Sunday, May 09, 2010

Deluxe Doggy Door

This post had to be put in the long story category because it's taken me so long to finish! I only had time for about 15 minutes of blogging a couple of nights last week, and that just wasn't enough time for me to get this one cranked out. I have been so excited to share this though, so no matter how long it takes me, I'm going to finish it this evening!

Last Sunday morning, Chad skipped church to work on a much needed project at our house with our friend Grant. We'd been talking about this particular home improvement task since before we even moved in, actually. In all seriousness, one of the reasons we knew this house was perfect for us was because it was completely conducive to this particular project. You see, we knew that within a few years Celtic wouldn't be able to make it up and down stairs. We insisted (much to our real estate agent's chagrin) on buying a home that had the master bedroom on the main level specifically for this reason. Although we couldn't find one that also exited into the backyard at ground level, this house did at least have a garage that was on ground level, so we knew we could make it work for our four-legged munchkin.

Sadly, Celtic's been having more and more mobility problems lately and we were starting to worry that we were shortening his quality years by making him use the deck stairs into the backyard. We carried him up and down on occasion, but he hates being carried so much, his squirming makes it very difficult. We'd also been taking him out front several times a day instead, and while he liked the special attention, he also missed being in the backyard with his siblings. Plus, it wasn't super convenient to be out front with him while Hope was barking at the back door to come inside. We knew the time had come to take on Operation Deluxe Doggy Door.

Since Grant is an amazing designer/builder/engineer, we actually had him over a couple of weeks ago to help us think through the project. Thanks to his expertise, he and Chad were able to actually finish the platform and the "wheelchair ramp" into our garage while I was at church last week. A couple of hours later, they'd cut a hole in the back wall of the garage into the backyard and put in the door. Later in the evening, Chad insulated the door frame and then built a gate up at the top of the platform. The gate doesn't make much sense now, but we've ordered some netting that will actually block the dogs off from the rest of the garage once their doggy door (on the person door) is installed. That way, they won't be able to run through the doggy door out the front of the garage if they hear the garage door open when they're outside, or wander around the garage getting into things they shouldn't once the come inside.

So after the door was installed on Sunday, we recorded their first trip outside Monday night using their new ramp and door. I'm sure this will be interesting to no one except me, but I just thought their reactions were so funny and so typical of each of them.

First, how funny are they? Fresco's clearly afraid to go out a strange door into the dark, Celtic is super happy to be able to walk outside unassisted and knows exactly what to do, and then Hope has to be pushed and prodded to do anything outside of her normal routine. Their personalities are so evident in their behaviors. Second, how awesome are their new ramp and gate and door? Clearly there's still a lot to do for the project to be complete (the net, the light outside, the actual doggy door), but already we all love the new setup! Celtic isn't limping nearly as much as he was, and you just tell that he's so happy and feels so empowered by his new independence! The next morning when I let them out for just the second time, I just left the new door cracked and then left the laundry room door (into the garage) cracked as well. I went about my business getting dressed so I could take them for a quick walk, and a few minutes later Celtic happily let himself back into the house! Fresco figured it out really quickly too. Hope took several days to get the hang of it (her habit of running to the back door was a hard one for her to break), but by Thursday she was also going in and out of the back door exclusively. Once the doggy door goes in we won't even have to go back into the garage and shut the door!

We thought we'd have to put a gate on the deck to keep Celtic for going up that way, but he loves letting himself in and out so much I don't think we'll even have to do that. We can still let him out to bask in the sun on the deck when it's nice outside after he's gone out and in the back. The whole setup has worked even better than we ever though it would, and it turned out that it wasn't even that difficult or time consuming to do. A special thanks to our friend Grant for making the job go so smoothly!


cw said...

Viva la Grant! or le Grant - whatever.

Erin said...

y'all are such wonderful parents! Those dogs are the luckiest dogs in the world. Can't wait to see the finished product!!