You aren’t going to believe this, especially after reading this post, but I didn’t used to be a “dog” person.  I always considered myself a cat person.  I had a wonderful cat named Tiger while growing up.  We had a dog for a few years named Cocoa, but since my mom wouldn’t allow it in the house I don’t believe I ever bonded with it the way I might have if I could have lived with it.  It ultimately went on a road trip with my grandpa to Oregon to live with my great aunt.  I believe Cocoa was probably very happy to be living outside of Portland and free to roam the property, instead of a lonely existence confined to the fenced-in yard.

Once our sons were in grade school we figured our day would come for dog ownership.  My friend Carla mentioned she was considering a Scottish Terrier to accompany her West Highland Terrier and suggested a Scotty would be a great dog for our family.  “MacKenzie” was our first go with a dog and we’ve not been without a dog since that date in 1986.

Living with Dogs features rooms that are inviting and comfortable, even for humans.  These guys are clearly comfortable!

Hubby likes to say that I prefer dogs that “go with the design of our house”…or decorator dog, as he likes to say.  He’s only part right.  I will say that the book, “Living with Dogs” by Laurence Sheehan, photos by William Stites, 1999 has been a great influence on incorporating our pets into the decor.

Owning a dog does not require the displays of bronze dogs, Staffordshire dogs and/or art in the form of prints and paintings, but it certainly makes it more fun.


One of the collections I’ve enjoyed are dog books, especially old, out of print works.


{The above images are from Living with Dogs}


This brass ashtray was purchased from an antique store that has since gone out of business.  I love the way the dog extends beyond the edge.


A friend gave me this book on terriers when we got our first Scottish Terrier…the bronze “scottie” is from my friend Carla. {thank you Carla!}

“Man’s relationship with the world of dogs is not only universal, but also frequently all-encompassing.”  by Laurence Sheehan




This little painting always reminds me of our sons when they were young.

“Two Boys” by Frank W. Benson











The little pewter cup on the shelf is a dog trophy I won on eBay.







The Staffordshire dog makes a lamp for the canine arrangement.

The bronze dogs are from eBay.





Years ago I needle-pointed this pillow, love the hunt image.

 Images above and below are Ellen O’Neill’s dog via House Beautiful

 via Traditional Home

This little West Highland Terrier reminds me of Carla’s dog, Angela. 

I won’t tell you what I thought of small dogs so many years ago!

Both of our dogs are rescue dogs from our local shelter.  Irvine has an amazing shelter that other cities contact when a great dog hasn’t been adopted from their shelter (and we know what happens to dogs that aren’t adopted by a certain date).  Irvine has a wonderful volunteer program in place and the dogs are kept in clean, roomy runs with indoor space as well as outdoor space.  They are exercised regularly and when adopted, given their immunizations and neutered.  Above is Winnie our terrier/lab mix.  When we adopted her she was 38 lbs. and they told us she was full grown…she’s now 70 lbs and still thinks she’s a lap dog.

Then there’s Madison…what can I say, she’s a wonderful pet for our family and any female that enters the house.  She doesn’t like very many men and so we crate her when we entertain.  She seems very happy with this arrangement.  It saddens me but we don’t know what she might have been through before she came to the Irvine shelter.  We love her and hope she’ll outgrow her fear with time, although “probably not” is what we’ve been told.

We had a German wire-haired pointer mix named Reilly, she looked very much like this dog.  We loved her and miss her!

Artist Carl Larson clearly liked dogs. 

For the past 14 years Maggie, our sweet “malibu-kitty” has tolerated dogs.  She knows for certain she is superior and can’t imagine why we bother with them!  Dogs lower stress, make you laugh and give you unconditional love, what could be better?!

Do you have any pets, I would love to hear your story of how your pets interact with you and your family and your home.