Friday, November 9, 2007

Pupper of the week special edition: a dog and her heater

A few months after we began dating, Dave and I rented a house together. It was a small house. Something like 400 square feet, but miraculously 2 bedrooms (if you could call them that - the bed was against the wall on 3 sides). In this house many life changing events happened - I finished college, we got engaged, we got a puppy, and we got married. We lived in this tiny house for just over 2 years.

The house did not have a furnace.

It had a "cabin heater". It was about the size of a short bookshelf, sitting smack in the middle of the house. It was connected to a thermostat and fueled by gas. When we would turn the heat up, the heater would ignite, and you could see the flames through the front panel. It was definitely unique, and in the middle of a Minnesota winter it was usually pretty cold in the house - except for right in front of the heater.

When the weather turned cold in the first year of Irene's life, things got tough for the pupper. She did not like the cold. She would sit and shiver at 70 degrees, her whole body visibly shaking. She still does not like to go out in the rain or snow, and will sit pathetically on the doorstep waiting to be let in. Dave wrote about this tendency here. While we lived in that tiny little house, Irene developed a special relationship with the heater. When it clicked on, she would sit in front of it, as close as she could get without scorching herself. If it turned on while she was in the kitchen or the porch, should would run to be near it as it gave off heat. When it clicked off, she would lick the front face of it, as if to say "please turn back on. it's so cold in this little house."
She slept in front of it most days, and sometimes she would contort her body to flop away from it when she got too hot, but kept her bum close for the warmth.

Two years ago we bought our first house - and luckily it had a proper furnace. It was May when we moved, so I'm sure the heater was the last thing on Irene's mind. We quickly discovered, however, that we had created a monster.

Instead of just one heater, Irene has now developed a special love for all of the furnace vents in the house. When it turns on, she runs to sit in front of the living room vent that blows the most air. If we're cooking and she wants to be near the kitchen in case of a dropped onion or piece of cheese, she will sit directly on top of the kitchen vent, blocking all of the air into the room. If we force her off, she reluctantly pulls her bed up to the dining room vent. It's not as strong as the living room, but she can't block it fully so at least some heat escapes into the house.

We recently purchased a programmable thermostat, and I'm wondering how this will affect her love for the furnace. Will she learn that at 5:00 it goes up to 69 degrees? Will she prepare for it by bringing her bed over to the vent at 4:55? I don't know if the little house with the cabin heater is entirely to blame for her dysfunctional love of the furnace, but sometimes I feel bad that she's so cold. That is, until she starts licking the wall or the chair next to the vent. Then I make her move.

1 comment:

dave the gardener said...

do you have any pictures of irene wearing her sweater?