shoes, put them on a shelf in case Fido comes back before you leave and takes a chunk out of your Manolos.
2 The sofa has a sunken spot you're quickly shooed off
If he doesn't have his own designer day bed (we'll come to that in a mo), Fido will have nabbed his very own spot on the plush sofa. If he's around and you attempt to take that spot, you'll either be on the receiving end of a shocking growl that will make you splosh Earl Grey all over the place, or you'll get an involuntary smack on the leg from your hostess. And if you do get to park your butt, the back of your outfit will be covered in hair once you get up.
3. When you are allowed to sit on the for-humans part of the sofa, you feel something poking into youJust
like Squirrel Nutkin, Fidos the world over love to have a secret stash
of snacks to chow down on - rawhide, pigs ears, antlers, smelly socks! Dog owners know to look before they sit. And don't ever put your hands down the side of the sofa because there's bound to be something nasty lurking there.
4. Your cuppa comes with multi-toned hair...
Unless the house is home to a sproodle, cockapoo, labradoodle or any non-shedding designer dog with an 'oo' in its name, chances are, there's a bit of a hair problem going on in the house. Dog owners get used to having tufts of the stuff in their muesli, on their pizza or flying in their mouth as they try to make an important point, so chill out - what's a couple of strands between pals? You can always rinse with mouthwash later.
5. There are cute teddies in every room, but, hang on a sec - they're all missing limbs
Dogs just love their expensive designer toys and they especially like to chew them up in a rage when their walk is an hour late, they didn't get that plate of roasted organic chicken like they always get on a Sunday, or Human had to put in a bit too much overtime. Just ask poor Teddy - he knows all about Fido's hissy fits…
6. There's caked-in mud on the expensive parquet - and is that sofa meant to be white?
Mud is a dog owner's worst enemy - no matter how much you try to discourage your mutt from rolling in it, jumping in the sludgy local river or digging up the organic carrots, he JUST WON'T LISTEN! And then he charges through the house, rolls on your statement sofa and jumps on your white suit. But when he flutters his devoted doggy eyes at you, somehow you just can't be cross any more.
7. There's a calender in the kitchen that says 'Renew Thor's pet passport/book tickets for Cannes'
Today's dog owners need to keep track of their pooches' diaries. So there will be a custom-made calender with a different shot of Fido for every month of the year, overflowing with doggy playdates, pricy day-care slots and luxury holidays, alongside necessary unspeakables such as worming and de-fleaing.
8. There's a mini day bed in the corner of the room, but no mini humans live in the house
The days when dogs had to make do with a grubby rug on the floor are over. These days, they've either got shares in the family sofa or they have their very own design classic next to their home dog grooming station. It's a status thing we reckon - that's why he never gets mud on it...
9. The vacuum cleaner has its own spot in the living room
People with an 'oo' dog get a bit lax with the hoovering. But you can spot a hound owner a mile off because the hoover is always ready for action. In fact, you'll probably hear your hostess hoovering as you walk down the path, poor love.
10. There's a set of cowbells hanging from a ribbon on the bi-fold doors
– and they're not for decoration
In the modern world, Fido doesn't need to bark when he wants to take a leak – that's for peasants! – really well trained dogs know how to ring their special dog bell when they need to go out to do their business. Question is, it is once for wee wee, twice for poo poo?
For more great lifestyle stories, go to housetohome.co.uk/livingetc
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Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.
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