As working parents, Alex and I face the concern that I'm sure most pet parents face on a daily basis. We hope that our furry and four legged babies are at home being calm, well behaved, and relaxed. At the same time, we fear they are getting into trouble, eating or drinking off limits items, or generally misbehaving. Overall, Lulu and Mel are great kids, but as parents, we naturally worry.

Mel is going on 11 years old and has been well behaved his whole life. Aside from the occasional chewed plant, furball, or knocked over table item, Mel has been as easy of a cat as you can imagine.

On the other hand, Lulu who is not yet two years old, is an inquisitive ball of energy. From the time we adopted her in November until Alex began working from home in mid February, we crated her when we weren't at home for her own safety and for our own peace of mind. But when Alex started spending the work days at home, Lulu was in heaven, as she was out of the crate all day and night and always had a friend around.

Now that Alex has been back in the office more often, we had to make the choice to have Lulu either go back to the crate during the day, or trust her to stay out while we are gone. She was so well behaved while Alex was home that the decision to let her roam free seemed easy. We just hope we didn't have a repeat situation of what our previous dog Oliver would do when we were away.

Our snaggle toothed Ollie was a first floor dog. His squat legs and long body made it difficult to navigate our stairs, so he spent his time downstairs. When Ollie was upset, he would let us know by scratching at the walls we had recently plastered, or chewing on the freshly painted baseboards. It was his way of saying "Hey, I'm not happy with you, so I'm going to redecorate your dining room and kitchen." As Ollie's trust in us improved, and his fight with cancer progressed, he calmed down and stopped renovating in his own way, but not before I had a few heart attacks after seeing our freshly clawed walls.

The first day we walked out of the house, leaving Lulu to roam free (on both the first and second floor, she has no problem with the stairs), we were worried about what we might come home to. However, we were confident that she would be well behaved, perhaps missing us, but still enjoying her freedom. What I came home to though, I wasn't quite expecting.

When I approached the back door, I could see a Lulu's little black head appear in the back door window. She was clearly excited that I was home, and I was excited to see her. Then, as I opened the back door, I noticed something a bit odd. The pillows from the love seat in the sun porch had been tossed around and one was on the floor. 

I just figured that Lulu may have been sleeping on the pillows and knocked them off when she heard me coming in, or maybe she had been playing with Mel again, but then again, her toys were all over the place.

At that point, I noticed the tablecloth on the kitchen table had been disturbed. "That's odd," I thought to myself, "maybe Mel had jumped on the table?" For some reason, I kept trying to justify why it wasn't Lulu.

As I walked further into the house, Lulu's activities throughout the day became more apparent. She had also thrown the pillows off of the couch in the living room, disturbed the pillows in the chair, and pulled an outdoor patio cushion out from its hiding spot behind the chair.

Walking upstairs, I found the pillows on the bed had been thrown about, and the "no bones on the bed" rule had clearly been broken. Oh the horror.

She hadn't even spared the guest room. The pillows on the guest room bed had also been moved around...and she knows she isn't allowed on that bed. She must have just been appreciating the headboard.

It seems that Lulu, perhaps upset that we left her, or riled up and antagonized by Mel, had run around the house and showed her displeasure by messing up the pillows throughout the house. 

Given the various destructive possibilities that we experienced from Ollie, we'll gladly take pillows on the floor over the need to re-plaster walls or patch baseboards. In many ways, Alex and I actually find her "misbehavior" quite amusing, but don't tell her that.

We just hope she is having fun during the day with her older brother, Mel.

Regardless, we love Lulu more and more every day. Really, it's almost impossible to be mad when this is the routine reaction you get when you return home from a long day at work. 

Besides, I'd imagine she actually spends the majority of her day snoozing in a chair.

Do your pets have any odd behaviors while you are away from the house?  Perhaps a strange routine that your fur babies follow, or some redecorating that they've imposed on your home? Let us know, we'd love to hear your experiences. 

Comments 5


Kelly Wagner Amen
6/23/2011 at 4:09 PM
New rule: Photos of Schmulu must appear in every blog post. Also, I speculate that the "chaos" you came home to was caused by a game called "Spastic Puppy Track Meet." Essentially, there is one moment where said pooch realizes her PARENTS ARE NOT HOME!!! and commences spastically running and long jumping from surface to surface and back again, thereby dislodging said pillows. This goes on for exactly four minutes and fifty-two seconds, after which time the imaginary ref. blows a whistle, the puppy crashes and then spends the rest of the day snoozing and drooling on one of the liberated pillows. I've seen this live, and believe me, it is a beautiful thing.
Old Town Home
6/23/2011 at 8:24 PM
"Spastic Puppy Track Meet." Love it. I think you nailed it Kelly. Now if only she hadn't eaten my good Easter basket today...
6/27/2011 at 4:30 PM
I really enjoyed reading this entry. I also had fear of leaving my dog Mac at home for the entire day but it seems like he just sleeps the whole day away... the benefit of adopting an older dog I suppose.

Does Lulu shed? I have an incredibly hard time keeping the house free of fur - they are everywhere!
7/21/2011 at 2:24 PM
My puppy is ALWAYS crated when I'm not home. She's a small dog, so it's really mostly because I don't want her going potty in the house. She surprisingly likes being in her crate and will go in for a short nap sometimes when I'm home. I don't think I'll trust her to be left out of the crate until she's old and gray!
Hi Corinne,

There's been a change in protocol since we posted this, and due to some further destruction to a pillow, a loveseat cushion, and numerous dog beds, Miss Lulu is now crated again when we're not home. I agree with you in that she seems to like being in her crate. (She's actually more calm when we come home.) We'll try out freedom again when she's a little older, and will have to start with shorter periods of time. I think Mel is happy with the change until then though. :-)
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