When I got Luke the Dog™, I lived in a 4-bedroom house in Provo with a couple of friends. The house had a two-car garage, and a decent yard. The yard wasn’t fenced, though, so I wasn’t really able to leave him out in the back yard all that often. I did try tying him up back there, but he always seemed capable of pulling a Houdini and getting off the stake. Fortunately for me (and frankly, for him), Luke has never been much of a wanderer. So, even when he did get off his leash, he would just hang out on the back porch and wait for someone to let him back inside. Either that, or he’d pick the tomatoes off the plants in my garden and gnaw on those until he got explosive diarrhea. You know, either one was good.
When Luke was just 8 months old, though, I packed up all my belongings and moved to Seattle. For a few months, we stayed with the Every family, and Luke had two basic options: outside in the back yard or in the crate in the basement. (The Everys were kind enough to put me up until I found a job and a place to live. I didn’t want to push my luck by asking if I could bring my dog in the house.)
Finally, in June of that year, I found my first apartment in the area, and Luke and I became permanent roommates. For the next six and a half years, Luke has lived in apartments. He has usually been a great apartment dweller. He doesn’t bark very often, he’s not destructive, and he’s quite comfortable staying by himself for large portions of the day. There’s no separation anxiety, no whining, no digging and the door. He’s been the model apartment dog, despite the fact that he weigh 85 pounds and sheds like my hairline during my 20s.
When we moved into my new house in September of last year, it took Luke all of about 30 seconds to realize that he friggin’ loves having a yard. He just wants to be outside all of the time. Sometimes, he’ll just stand by the back door and gaze plaintively out into the yard. I’ll let him out with his rubber ball, and he’ll carrying it out to the grass, lay down, and just hang out for hours looking around. Unlike with most dogs, I almost can’t get him to come back inside most of the time. I have to trick him by making him think he’s going to get a cookie.
Owning a home as been relatively stressful for the first six months. I discovered a couple of problems that needed to be resolved. I accidentally drilled a hole through my roof, resulting in months of water damage and mold growth. There’s water in my crawlspace that I can’t really deal with at the moment. I had a break-in with damage to my glass door and my floor. I have had to install all the fixtures (closet systems, towel rods, toilet paper holders, etc.). I had to hang all of the sound treatment for my studio, and run wires and cables through the attic and crawlspace. And that’s just on the inside. The outside has been even more work, trying to undo the tremendous amount of stupidity on display by the previous owners when it comes to gardening and landscaping. (Seriously. I have no idea what they were thinking…)
But now that I’ve had a chance to settle in, it’s nice to have a house of my own. But perhaps the thing I love the most at the moment is that, at nearly 8 years of age, my dog finally has a yard to call his own. And he loves it.