You might look at this picture and think to yourself, “Oh wow…Hotel Stein is being used for a scene in this season of ‘The Walking Dead!'” You would be wrong. No, this barricade you see right here does not exist to keep zombies from invading the living room and stealing the PS3. It’s not even the worst homemade fort mankind has ever seen. It’s actually the only way we can keep the Dude in his kitchen area.
Here’s the deal; in the seasons of perpetual snow and rain, Dude gets confined to the kitchen zone so that he doesn’t ruin the carpet in the rest of the house. On one side of the kitchen, a simple baby gate blocks his access to and from the east side of the house. The open area that leads to the west wing you see pictured above is much too large for any type of gate that isn’t a snow fence. (BTW: T pitched that idea…K denied it.) Our simple fix was to lay two kitchen chairs on their side so that humans could easily step into the other room and old dogs could not. It made sense to us…I mean the Dude, in his 84th year of dog existence was not much of a leaper anymore…or so we thought.
Much like his greatest plots of all time (see: Gingerbread House 1 and 2), Dude ran a long con on us so that he could strike at the perfect time…when we least expected it. One day, we got home from work and the Dude was waiting for us…in the living room. No chair had been disturbed. No lamps had been knocked over. He was simply in the other room, eager to have someone move the chairs so he could get back into the kitchen.
“There’s no way he jumped over there,” we told ourselves. “He has a hard enough time just walking and running. Maybe one of us forgot to put the chairs down. He doesn’t jump over them when we’re home…there’s just no way.”
The next day, we came home from work and he had pulled off the same Houdini trick. There he was…in the back room, getting the carpet all dirty, waiting for us to return. After that we got smart. If we put another chair behind the first two, he’d have no landing area for this mythical jump and we could still step over…problem solved.
Problem not solved. Dude, now clearly toying with us, realized he needed to change his tactic. So, he simply pushed the chairs out of the way so he could get to The Land of Carpet. But, mind you, it wasn’t like he barreled through them. It was methodical. Almost as if he only moved them ever-so-slightly, or even pushed them back in place, so that no one would notice how he got into the other room.
Suddenly, we found ourselves pawns in the Dude’s new favorite game. We continued to place things next to things, things behind things, even things on top of other things; and, everyday we’d come home from work and the Dude would be on the other side of “the wall.” Now mind you, this is the main room in our house, so imagine us having to climb around all these things you see pictured just to watch TV…and you don’t even want to think about emergency bathroom situations.
But, if you’re worried about us having to build a replica of the Game of Thrones wall just to fend off our own dog, don’t be. The problem “fixed itself” one day when T came home from work and found our giant German shepherd literally stuck inside a chair. The look on his face made it clear that he had been like that for quite some time and you could tell in his mind he was saying, “Not like this! I can’t go out like this! I’m the Dude, man!”
He was so grateful for his rescue that he has not ventured back into The Land of Carpet since then…for these four, stoic guardians come with an invisible warning, “Pay heed, those who enter…beware of The Chair”!