I’ve spent the better parts of the last few weeks walking around the house saying “doggy door.”

We now have a dog door for our two bassets, Penelope and Oliver, and training them has been an adventure.

For the most part they have it down, but I still find them standing at the back door staring at it or barking at it.

I either end up telling them to use the dog door or, if I’m in another room, I have to get up from my chair to walk to the back door to tell them to go through the doggy door.

At first we tried bribing them with carrots. It worked a few times because they forgot about having to push the plastic opening with their nose and just raced through it to get the carrots.

My daughter, Claire, has a dog door for her basset hound, Walter, so she brought him over to train our dogs. He kept going in and out of the dog door hoping for more and more carrots.

I am not sure what they do during the day when no one is home.

Maybe they go in and out of the dog door like they have been doing it all their lives.

Maybe they just sleep, which is what they did before the dog door and is still their favorite pastime.

I hope they use it. That was the idea behind having a dog door, so Penny and Ollie can go in and out and enjoy the weather whenever they wanted to.

I always felt guilty when I left the house and had to bring them inside. The dog door is supposed to end that.

Maybe you can teach old dogs news tricks. Our dogs are not old at 4 years old, but they have been pampered since we brought them home and have not had to do a lot for themselves.

The dogs love me, but they really love my wife, and she spoils them.

If they have not seen her for a while, they are all over here.

When I come home I get greeted, but I think it’s just because they know that means it’s time to eat.

If you are a pet lover, it can be a little like having kids. You never go far without thinking about them and how they are doing.

When we travel they are boarded. Even if we are just gone for the day, we have to make arrangements to have them fed.

That love of pets runs through our family. Our children have pets, just about everyone in my wife’s family has dogs, and my two sisters are dog lovers.

It can be quite a dog pile when we all get together, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.