I will never have beautiful rugs. I realize this as I read Elle Décor on the plane and stop to peruse THE RUG COMPANY supplement that has been slipped into the middle of the magazine. There are two kinds of acceptable adult porn in my opinion. Design magazines of any sort and a publication called Homes & Land of the West – a sort of InStyle magazine for the landowning obsessed.
As I flip through the Rug Company catalogue, I swoon over the designer rugs – the Marni flowers, the Paul Smith stripes, the exotic Moroccan carpets made of all silk that feel like heaven under your feet and give the perfect finish to any room. I fantasize about a pale blue and brown one in the living room and imagine guests lounging on the floor in front of the fireplace. I love beautiful rugs. And I would love to have one. But I never will. Because as much as I love the idea of a fabulous designer rug, I love my dogs more.
I know some people will think this is silly. And some will consider it indulgent. Certainly my dogs could be trained to stay out of certain rooms and off the furniture. Of course there are people who have dogs who are outdoor dogs or who are obedient enough to know that they must sit at the junction of hardwood and carpet and stare longingly at a soft surface while relegated to a hard one. Sig Other’s sister even has a dog who is relegated to one room of the house. He has no fence or gate to keep him in line, but Nelson knows that the invisible border between the kitchen and living room MUST NOT BE CROSSED.
I am not one of those people. My dogs have the run of the house. They are allowed – in fact invited – into any room at any time and onto any surface (but for tabletops and counters which they will visit nonetheless if not properly watched). This is not to say my house is not clean. It is spotless actually. And in fact I’m rather paranoid about dog smell and have a mini-team of housekeepers who visit daily (one of whom thankfully suffers from a mild form of obsessive –compulsive disorder and will scrub things I never even knew were scrubbable).
My dogs are well-enough trained and sweet to the core. But sometimes they vomit. Or come in from the mud. Sometimes, they drag strange things around the house and drop them in the worst possible place. And one of them even leaks a little pee every now and then in a sure sign of her growing age and inevitable incontinence. One time, the dogs stole three bags of loose tea Sig Other had brought from China, brought them into the living room and onto the white fluffy flokati and proceeded to tear apart the bags, drag them in circles around the coffee table and grind into the carpet what they could not ingest. Needless to say, the rug was sent to the cleaners and the dogs stayed awake for 36 hours straight. On another occasion, one of them brought me a prize dead rat and flayed it open on the carpet while I was out of the room. Again, rug to cleaners.
These rugs are not expensive, they are not precious and they are certainly not designer. My fantasy life of fancy rugs would dictate a kind of restriction on my dogs that seems sad to me. Not for them so much (I am a firm believe that dogs are perfectly happy within a set of appropriate boundaries), as for me. Why would I deny myself the joy of a Sunday snuggle on the living room floor with Hank or a cozy spoon in the den with Coco? How sad would I be if one or the other of them didn’t INSIST on plopping their 70+ pounds of dog on top of me as I settle into the womb chair to read and adjust myself around their comfort? I love my dogs. And I suppose that means I love them more than I love the idea of a fancy rug from The Rug Company.
Ah well. Back to my Elle Décor fantasy life…