creature comforts

It's hardly surprising that a dog who spent her life on tarmac, gravel and concrete should take a liking to soft cushions and comfy chairs.

By this point Bella (and Dougal) had moved indoors. This all started in the summer, when the soaring temperature made even the shaded porch uncomfortable. Our house had a large entrance hall, separated from the main living area by a set of double doors. We used this hallway for shoes and coats and not much else and while it was not directly air conditioned it was a lot cooler than outside. So we agreed that in the hottest parts of the day the dogs could come into the hallway. It was only a matter of time before the hallway became the living room and the living room became the whole house.

At first Bella was quite tentative about making herself at home, almost as though she couldn't believe her good fortune. While we were adamant that the furniture was off limits we were pleased to see her making herself comfortable on the rugs.

Canny animal that she was, she didn't try to get on the sofa or armchairs when we were around, though we did notice her eyeing them up from time to time. Instead, she waited until we went to bed - yes, they were also staying overnight by this time - and then made herself comfortable, always getting back down onto the floor before we came downstairs in the morning.

We only found out because Bella's fur attached itself to the cushions and then to us. Then it became a game of cat and mouse to catch her in the act. The next issue was how to stop her. At first we surrounded the sofa - her favoured spot - with dining room chairs as a barrier. We discovered that she still managed to find a way through if we left even the slightest gap. Then we also turned up all the cushions, hoping that it would make it less tempting, but even a cushionless sofa was preferable to the rugs on the floor.

I don't actually recall when or how we managed to break her of this habit, but we did. Bella was a spirited, independent dog, but she always seemed to understand where the limits were - eventually. Not that she gave up entirely. Bella seemed to take a move to a new house as wiping the slate clean and giving her the option of trying again.

Nor did she see fit to apply our standards when she was a house guest with others. When we returned from our travels we often heard stories from Bella's hosts of how she had taken over sofas, chairs and beds. This day, instead of chasing her out of the chair right away I took a few moments to grab a few photographs. I think it was seeing her curled up in this small chair with her tail dropping over the edge that stopped me this time.

Taken on 5 September 2007.


  1. How could you say no? She was such a survivor and such a beauty.


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